DA’s office considers options regarding Criminal Court clerk

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 3:05pm
Staff reports

An official with the Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday the office is reviewing its options regarding the future of Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence.

Torrence, WSMV-Channel 4 revealed in an investigative piece last week, works only three days per week and drives a government-issued car for personal use. A subsequent report showed Torrence has two sons working in the office in positions for which the openings were not advertised.

Asked whether or not the office of the Davidson County District Attorney General is considering action against Torrence under the state’s ouster statute, spokeswoman Susan Niland said, “We are looking into that and any other options that may exist.

“We’re still trying to determine what activity there was and what, if any, laws might apply,” Niland said. “The ouster statute is certainly one. We’re just reviewing anything that may apply to the circumstances of the case at this stage.”

Niland said Johnson’s office has been in touch with attorneys at the Metro Department of Law, but she wasn’t aware of any contact with the state’s Office of the Attorney General as of Tuesday morning.

No timeframe has been set in the matter.

District Attorney Torry Johnson had not been contacted by any elected officials so far, according to Niland, but he was made aware of a non-binding resolution Metro Councilman-at-large Charlie Tygard has submitted.

Councilman Michael Craddock, a mayoral candidate who lost to Torrence last year in the clerk’s race, has called for Torrence’s removal from office.

On Tuesday, Torrence issued the following statement:

"I want to apologize to my staff and the taxpayers for the recent controversy surrounding my work schedule. I deeply regret that all this has taken place. The office of the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk has an excellent performance record. We have been innovative and extremely efficient in performing the duties of the office. The performance of the office has never been questioned. The office and the staff have an excellent reputation in this state. I will be fully and completely devoted to my position as Criminal Court Clerk for the remainder of my elected term. I will be dedicated to not causing any future embarrassment to the office and staff of the Criminal Court Clerk."

11 Comments on this post:

By: ichabodcrane on 5/3/11 at 4:31

One of the questions that he DA's office might want to ask about is this: how many positions have been lost or gone unfilled over the last several years due to budget cuts, while Torrence remains behind to work when he wants at his inflated salary? I challenge the DA's office to investigate that very closely. Numerous positions have either been terminated or left unfilled due to budget cuts over the last three years, yet he's still there and now his sons are reaping the benefits of all of the money that's been cleared up by removing people and positions. Numerous employees of his have asked for and been denied raises because he says it just isn't in the budget, and yet he and his sons are living the good life. He issued an apology today, but it's the apology of someone who regrets getting busted and not actually regrets the act. His true colors came out last week when the report first aired.

How do I know these things? Because I work for him. A lot of people can barely afford to support their families and have been there for a long time, only to have the offspring come in and make substantially more money than they do. If the taxpayers are getting slapped in the face, the employees of this office are getting punched in the gut. It's nothing short of old-world tyranny, with the king on his throne and the royal subjects living the good life. He should be ousted, and his sons' salaries adjusted to reflect those of the commoners.

By: artsmart on 5/3/11 at 4:47

Funny that the Attorney General office is looking into it. I called them yesterday and got the standard not my job answer. At the very least we should fire the sons and cut his salary in half because he can clearly do it in 2 day per week make that retro active to last year because he admitted he didn't work then either.. We also should remove the car why does he need it to drive to and from work.

By: redman820 on 5/3/11 at 7:15

this sounds like something politicians in memphis would do.

By: Wonderfull in TN on 5/3/11 at 8:36

Oh... Now he is sorry..... He didn't act too sorry when channel 4 was asking him questions about it... His son's need a pay cut and their degrees checked.... and he needs to be fired.

By: govskeptic on 5/4/11 at 7:16

Whether his job or not don't expect the District Attorney's office to do anything
but either remain silent on the issue or just give his reason why he doesn't
think it's his job. He has never taken seriously his duties when it comes to
a political dispute in this district whether it's a local or state official. A return of
some portion of the 2010 salary or fraud charges should be a must in this
case. Mr. Torrence is now attempting to set up one of his son's to resume
the position at the end of this term just as his dad did for him. How disgusting!

By: 742180 on 5/4/11 at 7:50

The man has got to resign, period!! To even debate the issue is useless. This fellow, like so many politico's, became self important, imprevious, and felt he is beyond reproch. Thanks to Channel 4 for exposing this 'grevious' slap to the face of the citizens of Nashville/Davidson County.

HE HAS GOT TO GO.

By: wasaw on 5/4/11 at 9:14

All of this kind of smells like the Gale Robinson/ Gloria Dumas revelation of last year. In Nashville, once you've won an election, to some, it goes straight to the head. If you watched the Finley interviews with Torrence, you saw the smug arrogance of a Nashville politician. And to bring his sons into the office at salaries earned by veteran employees, it shows the mind set of this thief. I didn't read anything in his letter about repayment to the treasury for the days he failed to report to work. Torrence needs to retire, take his sons with him, but first write a check for his thefts.

The Nashville judges have a non-nepotism policy but they all have found a way around it. They hire each other's relatives. Some don’t even bother. They say that they can’t find anyone better than their relatives. Sounds like Torrence, doesn’t it? Dumas hired her daughter. Robinson hired his son-in-law. Many of them are only unindicted co-conspirators, waiting for the hammer to drop.

By: breathofdeath on 5/4/11 at 11:18

I don't expect Torry Johnson to do anything because he serves at the pleasure of the mayor and Torrence was one of the elected officials who stood on the courthouse steps and endorsed Dean for re-election. I hope I'm wrong but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the DA to act.

By: shef2 on 5/4/11 at 11:52

Torrence & Sons should be sent packing. That's all there is to it.

By: Nitzche on 5/4/11 at 5:18

don't hate people's? give a brother some slack1 we get 3 solid out of him!

By: skeptic1 on 5/5/11 at 7:19

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's wishy-washy opinion on the issue of theft of honest services, the fact is this man STOLE from the taxpayers here. He got paid to perform a service for the city for 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. This is a standard that most people expect. He should repay his unearned wages for EVERY DAY he did not work but fraudulently accepted pay.

And the sons, really? How does someone get by these days with such blatant NEPOTISM? Doesn't this state have any anti-nepotism laws?

All three should be tossed out on their a$$es. They obviously have no respect for the citizens and taxpayers.