I have been trying to think of something that could be more challenging and disruptive than to move 167 employees to new offices in seven different locations while at the same time rolling out a wholesale restructure of the way we handle cases.
I'm coming up blank.
For the past month, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from the third floor of 201 Poplar in downtown Memphis, TN which the Shelby County District Attorney's Office has called home for almost 38 years.
But we survived. Two vertical moves in one month: one physical, the other procedural.
Our recent move has been years in the planning, with equal parts anticipation and dread. The biggest part of the move was to the 11th floor in the same building, but it also included new offices on the 1st, 8th and 12th floors, as well as relocating some employees to two nearby office buildings.
The anticipation was because we would be getting bright, newly renovated, dust-free offices with panoramic views that include the beautiful mighty Mississippi River. (Of course, that's only if your office faces west. Those facing east get a less-scenic view of shirtless prisoners playing basketball on the jail's fifth-floor rooftop.)
The dread was because, well, let me count the ways. Nearly every day for weeks I sent basically the same reminder to staff members: It's time to start packing for the move. This is not a drill. This is really going to happen. Now also would be an excellent time to take home those things in your office you haven't used in the past 10 years!
Large cardboard boxes, rolls of clear tape for sealing them and rolls of blue painter's tape for labeling destinations soon were everywhere. Nothing like last-minute deadlines to get procrastinating prosecutors packing. And what could be more fun after a full day in court?
Since thousands of criminal case files also had to be moved, a background check had to be done on each member of the moving crew. Of the 20 prospective movers, only three were disqualified: two who had active cases being handled by our prosecutors, and another who had an active warrant. He wisely did not show up for work.
When moving day arrived, however, the young workers from the moving company surprised us all with their willingness to work, their upbeat attitude, and their careful handling of tons of desks, chair and file cabinets.
The moving began at 8 a.m. on May 20, 2019 with two eight-man crews working in shifts until midnight. Teams from the...