Updates from the Shelby County Commission

Right on the Bluff: June 2023

The three Cs

Sometimes a word of encouragement keeps you going.

A community leader recently wrote me a note saying, “I have really appreciated and respected the way you have led with strong, practical approaches on so many critical issues, including the three ‘c’s: COVID, crime, and the clerk’s office.”

We have certainly had our fill of all three. But it has been my goal to face the issues that are of the greatest concern to you, using the most effective approach I can manage. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

County Clerk

On May 1, we made another attempt to start ouster proceedings against the Shelby County Clerk, this time in light of word that yet another satellite office will close. I made the motion and was joined by 3 of my colleagues in support. The vote was 4-1, falling short of the majority of 7 needed to pass.

Since then, we’ve learned that the lease on an additional satellite location has been expired for a year, joining two others going month-to-month. And today, June 3, was the self-imposed deadline Clerk Wanda Halbert gave us to open the Riverdale office, which obviously didn’t happen.

I often wonder what it will take for a majority to lose their patience with Clerk Halbert. Stories like this one, mixed with public pressure, could be the difference.

Citizens could also initiate the recall process.

Criminal justice

On Thursday, I was joined by State Senator Brent Taylor for a news conference on recent legislative efforts to improve our criminal justice system.

Senator Taylor was the main sponsor of a new law that removes authority from judicial commissioners to release defendants charged with Class A and Class B felonies, leaving the most critical decisions with our elected judges.

Because this law goes into effect July 1, I sponsored a resolution asking the General Sessions Court to put it into effect immediately. That resolution passed unanimously and was signed by Mayor Lee Harris.

Senator Taylor and I also discussed other issues related to the Bail Hearing Room, the judicial commissioner system, and the slow pace of criminal trials in Shelby County.

Here is some media coverage from the news conference:

Legislative Update

This month I sponsored the following initiatives:

  • Resolution to eliminate the countywide wheel tax. Result: Blocked from consideration in committee by a vote of 7-1.
  • Budget amendment to cut $1.3 million from county clerk and put it toward the criminal justice system. Result: Accepted without objection, pending final adoption of the FY24 budget.
  • Resolution to immediately implement new state law removing authority of judicial commissioners to release defendants charged with Class A and Class B felonies. Result: Passed 11-0 and signed by Mayor Harris.
  • Resolution requiring 3 months of bail setting data from General Sessions court. Result: Unanimous support in committee, pending final vote on Monday.
  • Resolution promoting three ideas to expedite criminal trials. Result: Unanimous support in committee, pending final vote on Monday.

Recent events and interviews

May 11 – Wake Up Memphis (The Mighty 990 KWAM)

May 27 – Boy Scouts of America Chickasaw Council Memorial Day flag placement ceremony at Memphis National Cemetery. Video by News Talk 98.9 The Roar.

June 2 – Nation of Jake

Upcoming public meetings

June 5 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.

June 14 – Standing committees, 8:30 a.m.

June 26 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.

June 28 – Public Safety Ad Hoc committee meeting, 1:30 p.m.

Book club

This month I am reading The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink, by William Inboden.

Stay in touch

If you have a question or concern, email me at

You can speak with the Commission office by calling 901-222-1000.

I always welcome your feedback on Facebook (@CommissionerMickWright) and Twitter (@mickwright).

Thanks for reading.

Mick Wright
Shelby County Commission – District 3