Updates from the Shelby County Commission

Right on the Bluff: December 2023

Wishing you a merry Christmas

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that the Christmas season brings peace and joy to you and your loved ones.

This is a wonderful time of year to serve others and to lend a helping hand. Even in our giving, we somehow end up getting more back. It’s a miracle.

Facing crime

It seems like each new day brings more alarming news about violent crime and our failing system of justice.

Here are just a few stories from the past few days:

  • A General Sessions Court judge released without bail someone charged with first degree murder.
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct referred a Shelby County Criminal Court judge to the General Assembly for possible removal from the bench.
  • The Shelby County Public Defender’s Office is struggling to handle first degree murder cases.
  • Regional One’s trauma surgeons are overwhelmed by the thousands of patients arriving with gunshot wounds.

In county government, there are efforts underway to improve our detention and treatment capabilities, to strengthen our justice system, to speed up our courts, to enhance transparency, to interrupt the cycles of violence, and to better support our law enforcement officers.

Advancing such public safety efforts remains my top priority. This year, I made just one committee assignment request — to lead the Law Enforcement and Courts committee. While I was not granted the role of Chairman, I will remain the committee’s Vice Chair, as well as Vice Chair of the re-established Public Safety Ad Hoc committee.

Any crime fighting ideas you have for our county’s legislative body, I’m all ears.

Investigating the county clerk

Last month, I warned that issues with the County Clerk’s office would once again come to public view, and I renewed my call for Clerk Wanda Halbert to resign.

The following week, Clerk Halbert was evicted from the Poplar Plaza office. She had no alternative in place and gave no advance notice to the public. It was the second office eviction for this clerk, and additional locations remain at risk of closing abruptly.

That’s not all. County Trustee Regina Newman also highlighted Clerk Halbert’s pattern of submitting late, incomplete and unreliable financial reports, going back years — putting all of county government at risk. And constituents continue to report a variety of other problems they experience in dealing with the clerk’s office.

Because Clerk Halbert is an independent elected official placed into office by the voters, options for her removal are limited. But the special prosecutor appointed to investigate Clerk Halbert told media the latest news has “jump-started” their inquiry, and that ouster proceedings could come to a conclusion by “mid-December.”

Additional updates

Here’s the latest on a couple of other items I mentioned last month.

  • The deadline for General Sessions Court Clerk candidates to qualify is December 14. It’s the only countywide seat on the ballot next year. With less than two weeks left, no Republican candidate has pulled a petition.
  • I received multiple inquiries about the Shelby County Beer Board. Thank you for your interest. I am working with the Commission staff and the County Attorney’s office to move this process forward.

Upcoming meetings

December 4 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.
December 13 – Standing committees, 8:30 a.m.
December 18 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.
January 3 – Standing committees, 8:30 a.m.

Book club

This month I am reading Everything Sad Is Untrue, by Daniel Nayeri

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 welcome your feedback on Facebook @CommissionerMickWright and X @mickwright.

Thanks for reading.

Mick Wright
Shelby County Commission – District 3