If elected, Dexter Lunceford to 'reduce spending'

By Julie Fann
S
tar Staff
jfann@starhq.com

  
Tennessee Highway Patrolman Dexter Lunceford feels the Circuit Court Clerk's office is costing the taxpayer, and he wants to put a stop to it. If elected, Lunceford believes having worked on the opposite side of the law enforcement process will give him a perspective the office currently needs.
   "Every piece of paper that is generated by that court system, I have seen. I know what those papers mean because I've worked at the other end. I could walk into that office tomorrow morning and run things," he said.
   Lunceford mentioned that Luther McKeehan, during his last year in office in 1998, returned $35,000 in taxpayer money to relieve a budget that was in severe debt. "And they're still in a deficit. They're spending more than they're taking in. It's a fee office. It should not cost the taxpayers anything to run that office, and it currently does," he said.
   Lunceford, who has 19 years of experience in eight different court systems, says that one job that is important to a Circuit Court Clerk is issuing warrants when probable cause exists, and approving bonds. "And it's currently not being done during business hours. John Paul Mathes even has a sign on the door stating that. If someone needs access to the system, a citizen, they should have it. They have 21 deputy clerks in there; the public shouldn't have to be inconvenienced," he said.
   Lunceford said the problems that exist in the Circuit Court Clerk's office are not unique to him. He believes that a lot of money in fines from general sessions court and criminal court have not been collected, and he thinks efforts to collect money need to increase. "I know Judge Brown, in criminal court, has done work to collect back fines, but I don't see why that can't move into general sessions court, too," he said.
   A Carter County native, Lunceford said he has a sincere desire to help the county succeed and that he will work to create a reliable court system. Lunceford is also concerned about the quality of the office space available to personnel. "It just can't be healthy for them, working in that environment after the flooding that has happened," he said.