Good Enough for Government Work

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Davidson County, Tennnessee, Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence has a pretty sweet gig: a $120,000 annual salary, five weeks of paid vacation, and a government car.

But he still can’t drag his ass into the office more than three days per week. Nashville’s WSMV reports:

On April 6, while Torrence’s employees at the clerk’s office were working, the I-Team found him at home picking up sticks and spraying his yard for bugs.

On April 8, he never went to the office. He spent part of the day using his county car instead of his personal Corvette to run errands. From his home, he drove to a bank then to a liquor store. He got back in the car and headed home . . .

As the criminal court clerk, his only duties lie in the office, keeping the criminal courts operating. But the garage card swipes show he wasn’t in the office for about half of 2010.

“You only worked about 50 percent of the time; only 50 percent of the time you were in this office. How do you explain that?” asked I-Team chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.

“It is what it is,” Torrence said. Torrence said he takes Wednesdays and Fridays off every week.

“I’m working Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Torrence . . .

The news team also found 18 weeks in which Torrence only worked two days.

In fairness to Torrence, he didn’t spend all of those off days doing yard work or running personal errands in his government-issued car. Sometimes, he explained, he also played golf. He added that he has no plans to change his work habits, noting, “I’ve now been elected to my fifth term, so I must be doing something right.”

It isn’t in the linked article, but the report I caught last night also said Torrence recently had two openings in his office. But he didn’t bother advertising those vacancies. Instead, he hired his sons.

I don’t really see a problem with this, either. We shouldn’t expect one of the highest-paid government officials in Nashville to carry his own clubs.


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22 Responses to “Good Enough for Government Work”

  1. #1 |  perlhaqr | 

    Y’know what? I don’t care. I’d rather government employees didn’t show up to work. Honestly, if we could get the police to get paid and not show up, too, that would be an even bigger improvement.

  2. #2 |  Cornellian | 

    A court clerk is an elected position?? wtf

  3. #3 |  John | 

    Well, he has a point about the voters. If this is the kind of elected official they want, they’ve got him and they deserve him.

  4. #4 |  Opinion_Nation | 

    Lassiez Faire

  5. #5 |  MacGregory | 

    Usually when you read stories like this, the subject is desperately scrambling to justify, rationalize or excuse his/her behavior. This guy is just a pompous, arrogant dirtbag.

  6. #6 |  EH | 

    “It is what it is” = “F*ck you, I do what I want.”

  7. #7 |  Eric | 

    There was a similarly crazy story last fall about Maria Pappas, the Cook County Illinois treasurer. She has a $95,000 employee – classified as a “Project Leader” for software development – who actually is her driver/bodyguard/dry cleaning picker-upper, and a $57,000 “Administrative Analyst” who cleans her offices each night (in addition to the cleaning service that is hired by the county), along with her personal residence. When confronted with this stuff she was completely unapologetic.

    But as long as she is the Democratic candidate, she will win reelection. Voters do not care enough to learn about these kinds of candidates and instead just vote down the party line.

    The story:

  8. #8 |  Captain Noble | 

    Cornellian said, “A court clerk is an elected position?? wtf”

    There are definitely far too many elected officials in our country.

  9. #9 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Our District and County Clerks are elected offices in Brazoria County, TX. Doesn’t seem out of place to me.

  10. #10 |  André | 

    When everybody made a stink about Obama taking vacations, my feelings were “heck, give him the next six years off. Just convince him to stop doing new ‘reforms’ to our economy.”

  11. #11 |  Invid | 

    These are “public service” positions. They should be paid much less – its not like the people working for really low wages will be any more incompetant than the ones we have currently so at lease we save money.

  12. #12 |  Captain Noble | 

    I just think that too many elected officials leads does not lead to greater accountability. Who has the time to research the positions of a dozen or more races (President, Senator, Representative, governer, mayor, city council, sheriff, and many more)? I’m a pretty heave connoisseur of news and events and I have trouble keeping track of everyone.

    I think more of these local positions should be made by appointment and then the person held democratically responsible is the person who appointed them.

  13. #13 |  marco73 | 

    The taxpayers cannot keep paying these crazy salaries for part-time “public servants.” Soon enough the coffers will run dry, and then Clerk Torrence will have to find a real job. Since he has the experience, maybe working at the golf course?

  14. #14 |  SJE | 

    I agree that the guy sounds like a complete douche but he keeps getting elected: the citizens bear most of the blame, IMO.

  15. #15 |  Robert | 

    This is why government costs so much. Thousands of slots just like this one scattered around.

  16. #16 |  Black Market | 

    You do have to give him credit for the F-U aspect of his attitude. Don’t try to hide, don’t try to deny. He’s basically saying “Don’t hate the game, hate the player.”

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    You know, I think I could handle David Torrence’s job and another one just like it.

  18. #18 |  Eric H | 

    I predict that the biggest impact of this WSMV article will be that a lot more people will run for this job next time.

  19. #19 |  Joe | 

    How about just eliminate his position or cut it officially to half time and make the salary $60k with no government car?

    I have a feeling voters will not continue to put up with stuff like this if it is reported.

  20. #20 |  André | 

    You know, I just realized that for many people, this is the American Dream.

    I had to briefly vomit.

  21. #21 |  J.R. Dangerfield | 

    Sounds like every boss I’ve ever had.

  22. #22 |  stevelaudig | 

    Not as sweet as constables in Marion County [Indianapolis] Indiana who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for “serving” court papers. Well they don’t serve them they hire their political buddies to