Tidwell Campaign Says Collection Efforts Have Saved Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mike Loftin, an official of the Gwen Tidwell campaign said, "In her 20-year tenure as Criminal Court clerk, her administrative innovations have enhanced the office's efficiency and effectiveness, two good reasons for voters to re-elect her on Aug. 7."

He said, "County taxpayers have already benefitted from one Tidwell accomplishment. When county commissioners approved the 2015 budget, that became the fifteenth fiscal year that she has not taken an appropriation for staff salaries. Instead, those salaries were paid with funds generated by state-mandated fees the office charges in all criminal court cases. That has saved taxpayers more than $6 million -- money available for other county services, including public education and public safety.

"Her administrative skills have improved the office's service to the public, law enforcement, and attorneys, thereby lowering the office's operating costs. Case in point, her realization of how technology could make the office more customer- and taxpayer-friendly.

"She led the way in computerizing the office, enabling the staff to handle more efficiently the workload of more than 50,000 new criminal cases filed every. And since criminal court records were digitized, the sheriff, police departments, attorney general, public defender and local, state and federal probation offices have been able to access them without first having to contact the clerk's office.

"Further, the records are now online, giving media organizations accurate information about criminal cases, and computers are available at the office for citizens wishing to check records. (By law, permanent official records are kept on paper.)

"When Ms. Tidwell took office in 1994 she found there was no system for collecting fees charged in criminal cases. She was the first to set up a delinquent collections department that is now self-sustaining and self-funded. The office has collected more than $70 million in fees for the state and local governments. And to make collections easier, years ago she put in place a system that allows defendants to pay fees by credit card."

"Collecting money from convicted criminals is not easy," Ms. Tidwell said. "They are often in prison and even after they've been released are usually unemployed, and sometimes unemployable. But our efforts have not only saved millions of tax dollars from being spent in my office, they've also resulted in tens of millions of dollars collected for use in many other offices."


Section Of South Crest Road To Be Closed For 10 Weeks For Construction

South Crest Road, between East Crest Road and Peachtree Road, will be closed beginning   Monday, at 8 a.m. for the rebuilding of a retaining wall. Detours will be posted using Peachtree Road and East Crest Road with flaggers on site. This project has an estimated duration of 10 weeks. The closure will be daytime hours from   8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when weather permits. ... (click for more)

Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: U.S. 27 (SR-29) reconstruction project from Manufacturers Road (Olgiati Bridge over the Tennessee River) to U.S. 127 (SR-8, Signal Mountain Road/Boulevard):  Weather permitting, the contractor may have lane closures throughout the project area on weeknights to perform road work.  They will also be working ... (click for more)

Inmate Found Dead In County Jail Early Saturday Morning

An inmate died in the Hamilton County jail Saturday morning. Notification was received from the Hamilton County 911 Center at   12:50 a.m. ,   regarding an inmate found unresponsive.   Jail personnel found the male inmate unresponsive in his cell and initiated C.P.R. while notifying Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. The party ... (click for more)

Democratic Chairman Roy Herron Announces He Will Not Run For 2nd Term

Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron announced Saturday at a meeting of the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee that he would not be seeking a second term as party chairman. “I have been blessed to serve as chairman these past two years, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all of the executive committee members, party officials, staff members, and friends ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Okay … here we go. A number of readers have complained that I haven’t shared any jokes that my friends send to my email address so on a weekend when our Volunteers and Mocs are idle, let’s laugh a little:   I was sitting in a bar one afternoon with an old friend knocking back a few beers when he said, "You know, if we're not careful we'll end up like those two old drunks ... (click for more)