Merging departments

There was heated debate Tuesday at the Memphis City Council concerning proposed mergers of departments within MLGW and the city. It's been talked about for a long time, combining several of the city's and MLGW's departments into one. Tuesday the plan was laid out on paper. It could save taxpayers $4-million a year. But City Council members aren't sold yet. Faced with a multi-million dollar deficit and the possibility of a huge property tax increase, City Administrator Keith McGee briefed the council Tuesday on combining services of MLGW and the City of Memphis. "For a total potential savings of $1,624,000." In fact, the total savings in combining IT, Legal, Human Resources and auditing could save the city more than four million dollars per year. But council members weren't biting right away. E.C. Jones questioned how the city's HR department could suddenly handle MLGW's 2,500 employees. E.C. Jones, Memphis City Council said, " If we can just take another 2,500-plus employees and we won't have to add additional people. That seems a little strange to me." McGee also said no one would lose a job. Tom Marshall pointed out that the changes would give the mayor even more power over MLGW. Tom Marshall, Memphis City Council said, "And to change that is raising some concern with the city council. It would give him certainly more authority than he has now." Barbara Swearengen Holt at one point wanted assurances that MLGW wouldn't be sold. Barbara Swearengen Holt, Memphis City Council said, "I have a concern. I just need everyone to be up front, even though I know you can't do it without the council." She's right, the council has the final authority over MLGW. Council members had a number of questions for Keith McGee. He's expected to answer their questions within the next two weeks.