WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee'Rebuild Government' promotes discussion over consolidation issue

'Rebuild Government' promotes discussion over consolidation issue

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By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - How should government go forth, and is consolidation the solution?  On November 2, residents will get the chance to vote on some form of answer.  Until then, one group says it wants to foster the public voice.

Monday morning, inside the welcome center at Shelby Farms, a group called Rebuild Government launched itself into the discussion over consolidation.

"The two large governments that we have are operating on a model that is broken and somewhat antiquated," the group's Darrell Cobbins said.

"To say that you're for it or against it - I don't know what I'd be for or against," Rebuild Government's Brian Stephens added. "But what I am for - I'm for the conversation. I'm for exploring: how do we become better than we are today?"

This Thursday, the newly-formed, 15 member Charter Commission will meet for the first time.  Ultimately, it will recommend how Memphis City and Shelby County governments should proceed, and whether or not the two should combine into one.

In a carefully constructed promotional video, Rebuild Government explains that its representatives will meet voters then take their concerns to the Charter Commission for consideration at each meeting.

"This is a conversation about what we are for," Germantown's Kristy Stanley said. "We get to decide our future finally. And I really hope everyone in the community will join us."

"This is the time for us to put the input in," Lakeland resident Jeff Moder said. "If you don't like it say what you don't like about it. Say what you're concerned about. This is the time for us to talk."

The goal?

"Not convince our fellow citizens to be on one side or the other," said Cobbins. "All we're hoping for is that everyone will keep an open mind and be a part of the discussion."

It's a discussion that is just beginning in earnest, and is promising plenty of disagreements along the way.

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