MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - During a Memphis City Council committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Councilwoman Wanda Halbert brought up the termination of two council aid employees.
Halbert is questioning whether the chairman at the time had the authority to fire both women without an entire council vote.
"This is a council matter," said Mayor A C Wharton. "It's just that the charter gives only the mayor the authority to make appointments and rescind appointments."
On Tuesday, Mayor A C Wharton responded to the firing of two Memphis City Council employees after they had previously received letters from him notifying them of termination.
"It was based on the assumption that this was the will of the council," said Wharton. "If they come back today or next week and say no, that's not the will of the council, I shall react to what they do."
It all happneed on Dec. 31 when the two employees were fired after the council chairman at the time, Jim Strickland, called for the decision.
"We do not need to fund unnecessary positions," said Strickland.
Strickland says that no one requested to work with the two employees.
When Halbert brought it up on Tuesday, she expressed concern that Strickland used his power incorrectly.
"I think the concern came in when it was publicly acknowledged that we had two people who were released because of downsizing," said Halbert. "Downsizing is a budgetary issue. And only the council can vote on the budget, not an individual council member, and I think that's where the conflict comes in."
The discussion at the committee meeting was brief. Councilmembers Joe Brown and Janis Fullilove expressed a desire for a motion, but because Fullilove was dialed into the meeting via phone, she couldn't make a motion.
They say this issue is far from over.