Council's Craddock says Criminal Court clerk should be removed

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 6:11pm

Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, a candidate for mayor, said Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence should be removed from office following a damning report aired Thursday by WSMV-TV in which Torrence admits to working only three days a week.

“I think any politician that behaves like that should be removed from office in some form or fashion,” Craddock told The City Paper. “I don’t know if there’s a mechanism to do that or not. It is pathetic that people act that way.”

The WSMV report showed footage of Torrence, who earns a $125,000 yearly salary, performing yard work, stopping by the bank and picking up wine at a liquor store — using a public vehicle — during office hours of a recent workweek.

In an interview with a WSMV reporter, Torrence did not dispute the footage. He acknowledged that he works three days a week — Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays — and sometimes takes time off to play golf. In fact, swipe records that record when Torrence enters the garage to his office suggests he often works two times a week, the report revealed.

Craddock is in a unique position to criticize, having lost to Torrence last year in the Criminal Court clerk Democratic primary. Torrence, clerk for the last 17 years, won overwhelmingly, collecting 66 percent of the vote to Craddock’s 34 percent.

Leading up to last spring’s primary, Craddock made several inquiries to see Torrence’s swipe records.

“I’m not surprised,” Craddock said of Torrence’s work record. “I knew he was behaving like that. It had come to me six months before Election Day last year that he was behaving like that.

“It’s very disappointing we have someone that has accepted the public trust to run for political office and then would act that way,” Craddock added. “I think it’s basically theft. That’s what it is.”

Craddock is Mayor Karl Dean’s lone election opponent. This month, Torrence publicly endorsed Dean’s re-election bid. Election Day is Aug. 4.

The City Paper could not immediately reach Torrence for comment. 

One mechanism to remove a constitutional officeholder is through the state’s “ouster statute” — T.C.A. 8-47-101— which applies to officials who “knowingly or willfully neglect to perform [certain] duties.”

Either the state’s attorney general or a local district attorney is authorized to initiate the statute in court. 

Torrence’s term expires in 2014. 

7 Comments on this post:

By: foxeyes2 on 4/29/11 at 8:13

I have to say that I agree with Craddock. To be paid $125,000 a year and only work part time is outrageous and an insult to Nahville taxpayers. He also hired both of his sons to work for him without posting the jobs and they are both earning what their predecessors were earning after more than 25 years on the job. Torrance needs to be removed from office as soon as possible. I am not a fan of Craddock at all but on this issue he is 100% correct. I hope that whatever needs to happen will.

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 4/29/11 at 8:40

Torrence is a disgrace to the his office, to the judicial system and to the Metro Government. An elected offical should demonstrate some level of responsibility and ethical behavior, NOT whatever he/she can get away with.

Tennessee has some elected officials who cause embarassment to the population and Torrence certainly is one of those. He probably has been for a long time, but now the voters know about him now.

In addition to his excessive absence from work, apparently it was against regulations for Torrence to transport alcholic beverages in a Metro-owned vehicle. What are the consequences for that? Why does a part-time worker have access to a Metro vehicle for his personal use? What a waste of taxpayer funds!

It is too bad the election is three years away. Of course, Torrence does not seem to care about re-election since he did not apologize or acknowledge his inappropriate behavior. He will experience the same fate as another court clerk who flounted his inadequate work ethic and ignored his job.

Even someone partially adequate would be an improvment over Torrence, but since there are three years until the election that is time to find someone who is actually good to "serve" the public. Elected officials are supposed to be public servants, not people who serve themselves first, last and always. If Torrence had any decency, he would either apologize and start working OR he would resign.

By: Shane Smiley on 4/29/11 at 9:22

It will be interesting to see what this current administration has to say concerning Torrence's lack of work and misuse of county assets. My guess is, It will all be swept under the rug by Karl Dean in the same fashion the Rich Reibeling ethics violations were handled. Betting Torrence has a load of dirt on Dean. Dean after all was the head of Metro legal while Torrence held his current position.
My question to council members would be, Can he be removed or a recall election held on August 4th?
Torrence needs to be removed from office and back charged for the days he missed work. His actions should not, will not be tolerated by the hard working citizens of Davidson County.
How is it the Mayor or none of his staff were aware of Torrence's tardiness?
If they were aware of his schedule, why did they allow it.
The majority of this administration needs to be ousted from office!!
We, Nashville citizens, have the opportunity to make it happen August 4th.

