New hire at Memphis City Hall questioned by former councilman

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - "I'm running for mayor," said former Memphis City Council member E.C. Jones said Tuesday.

But he told Action News 5 his new ambition is not the reason he's calling out Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery for a recent hire down at City Hall.

"These things make me think there's not gonna be any change," Jones said.

Former city employee Darrell Eldred is now assisting CAO Jack Sammons to the tune of $20,000 for what will amount to two months work.  He's the same man rejected by the City Council in 2004 for a director's job after serious allegations.

"That he had made some racial slur about an individual who worked in General Services," Jones said.

At the time, the Council denied a number of Mayor Herenton's nominations.  But Jones recalled no others involved such claims of misconduct.

"That was, I think, the main reason the Council did not approve his appointment to be director of General Services," Jones said.

Mayor Pro Tem Lowery defended the decision to re-hire a longtime public servant when we caught up with him during a community meeting in Midtown.

"Anybody who knows me knows my record on racial diversity and individual rights," Lowery said.  "They know I would not hire anyone with a history of racial impropriety."

But E.C. Jones still considered it a lapse in judgement.

"I certainly question the wisdom of the Mayor Pro Tem and even of Mr. Sammons at this point in time," he said.

Darrell Eldred retired the same week his nomination was rejected by the council nearly five years ago.  At the time, he denied using racial slurs.  Eldred was cleared of any wrongdoing in another matter involving mis-use of city resources.

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