Study could reduce size of Metro Council, among nation's largest - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Study could reduce size of Metro Council, one of nation's largest

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When it comes to Nashville council members, how many is too many? The Metro Council is currently one of the largest in the nation - with only New York and Chicago having more members.

Now, the council is considering a compensation study that would look into council size, pay, benefits and term limits.

There are 40 people on the Metro Council - representing 35 separate districts and five at-large seats - but some believe 40 may be too many.

The new compensation study is looking at that question among others.

"It's the 50th anniversary of Metro. It seems like a good time to say, 'do we want to continue doing it the way we have for the last 50 years, or is it time for a change?'" said Councilwoman Emily Evans.

Evans said term limits cause high turnover and create a larger pool of people eligible for council benefits.

"Eighty percent who subscribe to the health insurance plan are former members, largely because of term limits," she said.

The idea of trimming the council has not gone over well in the past. Former Mayor Bill Purcell backed the idea of cutting it to 20 members in 2005, but the proposal went nowhere.

Evans said if a reduction in size is realistically going to happen, it's going to have to come from outside the council.

"If there's any change to the size of council, it will likely come from the public through a referendum, petition drive, that kind of thing. What we're trying to do is get the conversation started," she said.

While the study is on the agenda for the council's meeting Tuesday, Evans said this really is a multi-year project.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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