Former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry told The City Paper Monday he’s pursuing the Davidson County Criminal Court clerk position, soon to be vacated by the retiring David Torrence.
“I’m interested in the position because it provides another opportunity to serve the public at the highest level,” Gentry said.
“I have a background with the Criminal Court area,” Gentry said. “I’ve worked as a court officer and law clerk. I’m very familiar with the system. I’m familiar with judges and the legal system, and the different courts in the legal system. I’ve had both governmental and business experience, and nonprofit experience. I just feel this is a unique opportunity.”
The job is set to open July 16 when Torrence, departing after a WSMV-TV report that exposed he worked only three days per week, officially retires.
Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper has said Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors would give notice of the vacancy of the constitutional office at the council’s July 19 meeting.
From there, citizens would have seven days to submit replacement nominations. The nominations would then be sent to the Nashville Bar Association, which would poll its members and offer recommendations.
Metro Councilman Michael Craddock has also confirmed his interest in the clerk’s position.
Gentry, who finished third in the mayor’s race in 2007 and currently works for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said he had looked at the Criminal Court clerk’s position even before Torrence’s demise, but didn’t want to run against an incumbent.
“I had no idea this would come available, and I’m moving forward,” Gentry said.
Some political observers have speculated that Gentry has become the favorite of Mayor Karl Dean’s office to take a hold of the position.
Gentry said he’s discussed his interest with various council members, but not directly with the mayor.
Mayor’s office spokeswoman Bonna Johnson Friday said the mayor had not received official notification of Torrence’s resignation.
“Until there is a vacancy, this is pure speculation,” Johnson said. “The mayor has not talked directly to Mr. Gentry about the matter. If there is a vacancy, I’m sure a number of people would be interested in the position. The mayor knows Mr. Gentry very well, and certainly thinks highly of him and his leadership skills.”