Five candidates to vie for Criminal Court clerk position

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 3:37pm

Five candidates have been nominated to serve as the new Davidson County Criminal Court clerk, a list that includes Metro heavyweights such as Councilman Michael Craddock and former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, as expected.

Nominations to fill the position left open by retired clerk David Torrence had to be delivered to Metro Clerk Marilyn Swing by Tuesday. In addition to the two well-known politicians, candidates include Gayle Barbee, Frank Friedman and Steven Murff.

Four of the five opted to nominate themselves, but District 1 Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. filed the nomination for Gentry, who is currently employed by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The names are now headed to the Nashville Bar Association and the Napier-Looby Bar Association, which will both make recommendations to the Metro Council. The council is set to appoint a new clerk Aug. 16.

Gentry, believed to have the backing of some of Mayor Karl Dean’s allies, has told The City Paper he sees the job as a way to continue public service.

Craddock ran for Criminal Court clerk during last year’s Democratic primary, but lost overwhelmingly to Torrence.

Barbee works as director of operations for the state’s Board of Probation and Parole.

Friedman is the owner of Friedman’s Army-Navy Store on 21st Avenue.

Murff is the former program director of the Davidson County Mental Health Court. Since March, he has worked as supervisor of the Quality Assurance Branch of the Criminal Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court System. 

11 Comments on this post:

By: Nitzche on 7/27/11 at 4:41

seriously Gentry? $125,000 has nothing to with it?

By: T-BONE on 7/27/11 at 4:47

I would like to nominate a man of great honor...Rod Blagojevich! (LOL) He is perfect for Nashville and will "fit" right in! Oh by the way, start packing your bags Joey and Josh Torrence! And NO, you cannot have any more jobs in Metro Government!!

By: govskeptic on 7/28/11 at 5:44

I'm still confused over why the two Bar Associations have input into the selection
process? These same groups never bothered to bring any complaints or
questions about the poor performance and attendance of Mr. Torrence when they
should have been the first to observe his lack of attendance over many-many yrs!
It appears Mr. Gentry's love of Public Service always seems to carry with it an
above average pay for little or no true experience, knowledge, or close
accountability. "Good work if you can get it" certain applies here!

By: Kosh III on 7/28/11 at 5:54

Good question about the Bars.

Murff sounds like the best candidate, the only one with experience in the court system.
Gentry will probably get the nod since Dean wants cronies and people he can manipulate.

By: treehugger7 on 7/28/11 at 6:28

Murff sounds like the only one with real experience, and possbily lack the cronyism that will propel one of the lesser qualified into the position. For those reasons, he will get my vote.

By: LorindaHale on 7/28/11 at 6:52

Unfortunately this will not be chosen on who is best suited - either by training or experience- but rather who gets the most votes ( read politics) in the Council. Once again, we the taxpayers, will get the shaft and politics will rule the day. Once again a pol will be given a plum job by his peers without any consideration as to the reequirements of the position. Thus, someone, who has years of public service - not really doing anything of note will again be on the public dole....

By: Nitzche on 7/28/11 at 6:55

are you kidding about Murff?His old man is mr. courthouse insider!

By: yucchhii on 7/28/11 at 8:11

yucchhii What's the matter, is there ANYone who has the guts to run against mayor "DINK"? No one wants to TRY to do something for NASHVILLE that NEEDS to be done, like make the city visible to the public as a city that REALLY DOES CARE ABOUT IT'S PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE HOMELESS AND DO SOMETHING FOR THE HOMELESS TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT THINGS ARE BEING DONE "CONSTRUCTIVELY?" And NOT what mayor dink is doing like DECIEVING the PUBLIC? HEY DINK, DON'T LIKE WHAT I'M SAYING? PROVE ME WRONG!!!

By: girliegirl on 7/28/11 at 8:27

Nitzche, I immediately thought the same thing. Craddock pulled out of the mayoral race for this position almost instantly, too. And as I've been told, most Council folks WANT these hugely over paid positions. They're counting on getting them, IMO.

By: PKVol on 7/28/11 at 11:15

Craddock, in his defense, when he was running against Torrence, tried to make Torrence's work attendance an issue, but the media pretty much blew it off. This fact doesn't make him qualified for the position, but he does demand accountability. I'm not sure I'd want to work for him and most of the staff there probably won't have a job if he is appointed.

I think the Council should have nominated the current interim clerk (who's been doing the job already for the past several years) or a candidate, who has no long-term interest in the poistion to hold watch over the office until the next election. As it is, with the 5 candidates, they may as well just put the names in a hat and draw to see who wins.

By: macjedi on 7/28/11 at 11:46

Murff is indeed the guy with experience for the job, and he has a history here in our local system - so there is an established network of peers in the legal bubble here.