As the Metro Council prepares to appoint a new Criminal Court clerk, one candidate says “politics as usual” won’t be tolerated, and has cautioned members against “placing an established politician to an already scarred position.”
In a letter sent late last week to council members, Steven Murff — one of five candidates vying for the job — never mentions former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry or Councilman Michael Craddock by name.
Nonetheless, Murff is clearly referencing the two clerk candidates who have the greatest name recognition, political prowess and perceived council backing. It’s an appeal for experience over politics before the council appoints a new Criminal Court clerk to replace David Torrence, who resigned from the job earlier this summer after a series of television reports revealed his poor work habits.
“With the public response to the media coverage of David Torrence, it is obvious that your constituents have had enough of the status quo,” Murff wrote. “In this time of political crisis, they are looking to you, as their voice, to cast your vote for someone that meets the needs of this community and its constituency.”
The council is set to appoint the new clerk at Tuesday’s meeting.
Murff, former program director of the Davidson County Mental Health Court, currently works as supervisor of the Quality Assurance Branch of the Criminal Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court System.
Of the council’s looming vote, Murff said: “This seated council will establish a protocol that will be seen as progressive and diplomatic in terms of appointing a truly qualified candidate — one who has established himself as a veteran of the court and civil servant; not placing an established politician to an already scarred position.”
For the past several weeks, Murff, Gentry and Craddock have been making calls to council members to deliver their pitches for deserving the job.
Davidson County’s Criminal Court clerk earns $125,000 annually.
Rounding out the group of five candidates are Frank Friedman and Gayle Barbee.