After reading all of these opinions, we all know now what an extraordinary leader Vince Dean is, but what are you going to do to make the Criminal Court Clerk’s Office better?
Ms. Tidwell is the most forthright, honest, no nonsense boss I have ever had. When I was hired I was told by her “do your job, be accurate, be polite to the citizens, and help the police whenever you can, but stay impartial, ethical and within the law. I am not the only ex-cop to have worked for Ms. Tidwell. Prior to walking in off the street I had never met her before. She hired me because I had experience in this type of work and could do the job and she knew I needed a job. She also hired me because she genuinely respects and likes policemen and law enforcement in general.
Mr. Dean's law enforcement experience does not help you in this job. Corrections experience, especially in the booking area, is a real plus to doing this job if you work over at the annex as I do. Do you have any real substantive proposals that will make the clerk’s office better? All I hear and read is that you are going to collect more money that is owed. How do you collect money from people who are generally under the poverty level and from people who are disabled for various reasons, or from people who for whatever reason don’t work? Debtor’s prison is long out of fashion. Are you going to start naming some flashy proposals with little substance?
The truth of the matter is, the Criminal Court Clerk’s office is running extremely efficient. It is already running under budget. How do you improve on that in this economy? Consider all of the dynamics involved, all of the agencies, institutions, and people you have to work with, not run rough shod over. Gwen Tidwell does this better than anyone else could because she is the real deal. Professional, way, way, experienced, exceedingly intelligent plus some, forward looking, compassionate to people who have less, people without means, and to the people who have to put some of these unfortunate people in jail.
Don’t misunderstand me there are some truly evil people in this world, I have run into some of those myself, but most of the people coming through the sheriff's door are victims of a poor economy, and lack of education. Which as we all know, all too often leads to substance abuse, domestic violence and theft. So once again what are you proposing? I am not trying to be disrespectful or ugly but I see you running for an office that you think is an easy gig that pays good money and would give you yet another pension. Just my opinion.
I have no doubt after writing this letter should you attain the position you desire my employment would probably come to an end. That’s okay, I value integrity over money, honesty over job security. I think I have proven that. Gwen Tidwell has given me 13 years of the best job I will ever have and I highly doubt that after working for her in this organization that I could work for anyone else at the clerk’s office.
I would like to thank the Chattanoogan for providing an impartial, professional medium for people to express their opinions.
James Michael Plemmons
Deputy Criminal Court Clerk