By: govskeptic on 4/30/11 at 5:15

Arrogance to the highest order from an elected politician! Mr. Torrance stated
this is his last term(5th) in this office, so he's showing his appreciation to the
voters. As most know, he inherited this job from his father who also overpaid
him for several yrs before retiring. Blind allegiance to a name by the voters
is a sad part of our election system! These exposes always seem to come after
an election instead of before, Why?

By: ichabodcrane on 5/1/11 at 4:58

Torrence is an embarrassment to the entire Metro government. But I, more than most others, am even more embarrassed. You see, I work for David Torrence. That's right, David Torrence is my boss. And I can say for certain that nobody is more embarrassed or outraged about this story than myself and the others who work in my office. He makes every one of us who work hard every day (and can barely afford to support our families, to boot) by his laziness, and now by his arrogance. I wish the story had dug a little deeper, because it might have been revealed that, on the days he actually does work, Torrence comes in around 9:00 or 9:30 and leaves around 2:00 or 2:30. Not only is he not working full weeks, he doesn't even come close to staying all day on the days that he does come in.
The worst part about this is that absolutely nothing will be done about it, and he will continue to blatantly disregard Metro ordinances and taxpayers' opinions. But I, for one, would like to thank WSMV for running this story, and everyone out there who is voicing their opinions against this embarrassment of riches. Looks like Michael Craddock doesn't look so bad anymore, huh?

By: las04 on 5/2/11 at 11:56

Torrence is a lazy, good for nothing political embarrassment to the city. He and Karl Dean must have come from the same DNA. They have got to be two of the most arrogant and egotistical men I have ever seen. Both of them along with the majority of Deans cult should be chopped up for pig slop. They are a total waste of money to the residents of Davidson County. I doubt that pigs would eat there bowel movement.....WHY SHOULD WE...??? I'm sick and tired of Karl Deans BS. VOTE MICHAEL CRRADOCK FOR MAYOR....!!!

By: spookycat on 5/20/11 at 5:06

My fellow coworker ichabodcrane has hit the nail right on the head regarding Mr. Torrence. After watching him in front of the council yesterday, I am even more sickened by his comments on morale in his office and how he promotes from within. COMPLETE B.S....This man is a CROOK and a THIEF....He collects a paycheck from Metro, but couldnt wipe his own arse if Tommy Bradley wasnt there to do the work for him. Notice in the budget meeting how he kept having Mr. Bradley answer all the important budget questions...He has no idea whats going on in that office...my bet is he comes to work sits in his office and does JACKS___ WHILE Mr. Bradley oversees the day to day function of that office..its ridiculous. Recently an older individual was let go on the grounds that there was no more money to pay for his position. Within the next few days Kara Draper was hired back,,shes Walt Drapers(Mr. Torrence's former Deputy Chief's) daughter. she was hired back on at a higher salary than other people who have been there much longer. Here is the kicker the gentleman who was let go ..to my understanding filed a lawsuit....he was brought back on at a lower salary than when he left, and Mr Torrence didnt even have the minerals to apologize about what had happened ..Mr. Bradley had to do that for him.......LADIES AND GENTLEMAN IT IS TIME WE REMOVE THIS MAN FROM OFFICE, HE DOES NOT WORK F_CKIN PERIOD. HE DOES NOTHING..NOTHING..TAXPAYERS LETS PUT THE HEAT ON THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND THE JUDGES AND GET THIS MAN OUT..MAYBE WHOEVER COMES IN NEXT WILL REALIZE YOU CANT TREAT YOUR EMPOYEES AND TAXPAYERS LIKE THIS AND JUST SAY ....IT IS WHAT IT IS ...MR TORRENCE GO HOME ..OR GIVE SOME MONEY BACK TO YOUR EMPLOYEES AND THE TAXPAYERS. THANK YOU AND HAVE A BLESSED DAY.