Co. commission works to curb residency controversy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Co. commission works to curb residency controversy

The commission drew up a residency resolution, after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating Commissioner Brooks.(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The commission drew up a residency resolution, after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating Commissioner Brooks.(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Since the launch of the investigation, Brooks missed her third meeting Wednesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Since the launch of the investigation, Brooks missed her third meeting Wednesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - The Shelby County Commission is working to curb the controversy surrounding residency rules for elected commissioners.

This comes after an investigation was launched looking into if Commissioner Henri Brooks lives in the district she represents.

Originally, the commission planned to set residency guidelines, but the sitting commission ends in August, so they ran out of time.

The commission drew up a residency resolution, after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating Commissioner Brooks. Since the launch of the investigation, Brooks missed her third meeting Wednesday.

"I think it's very important to live in your district," said resident Victoria Tijerina, who lives in District two in southwest Memphis. "If you live in that area, you know more about what that district needs."

Currently, commissioner residency rules are nonexistent.

"There need to be rules or guidelines for things of this nature as to where you live," commissioner Melvin Burgess said.

The commission wants to define those rules.

"We're on the honor system, and it's sad that we have to go to this," commissioner Terry Roland said.

But commissioners learned the changes can only be passed by through an ordinance.

"We have to do it by ordinance, and that takes three readings, and this commission won't be together for three readings," Roland said.

The session ends August 31.

"What we're going to try to do is see if we can get it on the ballot, a referendum for November, and let the people vote on it," Roland said.

The referendum question would define residency: as where a commissioner spends most of his or her time, gets a light bill, pays taxes and such.

"If there are rules, then we need to follow them," Burgess said.

The commission has until August 18 to submit the referendum proposal.

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