Joyce Avery will be first woman to serve as Shelby County mayor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Joyce Avery will be first woman to serve as Shelby County mayor

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County Commissioner Joyce Avery will make history as the first woman to serve as county mayor.

Avery will temporarily take over the role when Memphis Mayor-elect AC Wharton officially takes office later this month.

Avery will serve as mayor for 45 days.

"Actually, I have no goals at this point. What I will do is just walk into the office and do whatever I have to do," she said.

Avery says she won't hire or fire staff, but will instead keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Commissioner Sidney Chism will step in as county commission chairman.

During that time period, the condensed 12-member county commission must appoint an interim mayor to fulfill the remaining nine months of Wharton's elected term. Anyone can seek that appointment.

"It will be a mess for the next year, yes," said political analyst Jackson Baker.

Baker says a member of the current county commission will probably get the job.

He says the Democrat-controlled commission will most likely appoint either J.W. Gibson or Joe Ford, and Steve Mulroy is also in the picture.

Baker says George Flinn is the only Republican with even an outside chance.

"In those 45 days, they will be bargaining with each other to beat the band," he said. "They'll have battle lines drawn where they'll have an idea of a consensus candidate."

Sunshine laws prohibit commissioners from discussing the topic with one another, but Baker says it happens anyway.

If a current Shelby County Commissioner is appointed interim mayor, then the county commission will appoint someone else to carry out the remainder of the elected term.

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