Wharton to assess division leader's performance

(WMC-TV) - Some City of Memphis division leaders could lose their jobs now that Mayor A C Wharton said he will take a look at their performance.

Wharton is serving his first full term as mayor and said he has had time to assess his 15 division directors who got letters putting them on notice.

"You could be the devil incarnate," said Wharton.  "If you are doing your job, hey, hang on in there."

Wharton said he does not have to like a division leader to keep them on the job.

"It's a matter of who can do the job best or better if that is the case," he said.

Voters overwhelmingly elected Wharton to his first four-year term as Memphis mayor in October.  It came after he served out the last two years of former Mayor Willie Herenton's term.

"I've had enough time now to examine the way we've been doing some things," said Wharton.  "Everybody expects in government, things have to change."

Wharton would not say who, if any, of the division directors will be told to pack their bags.

Parks Director Cindy Buchanan and Community Enhancement Director Johnny McKay are retiring.

Wharton said he has been watching for a while.

"I've been observing in the shops," he said.  "I've seen how people perform.  I've been out in the streets talking with citizens."

Wharton said it is not a personality contest.

"It's about enhancing government," said Wharton.  "Personality has nothing to do with it."

Public Service Director Janet Hooks has taken some knocks because of criticism over the Memphis Animal Shelter and how it is run.  Wharton is expected to decide who stays and who goes before the holidays.

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