Gwen Tidwell Has The Experience To Remain The Criminal Court Clerk - And Response

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How many citizens actually know what the functions and responsibilities of the Criminal Court clerk’s office are?  It’s not a loaded question, most people don’t know. The clerk operates behind the scenes maintaining records and making sure the correct documentation is in front of the correct judge when the case comes to court.  This is a Constitutional requirement of the office.  

Gwen Tidwell is a licensed Tennessee attorney and this brings up another Constitutional issue. Should any of the sitting judges be incapacitated due to illness, natural disaster or terrorism Mrs. Tidwell is bound by the Constitution to act as judge should none of the others be able to carry out their duties.  So you see being an attorney with trial experience could prove invaluable under these circumstances.  There is more than meets the eye to this elected position.                

Imagine if you will that county government in the area of court operations is like a wagon wheel. The district attorney’s office, the judges, the public defender’s office, the victims, the offenders, the witnesses, CADAS, victim rights organizations and an assortment of other agencies all make up the spokes of this wheel. The Criminal Court clerk’s office is the hub, the center where all the agencies and their paperwork meet. She coordinates all of this paper and makes sure it is routed to the right places. Mrs. Tidwell maintains a delicate balance between all of these different entities, all of whom require different levels of assistance and cooperation.  

Among other duties of Mrs. Tidwell is that she pools and seats juries, subpoenas victims and witnesses. She also collects fees and fines levied by the judges and provides a plethora of other services to the public and government that largely go unheralded

Why should we re-elect Gwen Tidwell? Honesty, integrity, experience, fiscal responsibility and compassion. Under Mrs. Tidwell’s tenure the Criminal Court clerk’s office has maintained an unblemished record of transparency and trust, operating in the background quietly and professionally. Mrs. Tidwell’s law degree gives her valuable insight into the complex environment in which she operates. Experience, 20 years of holding this office speaks volumes. Twenty years of paying her employees from fines and costs the court generates and not tax dollars. Twenty years of having the smallest budget of any county department. Twenty years of not asking the County Commission for operating cost increases. Twenty years of returning unused money to the commissioners, our money. I would call that fiscal responsibility.   

Compassion, all one has to do is talk to Gwen for five minutes and you will see that she genuinely cares about people. Not just her family or her employees and their families, but every person who walks through her door. She will listen, offer solutions or be able to direct you to someone who can help you with any problem you may have. Mrs. Tidwell has an open door policy to all citizens and chances are if you call she will answer the phone or call you right back. 

Aug. 7 when your scanning the ballot and thinking about voting along party line because your family has done that way for generations, remember you are voting for the person who can best do the job, not a party. Should none of the above admirable personality traits appeal to you,  then vote using the old adage, “If it is not broke, then don’t fix it.” Keep money in our pockets and taxes low by voting to keep Mrs. Gwen Tidwell in the job she does so well.  

Mr. Dean, if you have any fresh ideas as how to operate the office more efficiently, now is the time to enumerate them.

James Michael Plemmons 

* * * 

Several years ago my family was faced with a crisis involving my daughter.  Personally I had never been involved with the Hamilton County court system, or even been to court.  So I turned to my friend Gwen Tidwell, the Criminal Court clerk.  Gwen stepped in on my behalf and lead me through the land mines, and thoroughly explained the process that I was facing.  Her caring nature and compassion rose to the top and she stayed by my side through the worst ordeal of my life. 

Folks, there comes a time when you just have to put the politics out of the picture and do the right thing.  Being an elected official requires not only that they know there job, and serve the public well, but the test comes when they go beyond the job description, and their “ heart” takes over. 

Gwen Tidwell has a big heart, full of compassion, that she practices each day in her tough job as Criminal Court clerk.  I am looking forward to casting my vote today for my caring friend, Gwen Tidwell. 

W.L. Bubba Ricketts


Policeman: Modern Day "Boogie Man"

As a child I was under the impression that a ghastly, grotesque creature had taken up residence in my bedroom closet, the proverbial “Boogie Man” I suppose.  This is not an uncommon thing among children and most likely to some fault of my own as I subjected myself to some pretty iconic 1980’s horror flicks. There were other kids in the neighborhood that not only claimed to ... (click for more)

Why Ferguson Matters In Chattanooga

The recent verdict in Ferguson has thrown race relations in the spotlight again. It is far too easy to get caught up in the debate as to who was right. But the plain fact is that the community lost, the police force lost and the nation lost. So why does Ferguson matter in Chattanooga? Because a police force mainly composed of whites got into a conflict with a community mainly ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Alcoa, A Prep Football Gold Standard, Up Next For Irish

Notre Dame almost had a crack at powerful Alcoa in the 2013 TSSAA football playoff semifinal round. But, in the quarterfinals, Alcoa beat Christian Academy of Knoxville, 42-14, but the Fighting Irish dropped a 19-10 decision to Upperman, which was crushed, 75-18, a week later by the Tornadoes. Alcoa clipped Christ Presbyterian Academy, 25-7, in the state championship game. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Women Shock No.4 Tennessee, 67-63

Before the season started some people across the country called Chattanooga women’s basketball coach Jim Foster crazy for scheduling three top 10 teams – Notre Dame (national runner-up) Stanford and Tennessee - before Christmas. After Wednesday night’s UTC shocking 67-63 home win against No.4 Tennessee before 4,160, those same folks might believe coach Foster is crazy like ... (click for more)