Process underway to fill Spinosa's city council vacancy

Process underway to fill Spinosa's city council vacancy

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - There will be a new face on the Memphis City Council in a matter of weeks as council members must replace Philip Spinosa, who resigned last Friday.

But his replacement may not be the only new name this year.

City charter requires a vacant seat be filled in 30 days. Three other council members are candidates in the county general election in August, meaning their seats may open up by years end.

Patrice Robinson is just one of the Memphis City Council members caught off guard by Spinosa's resignation.

Spinosa gave up his seat effective immediately to take a job with the Memphis Chamber. His picture is already gone from the wall, along with his nameplate in the council chamber.

"The citizens voted for Philip Spinosa to fill that position, so we need to look at his qualities because that's the kind of individual they'd want to serve in his capacity," Robinson said.

Monday, the council published a letter on the vacancy along with a signature-gathering packet.

They will vote on Spinosa's replacement at their meeting on May 22. Super District 92, which Spinosa represented, covers a majority of East Memphis.

Council members and the public can nominate candidates, and interested candidates can throw their own names in the hat.

But the appointment will be very short because the candidate will have to run for election in August.

Additionally, three current city council members are up for county elected posts in the August general election: Edmund Ford Jr. for County Commission District 9, Janis Fullilove for Juvenile Court Clerk, and Bill Morrison for Probate Court Clerk.

If they are elected at the county level they will have to vacate their council seat, Potentially forcing the council to appoint more members and ushering in a wave of new faces at the end of the year.

"There's a possibility," Councilman Berlin Boyd said. "It comes with the territory. People leave, you have to appoint and find someone else to fill their vacancies."

"We have good synergy now we're looking at approximately like four people leaving the council that's like starting all over again," Robinson said.

Shelby County Election Commission said if those other three candidates win county office, it will depend on when they resign from their Memphis City Council seats whether or not it will trigger a special election in each case.

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