Shelby County mayor officially sues county commission

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Commissioners have been served.

Through an anonymous source, WMC Action News 5 got exclusive pictures of a sizeable lawsuit County Mayor Mark Luttrell has filed against all 13 Shelby County Commissioners mentioning specifically Commission Chair Heidi Shafer.

It all stems from a press conference earlier in the month where several commissioners announced they had hired the Napoli Firm to represent the county for the big lawsuit against Pharmaceutical Companies.

Earlier this week, Mayor Luttrell described what the commissioners did like this:

"Messy," Mayor Luttrell said. "It's messy, it angers me."

He said he would bring a suit, and now he has. The lawsuit claims the mayor is the only one with authority to hire outside counsel and he wasn't consulted in the commissioner's decision.

On Sunday Commissioner Van Turner, a lawyer himself, said his interpretation is different from the mayor's.

"From what I glean from the charter," Commissioner Turner said, "the charter says the commission can hire its own special council if all these circumstances are met."

Although unavailable Sunday, Commission Chair Heidi Shafer echoed Commissioner Turner earlier this week.

"The Shelby County Commission does have the authority to hire and employ outside counsel," Shafer said.

Turner admits the lawsuit is causing the relationship between Commissioners and the Mayor to be a little tense in the short term. But he's confident a solution can be and will be reached.

"We all just take a break, take a deep breath, sit down and get this worked out," Turner said. "Taxpayers don't need to be paying for the mayor suing us."

Once it's all settled, Turner wants county government to work together on their true goal.

"This is not even the issue," he said. "The issue is there is an opioid crisis. I mean people are dying from this stuff. While you and I are talking I'm sure there's been an overdose somewhere in this county."

County Commissioners meet again Monday. On Tuesday, there's a hearing for the lawsuit between County Mayor and County Commissioners.

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