Luttrell, Shelby Commission at odds over process - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Luttrell, Shelby Commission at odds over charter surrender process

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Some Shelby County Commissioners were hot under the collar Tuesday after Mayor Mark Luttrell refused to sign a resolution the Commission passed.

Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz was upset with this letter Mayor Mark Luttrell sent to commissioners Monday night.

>>Click here to read the letter<<

"Obviously, he's drinking somebody else's Kool-Aid," Ritz said Monday

Luttrell's letter says he's "chosen not to sign" an ordinance and two resolutions passed by the commission to establish its own transition in the Memphis and Shelby County Schools merger.

Luttrell's letter says commissioners failed to follow protocol.

"We have a law on the books and if you disagree with the law, there is an established procedure to register that and challenge it in court," Luttrell said. "They haven't challenged it in court."

Luttrell and the Shelby County Commission are at odds because two entities passed the school merger: The Memphis City Council and Memphis voters. Each entity triggers a different transition process.

The Shelby County Commission is following the Council's route, which calls for the Commission to control the merger.

"We've been told by our lawyers we have every right to do what we're doing," Ritz said.

Luttrell is following the voter route, which calls for the State of Tennessee to control the merger.

"It was the only option on the table that provided for an orderly transition," he said.

Ritz says Luttrell is trying to bait the Commission.

"Maybe he's teasing and taunting us to file a lawsuit, and we will not bite that bullet," he said.

"I really don't know what they mean by that," Luttrell replied. "I'm not smart enough to be coy on matters like this."

Neither side is budging.  But signature or no signature, the Commission plans to seat a unified school board.

"His letter is simply a bullet across our bow," Ritz said. "The ship is still sailing straight ahead. We will interview all of the candidates next Wednesday, a week from tomorrow, and we'll make the appointments the 28th."

Meanwhile, Luttrell plans to follow the state transition.

"Until a federal court tells us otherwise, I intend to follow the law as I know it," he said.

Luttrell said he did not veto the legislation because not signing it sends the same message, without clouding the issue.

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