Shanks won’t run again; Burchett sings for Dolly

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Circuit Court Clerk Cathy Quist Shanks will not run for re-election in 2018, she told the Shopper News last week.

Shanks, whose job includes running the Civil Sessions and Juvenile courts, will have served 20 years in office by the time Election Day ’18 rolls around. She said she promised her husband, Greg Shanks, in 2014 that this would be her last term, and that she might have come to this decision sooner, if not for some unfinished business – completion of the build-out of Juvenile Court and conversion to “paperless” digital record keeping – that she wanted to complete.

Shanks, who is an attorney, said she chose not to make her decision public at an earlier date because of the stress such an announcement places on the office’s employees, since Tennessee is an “at will” employment state, which makes termination relatively easy.

She said she made her decision to step down long before the recent actions of Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond, who hand-delivered a memo to Mayor Tim Burchett on Nov. 8 outlining a plan to merge the two clerks’ offices:

“My recommendation would be to merge my office, the Criminal Court Clerk’s offices, with the Circuit Court Clerk’s offices. Streamlining all these offices under one management and operation will provide a simple and efficient solution for the county,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean Hammond hasn’t ticked her off:

“I’ve never been somebody who dabbles in somebody else’s office,” she said. “The trouble that each day brings is enough. I don’t want to be the sheriff and I don’t want to be the mayor and I don’t want to go down the hall and be the Criminal Court clerk. That’s why this blindsided me,” she said, labeling Hammond’s actions “a typical Knox County power grab.”

She said she’s been thinking about a line from an old Georgia Satellites song:

“Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.”

Burchett sings duet

Tim and Kelly Burchett were in the audience when Dolly Parton brought her Pure & Simple tour to Pigeon Forge just before Thanksgiving. They’re both big Dolly fans, so after the concert they joined the crowd that had queued up to get a chance to meet and greet her.

As he stood there, Burchett said he was thinking about what he was going to say to get her attention. And then he decided not to say a thing. The way to her heart was to sing.

When the Burchetts got close enough to be within earshot, he belted it out:

“Pick up the mornin’ paper when it hits the street. Cas Walker’s prices, they just can’t be beat…”

It worked. At first, Parton refused to believe he was old enough to remember the Farm & Home Hour theme song.

When he finally convinced her, she had him do it again, and she joined him in a duet.

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