Shelby Commission again considers eliminating free lunches - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Commission again considers eliminating free lunches on meeting days

(WMC-TV) - Wednesday marked round two in Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas' bout to ban free weekly lunch for the commission.

"It's setting an example to say that we're not better than anyone else," Thomas said.

Every week, Shelby County Commissioners eat free lunch - and sometimes breakfast - courtesy of county taxpayers.

Last month, commissioners voted to keep lunch money in the budget and in the same meeting made other massive cuts.

"If you get all the stuff like that - that's a waste - and you start cutting, that's almost someone's job right there," Thomas said

During a committee meeting Wednesday, Thomas put the elimination of free lunches back on the table.

"Let them cater the lunch," he said. "Just pay for it. It's real simple."

Thomas revealed the annual $25,000 spent on free lunches was $9,000 dollars over budget.

"So they had to move money from somewhere else into that budget to pay for it," he said.

The committee voted to end free lunches Wednesday, but the full commission has to finalize that vote.

After the meeting, Thomas called out fellow commissioners who want to keep the lunches.

"Chairman Chism wasn't in there today," he said.

But Chism was there during the last meeting.

"I don't think the public, expects us to do a job, and then starve us to death," he said during a debate over the meals on June 6.

Chism is one of several commissioners who feel taxpayers should provide lunch because commission meets up to ten hours, and commissioners cannot leave the building.

"I'm a little surprised at Commissioner Mulroy," Thomas said. "He voted against it. So I guess he wants to keep free lunches for everyone."

Thomas was particularly critical of Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

"I'm hoping that the public will pressure Commissioner Mulroy, who voted against this, who is a swing vote, and show him that the right thing to do is support cutting this funding," Thomas said.

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