Memphis City Council delays charter surrender vote - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council delays charter surrender vote

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - "We're sitting here in one of the most important meetings in the history of this city," said Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert during an emergency meeting Thursday.

But a majority of the council decided against making history during the meeting that was called to possibly dissolve Memphis City Schools.

"Ultimately, this should belong to the citizens of Memphis to vote on," said councilman Shea Flinn.  "We should do what we can to protect that."

The threat by the council to immediately surrender the MCS charter was a response to efforts in Nashville aimed at lengthening the school consolidation process.  Some believe those efforts would also disenfranchise Memphis voters.

"There's a hopeful optimism by half of this council that there will be concessions made in Nashville," said council chairman Myron Lowery after the meeting.  "I'm not that optimistic because of what's happened in the past."

Mayor A C Wharton said he has assurances from Governor Bill Haslam that no rushed action would be taken.

"Will the council have an opportunity to be heard before anything gets to you?" said Wharton.  "And he said yes."

Most of the council ended the hour-long meeting in favor of continued negotiations.

"We've been working on a transition period and a transition plan," said councilman Jim Strickland.  "We are on the verge of having that happen," he added.

The council will reconvene next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. or upon 24 hours notice by the council chairman or vice-chairman.

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