Court clerk supervisor suggests boss aware of problems

Feeling that she had lost the support of her boss, the county's General Sessions Court supervisor submitted her letter of resignation in the wake of intense media scrutiny that has focused on a series of problems stemming from the overall operations of the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's Office.

Additionally, April Mayes, whose last day on the job is Dec. 18, suggests in her letter that Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey was aware of a number of mistakes in the department, despite public claims to the contrary.

"When criticism of your offices began, I expressed to you my conviction that I had always done what you had asked of me and that I had not been a detriment to the office," Mayes wrote in a Dec. 5 resignation letter to McCroskey. "You will recall, you expressed your agreement with that statement. Recently, and for reasons that have not been made known to me, I believe that I have lost your support."

Mayes added that "continuing to work in such an environment is untenable."

Letter: Copy of April Mayes' resignation letter

Mayes oversees the department mostly faulted by the district attorney's office, the sheriff's office and county judges for a series of errors that have led to wrongful arrests, cases set aside due to errors and resident temporarily losing their right to vote.

In late November, A Seymour teenager who says he was wrongfully arrested earlier in the month because of a mistake made in the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's Office sent the county's law department a demand letter, seeking $50,000 in damages.

The mistakes, first reported in a WBIR 10News investigation, appear tied to poor training, outdated information and McCroskey's refusal to cooperate with other county departments. Court workers often enter the wrong data into the records management system, lose crucial paperwork and provide defendants, prosecutors, and authorities with bad information.

McCroskey has denied much of the allegations, often telling county leaders and the media that she wasn't even aware of them.

Mayes, though, suggested otherwise in her resignation letter.

"Unfortunately, recent events have cast a pallor over your offices and their dedicated staffs," Mayes wrote. "Throughout my tenure as one of your office supervisors, I have made keeping you personally informed a priority. When issues have been brought to my attention, I have always made sure that you were informed. As you have indicated at the time of my promotion, you wanted me to bring all issues directly to you, for you to resolve in whatever way you best determined. As you are aware, I have endeavored to implement every policy and directive you have elected to pursue."

Mayes, who earns $62,400, said she has "accepted a job offer in the private sector."

The Knox County Law Director's Office gave WBIR a copy of the letter Thursday morning. Initially, 10News asked McCroskey for a copy Wednesday but she declined, saying it "is a private letter."

WBIR then asked the county's law director for a copy and the office complied.

The Criminal Clerk's Office is responsible for General Sessions Court, Criminal Court and the Fourth Circuit Court.

Mayes was hired in August 1997.

"I have spent the past 16 years working for the General Sessions Court Clerk's Office and it has been, for the vast majority of that time, a wonderful experience," she wrote in her resignation letter, adding that she is "thankful for the time that I have been allowed to serve as the supervisor of your largest office.

McCroskey is up for re-election next year. So far, only Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond has announced his intentions to challenge her in Republican Primary next spring.


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