Arriola Taps Political Confidante As Interim Clerk - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Davidson County Clerk

Arriola Taps Political Confidante As Interim Clerk

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Joey Workman shoves Phil Williams in the back Joey Workman shoves Phil Williams in the back

By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Friday is the last day on the job for Davidson County Clerk John Arriola, who resigned this week to avoid criminal prosecution.

But it will be over a month before the Metro Council picks a replacement, and Metro legal officials say it's not exactly clear who is supposed to run the office in such a situation.

So Arriola is telling customers that it will be longtime political confidante Joey Workman.

Workman is best known for a physical confrontation with a NewsChannel 5 crew in March 2010 when we attempted to investigate reports about slot machines in the county clerk's office on St. Patrick's Day. At the time, we caught county clerk employees playing slot machines for cash prizes in the break room inside their government offices.

"We need you out of the break room," Workman told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Asked why, Workman responded, "'Cause I said so."

Still, he refused to identify himself.

Williams: "Who are you?"
Workman: "Let's go, Phil."
Williams: "Who are you?"
Workman: "Let's go."

At that point, Workman grabbed this reporter by the jacket and shoved him.

Williams: "Don't get rough with me, sir."
Workman: "Let's go."
Williams: "This is public property."

At that point, Workman was still grabbing the jacket.

"Please do not touch me," this reporter asked.

As we turned to walk out, Workman gave this reporter a hard shove in the back.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates later learned his name.

Arriola later apologized and required Workman to apologize, as well.  The county clerk also suspended Workman and a second employee who brought the slot machines into the government office.

More recently, our investigation also discovered that Workman wrote an email, giving a bogus reason for paying employees for overtime that they did not really work.

The longtime Arriola aide was also heavily involved in the county clerk's political campaigns.

Arriola has repeatedly referred to Workman as his chief deputy, although Metro payroll records show his title is actually Deputy Clerk 4.

Those payroll records show the office does have a chief deputy clerk. Mike Taylor is a well-respected career Metro employee who has run the office through two administrations.

But, if Arriola gets his way, one of his own will actually still be running the show for more than a month.

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