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."


Author Karen Graham Book Signing Event

The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 2 - 4 p.m. at Caffeine Addicts, 7819 Nashville St., Ringgold. Ms. Graham, a resident of Ringgold, Ga., will be available to sign copies of her book, Chloe's Pet. (click for more)

Vince Dean Proposes Updates To Criminal Court Clerk’s Office’s Online Records

Vince Dean, the Republican nominee for Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk, said he has "identified a key way to modernize operations in the Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk’s office." Saying he has heard from members of Hamilton County’s legal community, he has proposed updates to the clerk’s office’s online records system.  “After speaking with attorneys across ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)