Knox County Criminal Court Clerk-Elect Mike Hammond lays out str

Knox County Criminal Court Clerk-Elect Mike Hammond lays out strategy

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Mike Hammond says wants to be ready to make changes the day he starts on Sept. 2. Mike Hammond says wants to be ready to make changes the day he starts on Sept. 2.
To help implement his improvement plan, Hammond has named Richard Major as deputy clerk. Major has been a Knox County General Sessions Court Magistrate since 2006. In 2009 he became the chief administrative magistrate. To help implement his improvement plan, Hammond has named Richard Major as deputy clerk. Major has been a Knox County General Sessions Court Magistrate since 2006. In 2009 he became the chief administrative magistrate.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County's next criminal court clerk is laying out his plans. All the candidates in the race talked about getting that troubled office back on the right track but it was County Commissioner Mike Hammond who took 59 percent of the vote in last Tuesday's Republican Primary.

Previous story: Commissioner Mike Hammond wins Knox County criminal court clerk primary race

Current Clerk Joy McCroskey has been under scrutiny for months after reports that problems in her office had led to wrongful arrests.

Hammond is calling his improvement plan the "21st Century Clerk's Office Initiative." He says he will have highly trained, top notch employees working in the office. Hammond is already working with officials to develop a plan to help stop the mistakes.

Hammond says wants to be ready to make changes the day he starts on Sept. 2.

“I think most of you know that the technology was an issue in the campaign. Many of the people are still using pencil and paper. I understand in a couple of instances they are still using type writers so we are looking at upgrading the technology and the training but we need an effective strategy and plan to do that,” said Hammond.

Hammond has met with the county mayor and head of the IT department to discuss improvements. Hammond says computer software will be updated and employees will be highly trained.

“One of the ideas that I have is to cross train the employees so if we are having a heavy day in sessions court we can bring people from the other two clerks offices to come in and help,” said Hammond.

Hammond says he plans to have an interactive active website where people can access the docket and pay their court fees. He hopes that increased court fee collections will pay for the technology upgrades.

To help implement his improvement plan, Hammond has named Richard Major as deputy clerk. Major has been a Knox County General Sessions Court Magistrate since 2006. In 2009 he became the chief administrative magistrate.

Major says he's made improvements to his office which will transfer to the Criminal Court Clerk's office.

“I've worked with people in Moran's office to develop a program that basically allows us to double check information just to make sure, even if we are doing everything right, that if something slips through the cracks that it's flagged and called to our attention,” said Major.

Hammond says he will give current employees a chance to prove themselves with the goal of making it the most meticulous and efficient criminal court clerk's office in the state.

“I want our office to be the epitome of what you would look for in a clerk's office,” said Hammond.

In a few weeks, Hammond says he will be traveling to Shelby and surrounding counties to learn the best practices in those offices so he can use their procedures here in Knox County.

Hammond says he plans to have the website changes ready to go by September 2nd. He says as soon as he's in office the procedures and data entry changes will be immediate. Hammond says it will take about six months to get the staff trained and implement all the new technology.

Hammond says when he takes office in September he will get rid of the travel allowances for the criminal court clerk's office. He says he will only charge mileage saving money in the office.

Hammond was elected in the Republican primary. He has no Democrat opposition in August.

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