Each Knox County criminal court clerk candidate promises changes

Each Knox County criminal court clerk candidate promises changes if elected

Mike Hammond Mike Hammond
Jason Hunnicut Jason Hunnicut
Steve Williams Steve Williams
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The polls open Tuesday for Knox County's primary election and three Republicans are vying to become the new criminal court clerk. Whoever wins the race takes over for current clerk Joy McCroskey who opted not to run for re-election.

The three men running are Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond, Attorney Steve Williams, and Assistant District Attorney Jason Hunnicutt.

The clerk's office has been under scrutiny amid reports of paperwork problems leading to wrongful arrests and license suspensions.

In this race, each candidate agrees the technology in the clerk's office needs to be upgraded. They also say the office employees need additional training, but each candidate has a different skill set and background to bring about the change.

Mike Hammond is a Knox County Commissioner and radio program director. He says he's running for the office to improve the issues.

“The problems are immense. It's a lot more than have been reported so I want to get in there put together some systems put together the staff in place to really get that office turned around. I think I could do it and do it quickly,” said Hammond.

Video: Mike Hammond running for criminal court clerk to improve the issues

Jason Hunnicutt is an assistant district attorney in Knox County. He's been in the position for 12 years.

“The clerk’s office is an office I work with on a daily basis. I'm an assistant district attorney here in Knoxville. It's an office I feel I can help. I've seen the problems at the office from the outside in,” said Hunnicutt.

Video: Jason Hunnicutt feels his experience as assistant DA will help his as criminal court clerk

Attorney Steve Williams believes he is the most qualified candidate improve the office.

“I have the most experience I've been practicing law for 29 years,” said Williams.

Video: Attorney Steve Williams on why he feels he is the most qualified criminal court clerk candidate

All candidates plan to make several changes to end the reoccurring problems at the office.

“We got to get our people trained. We will have the best trained staff in the state of Tennessee. Collections, we've got to improve our collection process and bring in more money,” said Hammond.

“Changes need to be made in the way the court costs are figured. Changes need to be made in the technology used in the office in the JIMS system, justice information management system, and in the book keeping system that the office uses,” said Hunnicutt.

“We have to upgrade the technology and we have to train, retrain and train some more the current employees. We've got to bring in new employees because the staff there is over worked and understaffed. The office there is understaffed,” said Williams.

Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Each candidate is encouraging people to get out and vote. The candidates say they will spend the day at polling locations drumming up last minute support.

Since no Democrats are on the ballot in the clerk's race, the candidate who wins Tuesday will almost surely become the new criminal court clerk.
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