Source says Herenton pushing to make his appointees civil servants

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has delayed his retirement until July 30 to take care of some unfinished city business.
But a source inside city hall says the mayor's loose ends include protecting his appointees from losing their jobs after he leaves.

They say the mayor has a stack of contracts on his desk to sign before he leaves office.
The source also told Action News 5 that Herenton is pushing to convert his appointees into civil servants, in hopes that this will protect their employment status with the city when he's no longer there to protect them.

Incoming Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery alluded to the possibility that some of the mayor's key players could be fired after he leaves.
And there are a number of differences between an appointee and a civil service employee.

The mayor's appointees can be hired and fired at his discretion, and there are no salary caps.

Meanwhile, there are salary caps for civil service employees, and it's a lot more difficult to fire a civil servant.
All employment applications are controlled by the city's director of personnel, which is currently Lorene Essex.
Presently, all of the mayor's division and deputy directors, his legal department and immediate staff are appointed.

The source says the mayor has started the transition to civil service for the people who work closest to him on the seventh floor.
A charter expert said by phone Sunday that this is fully within the range of the mayor's powers.
No one could be reached for comment since the mayor's office is closed Sundays.

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