Suburban mayors look forward to working with Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburban mayors look forward to working with Memphis

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - When Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton leaves office, he'll leave behind unfinished business, including an important goal he could never accomplish: consolidation of city and county governments.

Consolidation is a hard sell in the suburbs no matter who is making the pitch. But the suburban mayors say they hope the new mayor of Memphis will talk with them.

It's no secret Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton spent little time communicating with the suburban Shelby County mayors. 

"He came to visit with us one time at one of our mayor's meetings and said he'd be back," Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said Monday.  "That was years ago."

He never came back.  Herenton made it clear he wants consolidation, but it was never really a discussion. So when he announced last week he would resign to concentrate on his run for the U.S. Congress, the suburban mayors had hope there would be dialogue with whomever becomes the new mayor. 

"That's one thing we haven't been able to do with the city of Memphis Mayor," McDonald said. "What do we agree on? Lets start there."

Stan Joyner, who was elected mayor of Collierville in November, has never talked with Herenton.  He says Collierville is pretty self sufficient and doesn't really need very much from the outside.

"We didn't want to depend or have to depend on anyone else for our survival," Joyner said.

Joyner added he doesn't really have a reason to even go to Memphis.

Suburban citizens say they hope a new Memphis mayor will be different.

"The biggest thing I'd like to see in the future is that we do talk to each other; that there is conversation between the city and the county and Bartlett," resident Kevin Gideon said.

"Just working together having the same goals in mind," Collierville resident Mary Fryman added.

One goal not agreed upon in the suburbs: consolidation.   

The mayors we spoke with said they really don't see any reason to change their mind about consolidation because the citizens in the suburbs don't want it.   But they are willing to talk about it.

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