Why Gwen Tidwell Is The Best Candidate

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I’ve known Gwen Tidwell for close to 25 years, and am immensely proud of the hard work and dedication she has shown our community.  She is respected, honest, and has a solid, documented and proven track record of success, reliability and effectiveness in discharging her duties as Criminal Court clerk.  Here are but a few reasons she should remain as Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk:   

Gwen has 20 years’ experience as the Criminal Court clerk 

She manages the Hamilton County Criminal Clerk’s Office – open 24/7, with 64 employees who maintain the records for the five General Sessions Courts and the three Criminal Courts, and handle the paperwork for over 50,000 new cases each and every year. 

She has completely computerized the office's records, including digitizing all public records.   

She has created user-friendly access to court records by putting all criminal case information online and providing computers at the office for anyone to use.  This open and full public access to the courts' records ensures reliability and accountability of the court records.   As a result, the Hamilton County Criminal Clerk’s Office is now a model used by other municipalities in Tennessee. 

She has increased the efficiency of the criminal court clerk's office, and also that of other offices by sharing the digitized criminal data and documents with other criminal justice agencies such as federal, state and local probation offices, the District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, the Sheriff's Department, and the Chattanooga City Police Department.  This gives these other departments full access to criminal histories and records without having to contact the clerk's office or request paper copies. 

She was the first to begin a Delinquent Collection Department which is completely self-supporting and uses no tax dollars at all, while recognizing that criminals do not follow the law or rules, are often unemployed and unemployable, and are frequently incarcerated and thus unable to pay even if they were willing to pay these costs.  Because of hard work, her office has the highest collection percentage among criminal courts in the state – more than Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

She has saved tens of millions of dollars by being the first criminal court clerk to attempt to collect, and to actually collect, money from persons convicted of crimes and ordered to pay fines and court costs.  The savings is because the collection efforts have allowed her to not use any tax dollars for office salaries for 15 straight years. 

In addition to saving these millions of dollars above, she has collected over $70 million for state and local government to use for public safety and public education. 

She sought out and received federal grants to staff a designated domestic violence court which has improved awareness, information, and resources available for victims. 

She instituted measures to allow her offices to accept payments by credit and debit cards, which increased the ease and convenience for the public.

She opened an office at the jail that allows police officers to complete their paperwork there instead of transporting their prisoner to the clerk’s office in the courthouse, preparing the necessary paperwork, and then transporting the prisoner back to the jail for booking. This adds a layer of protection both for law enforcement professionals and the public, because the prisoner is now in a secured area while the officer prepares the paperwork to complete the arrest. Another safety aspect is that this allows our uniformed men and women to return to their duties quicker in order to protect and serve us. 

She was a part of the Blue Ribbon Committee that set up the magistrate system we currently use. This increases our safety because judicial officers are now available and easily accessible to law enforcement 24/7 to issue warrants, make probable cause determinations, and set bonds.

She is a single mother of three young men and a lifelong resident of Hamilton County; a graduate of Hixson High School, University of Tennessee, and University of Tennessee Law School; a licensed attorney who practiced in the criminal and sessions courts which she now manages and administers. 

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Gwen will to continue using technology to improve the clerk's office, to continue collecting money from those convicted of crimes, to continue saving tax dollars, and to continue running the most efficient office possible!  Hamilton County citizens, we should be honored she wants to continue to serve our community.  Let’s show up at the polls and show our appreciation and confidence in her.  Hamilton County citizens need her to continue as Criminal Court clerk.

Sheila Wilson


Discrepancies About The Power Uprate At Browns Ferry

Some facts regarding the power uprate at Browns Ferry to share with the Scottsboro Environmental group opposing the uprate:  1.  The reactor does not run at a higher temperature due to the uprate.  There is simply more flow of feedwater, thus more steam.  So the concern about higher temperatures is unwarranted.   2.  The change in the fuel was ... (click for more)

We Lost A Great Broadcaster In Jack Hatcher

This past week we lost another great broadcaster, Jack Wright Hatcher Sr.   I worked with Jack in the 60’s and 70’s.   Jack always would tell you what he thought.   Most of his thoughts were very conservative.   He was a trivia expert.   He could tell you just about any hit record from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.   He also knew who starred in ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 3 On Kemp Drive

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire late Saturday afternoon. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm shortly before  6 p.m.  and responded to 4605 Kemp Drive with five fire companies. Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright said the fire started in the kitchen and then spread up into the attic. The firefighters were able to bring the ... (click for more)

Michael Wilson Back In Bradley County; Due In Court On Monday

Michael Wilson is back in Bradley County, and was escorted into the Correctional Facility around 8:15 p.m. Wilson’s first appearance in court will be on Monday, at 9 a.m. in the Bradley County General Sessions Courtroom at the Judicial Complex at 2290 Blythe Ave. Wilson was arrested last week, after e ndangered Bradley County child Skyla Wilson was found safe in Colorado ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Baylor Volleyball Sweeps Three Region Foes

The Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team made a successful trip to Nashville this weekend where they remained unbeaten after 14 matches with wins over three region foes. Friday's match had Baylor sweeping Pope John Paul II by scores of 25-5, 25-10 and 25-11 before sweeping Ensworth and Father Ryan on Saturday.  Scores in the first match were 25-15, 25-12 and 25-5 while ... (click for more)

Mocs Volleyball Win Two Chattanooga Classic Matches Saturday

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team captured 3-0 sweeps against Presbyterian College and Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, their third sweep in as many matches as part of the Chattanooga Classic – presented by Hampton Inn & Suites (Downtown Chattanooga) – held in Maclellan Gym. The Mocs won the first two sets by scores of 25-10 and 25-14 before clinching the match ... (click for more)