Commissioner worries about Wharton's influence over consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioner worries about Wharton's influence over consolidation

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In about ten minutes at Monday's meeting, Shelby County Commissioners approved ten members of the new Metro Government Charter Commission. 

The task force of 15 appointees will meet regularly and draw up a charter for a metro government.  Then, they will present that charter to the Memphis City Council and County Commission.  If both bodies approve it, the charter becomes a referendum on the next general election ballot in 2010.

Names approved Monday include Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley, LeMoyne Owen College History Professor Minister Randolph Walker, County Commissioner J.W. Gibson and Millington Mayor Richard Hodges.

Though Commissioner George Flinn voted in favor of all the appointees, he expressed worry that the upcoming city election could give County Mayor A C Wharton unfair influence over the task force.

"Some are sort of pro-consolidation, some are anti-consolidation.  We want to get them together, get some of the best minds, together to see if they can work out something," Flinn said. "What the interesting key here is Mayor Wharton has appointed these people.  If he's elected city mayor, he will also appoint the other five appointees, and Mayor Wharton will have appointed the entire commission."

In fact, the Memphis City Council voted recently to wait for the next city mayor to appoint the remaining five task force members.

The future of the task force should become clear in the weeks following the Memphis mayoral election, scheduled for Thursday.

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