City Hall quiet on the eve of Herenton's departure - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City Hall quiet on the eve of Herenton's departure

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

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Action News 5 was there as Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton walked out of city hall Wednesday with a box under his arm.  He refused to answer our questions on the eve of his final day in office, but offered a friendly wave before taking a seat in his mini-van which drove away.

"It looks like he is going to follow through and leave," said Commercial Appeal writer Amos Maki.

Maki uses the cramped press room at City Hall to report on the mayor's activities.  He told us the mayor's exit is still shrouded in some mystery.

"Mayor Herenton likes to keep people off balance, and he's still doing that 'til his last day in office," Maki said.

For example, we know the mayor's pension is expected to be approved at 1:00PM Thursday.  Then at 2:00 PM, the mayor is scheduled to speak during a retirement reception.  It is expected to last until 3:30 PM.

"But, other than that, we still don't know when Myron Lowery will be sworn in, or how he will be sworn in," said Maki.

The usually responsive council chairman did not return repeated phone calls from Action News 5 the day before he takes over the city's top spot.

"The transition hasn't been very open," said Maki.

What is apparent is Mayor Herenton's next objective.  His portrait is among a number of plaques and other items from his office at city hall that now sit inside what we're told will become headquarters of his congressional campaign.

City Council members remained guarded Wednesday through the build-up to the mayor's retirement reception.

"If I attend, I plan to just sit back wish the mayor well," Council member Harold Collins said. "(I will) tell him we appreciate his service to our city, and move on."

"Because of the number of years that the mayor has been here, it's quite historic," Council Member Bill Boyd said. "I'm sure it hadn't set in with a lot of people that he will not be occupying that chair up there any longer."

Stay with Action News 5 and Thursday for live coverage of the mayor's retirement reception.

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