Candidate for Criminal Court clerk rails against incumbent

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 4:07pm

This story has been updated.

Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, the challenger in what has turned into a heated race for Criminal Court clerk, has demanded incumbent David Torrence release “swipe records” to show how often he uses his card to enter and leave the workplace.

“It is well-known that my opponent takes personal time during the week while on the taxpayers' payroll,” Craddock said in a written statement.

According to Craddock, Metro General Services maintains records of cards that are used by Metro employees to access buildings. Craddock has asked Torrence to show records that detail the past four years “so that the taxpayers can see first-hand the days that he shows up for work.”

When contacted by The City Paper, a Criminal Court office employee said Torrence was not available for comment because he is on vacation.

Minutes later, Torrence called back to say Craddock would “need to take [his request] up with Metro Legal,” adding “They don’t release any of that information on elected officials for security reasons. That’s my understanding about it.”

Asked for his response on Craddock’s charge that he’s frequently away from his office, Torrence called it “plain nonsense.”

“You can reach me five days a week at 862-5611,” he said.

Craddock said he didn’t know Torrence was out of the office when he issued the statement.

Torrence, whose later father Joe Torrence held the office for many years before him, has been Davidson County’s Criminal Court clerk for the past 16 years. The position offers a salary of $125,000 per year.

Meanwhile, Craddock, who represents parts of Madison, also used his written statement to point out that he attended his 174th consecutive Metro Council meeting last night.

Leading up to Election Day on May 4, Craddock promised to unleash an array of criticisms on his opponent. Early voting for county elections begins April 14. 

7 Comments on this post:

By: ThomasB on 4/7/10 at 2:49

Out of town! If he's out of town, he's across the county line in Williamson county at the Brentwood Country Club playing a couple of holes. Everyone around the courthouse knows that this guy is never in the office when warm weather comes around.
He's on the links.

By: Melstruck on 4/7/10 at 5:45

I would like Mr. Craddock to tell me what qualifies him for this position. He is a realtor. Just because someone might be doing a poor job or not showing up, doesn't mean I want to vote for someone unqualified.

By: 117_acres on 4/8/10 at 9:17

Instead of the voters voting for this position, I think Mr. Craddock and Mr. Torrence should have a hot dog eating contest. The winner would become the Criminal Court Clerk. Neither may be qualified on paper to be the Criminal Court Clerk but I bet both can put away some hot dogs.

By: lawyer006038 on 4/8/10 at 8:01

David Torrence is an excellent leader of a large Metro office. He has a lifetime of experience. He is a native Nashvillian educated in Metro Schools. Ask yourself honestly if you even had an idea who was Criminal Court Clerk the last 10 years. You didn't know because he does the job fairly and honestly. He oversees a large staff of people and serves six Criminal Court Judges.
Ask the lawyers in Nashville whether they recomend David Torrence or Michael Craddock to be Criminal Court Clerk. That's what the Nashville Bar Association just did.
The results of the Nashville Bar Association Poll were just released:
Highly Recommended
David Torrence-33.8% Michael Craddock-2.7%
Torrence-24.5 Craddock 4.4%
Not recommended- Torrence 5.3% Craddock 23.8%

By: ichabodcrane on 4/8/10 at 9:16

In response to lawyer006038: The Nashville Bar Association doesn't deal with David Torrence, so therefore don't really know who they would prefer in that position. The lawyers in Nashville deal with his staff. When lawyers are at the clerk's office filing motions and petitions and continuing cases, they deal with his staff. When they're in the courtroom and need ANYTHING, they're dealing with his staff. And there's very little "overseeing" being done because they handle their own business and responsibilities. That poll is inconclusive because 95% of the lawyers in Nashville don't deal personally with David Torrence, they deal with his staff. And if you want to reach him at 862-5611, Monday through Friday, you better shoot for between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m (business hours - 8 to 4:30).

By: lawyer006038 on 4/8/10 at 10:03

I cannot think of any group with more insight about the performance of the Clerk than the membership of the Nashville Bar Association. Poll voters were allowed to say they had no opinion. Perhaps we should poll the criminal defendants. Your statement that the Clerk's employees handle their responsibilities well shows that the training and oversight is working. Executives do not punch a time clock; they work as long as it takes to get the job done. We have not seen David Torrence walking to the mailbox in his pajamas and robe when he said he was at work. Guess how that Clerk did on the Nashville Bar Poll? He polled about the same as Mr. Craddock. Not qualified.

By: cletus on 4/14/10 at 4:33

Mr. Lawyer, executives in general are not the topic of discussion in this particular debate. David Torrence is, and if he doesn't take the day off, he works a greatly shortened day. And I can think of a group who has more insight about the performance of the Clerk than the Nashville Bar... it's the people who work for him. Ask any of them how much he's there and you'll get the same response from all of them - about half as much as he should be. I agree that any poll given to lawyers would be inconclusive, because they don't deal with David Torrence on any kind of regular basis. Like the other guy said, they deal with his staff, and the only thing that proves about David Torrence is that he hires good people. He manages nothing and oversees even less.