Council members wait for letter from mayor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council members wait for letter from mayor

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - After a circus-like atmosphere at Memphis City Hall last week, things were eerily quiet Monday.  Memphis City Council members haven't heard a peep from the seventh floor office of Mayor Willie Herenton since they voted to declare his seat vacant effective July 30th.

"I voted for acceptance of the resignation because I do think city government needs some clarity and some certainty," council member Jim Strickland said Monday.

Council members are waiting for a legal letter of retirement from the mayor.  Though the mayor of five terms said in a letter to incoming Mayor Pro-tem Myron Lowery that he planned to retire July 30th, it's not an official declaration of retirement.

"I think we're in a state of uncertainty, not state of limbo," council member Harold Collins said.

Collins voted against declaring the mayor's seat vacant at last Tuesday's meeting.

"It's pretty much an invalid vote," he said.

Rumblings are now surfacing in City Hall that the mayor will not write that letter, and that he plans simply leave City Hall on the 30th.  The only thing council members say they know for sure is the mayor's staff continued packing his belongings on Monday.

"I cannot control other people's actions, and the person who controls this the most is mayor Herenton, and we really don't know one hundred percent what he's going to do," Strickland said.

Other rumblings are surfacing about the meeting minutes from the council's vacancy vote.  No Council action is official until members approve the minutes from each meeting, and they have not approved the minutes from last Tuesday.

Some believe the moment they do, local lawmakers and pastors will file a lawsuit to prevent the mayor from leaving.

Critics say incoming mayor pro-tem Myron Lowery would violate separation of powers by coveting two seats: holding onto his council seat, and running the mayor's office until the special election to replace the mayor.

The Council will approve the meeting minutes on Tuesday, July 21st.  They don't know what will happen until after that vote.

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