Meet the 3 Knox Co. criminal court clerk candidates

Knox Co. criminal court clerk candidates explain how they will improve the office

Posted:
Assistant District Attorney Jason Hunnicutt Assistant District Attorney Jason Hunnicutt
Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond
Attorney Steve Williams Attorney Steve Williams

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Three men are running to be Knox County's next criminal court clerk. The filing deadline for the upcoming election was noon Thursday.

Whoever wins the election would replace current clerk Joy McCroskey, who has opted not to run for re-election.

McCroskey has been under scrutiny amid reports of paperwork problems in her office that led to a number of wrongful arrests and license suspensions.

Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond and attorney Steve Williams returned their petitions to run a couple of weeks ago. Assistant District Attorney Jason Hunnicutt entered the race Wednesday after McCroskey officially withdrew.

Hunnicutt says due to office policy, he had to wait for the sitting incumbent to get out of the race before he was allowed to become a candidate.

All candidates say changes must be made to the office.

Mike Hammond is a Knox County Commissioner and radio program director. He says he has the expertise and experience to improve the criminal court clerk's office.

"I can work with all the officials because I know all of them. That's going to be critical of this job, being able to work with the judges and work with the mayor and the district attorney, the sheriff, all those people involved in the court clerk's office," said Hammond.

With 28 years experience as an attorney, Steve Williams believes he is the best candidate.

"I think I'm qualified to work for all these courts. I've practiced in all of them and I have management skills," said Williams.

Jason Hunnicutt says being an assistant district attorney for the past 12 years makes him best suited for the criminal court clerk position.

"I deal with the clerk's office. I do judgments for my criminal court cases. I deal with the sessions court clerk offices getting warrants. I fill out my own warrants when we do a plea," said Hunnicutt.

Each candidate agrees changes must be made to bring an end to the errors occurring within the office. They all agree technology must be upgraded.

Hammond also wants additional training for the staff. He says he will be accessible and work hard to make sure improvements are made.

"I'm going to come to work. I know that's been an issue. They don't have to worry about whether or not I'm going to show up for work. I want this job and I want the people to put me to work," said Hammond.

Williams says he wants to improve customer service and have improved data entry procedures in the courtrooms.

"We've got to do real time data entry. We've got to have a mechanism in place of training so there are no errors," said Williams.

Hunnicutt wants all data entry systems to be integrated across the courthouse.

"There has to be a better way, in my opinion, of keeping track of court costs and how they've been paid and who hasn't paid them. It will avoid a lot of the problems we've seen here lately," said Hunnicutt.

Early voting starts April 16. The voting commission is encouraging people to vote early. The primary election day is on May 6.

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