Jefferson to stay on as city atty. unless council votes him out - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jefferson to stay on as city atty. unless council votes him out

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The showdown at City Hall went to court Wednesday afternoon.

Shelby County Chancery Judge Walter Evans ruled that Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery cannot fire the city's attorney without approval from the city council.

The former city council chairman took the mayor's seat after Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton resigned late last month.

In his first official act after being sworn in, Lowery demanded the resignation of Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

While the mayor pro tem says he simply wants to choose his own administration, Jefferson says Lowery acted outside his authority.

The two took their case to court Wednesday, where a judge ruled Jefferson can stay on as city attorney unless the city council votes to eject him.

The council is unlikely to assemble again until their next meeting on August 18.

"The court clearly established that Mr. Jefferson is city attorney, and only seven votes from city council can remove him from city attorney," said Ricky Wilkens, Jefferson's attorney.

Lowery nominated former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis to replace Jefferson. But Evans ruled there can be only one city attorney at a time.

Jefferson's term ends December 31, 2010. Meanwhile, Mayor Pro Tem Lowery's term is only 90 days.

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