As I've mentioned previously, my dad is a retired Methodist minister, which means that many Christmas and family vacations were paid for by weddings and funerals. So you can imagine my interest in learning that Davidson County Clerk John Arriola made over $100,000 over five years presiding over weddings. I had no idea that just marrying people paid so well.
Shoot, Davidson County, if you need someone to just stand around marrying people for $40 a pop, just tell me where to have my dad apply. If people want to throw in an extra $10, I can guarantee he'll sing the greatest honky-tonk version of "There Is a Fountain (Filled With Blood)" you've ever heard, wedding or not.
According to James Nix in The City Paper (and also The Tennessean's Michael Cass):
In June 2011, Arriola told employees to refer to the $40 payments as gratuities instead of fees. Over the period of time covered by the audit — between Sept. 1, 2006, and July 30, 2011 — auditors estimated that Arriola performed about 2,985 marriage ceremonies and collected about $119,400.
Two-thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-five weddings. For context, there were about 1,800 days there. Was he just lining them up, 10 couples deep, and asking "Do you both? Great. I now pronounce you man and wife. Sign here. And get out of the way. Next!"?
I don't know whether to be appalled or impressed at his efficiency.