Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton says "the devil is busy" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Anna Marie Hartman reports

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton says "the devil is busy"

Controversy surrounding the one-time unpaid utility bills of Councilman Edmund Ford meant lights out for MLGW's President and General Counsel.

This week, two-months after MLGW President Joseph Lee tried to resign his post, the Mayor of Memphis accepted that resignation.

At a church luncheon Saturday, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton stressed the importance of faith during the city's leadership crisis.

"When leaders try to lead, the devil gets busy and I want you to know in Memphis, Tennessee, the devil is busy," says Mayor Herenton.

After a busy week in Memphis politics, Herenton is putting his faith in the MLGW Board of Commissioners.

The utility's President, Joseph Lee, and attorney Odell Horton Jr., resigned Thursday.

One day later, Interim President Rick Masson denied severance pay for both former executives.

Herenton adds, "to date, I have not talked to Chairman Rick Masson about any of the compensation issues."

Herenton says he has nothing to do with compensation approval of any MLGW executives.

"I would like to believe that whatever decisions the board of commissioners have made regarding president Lee's compensation is according to policy and it is fair and equitable," says Herenton.

For now, Herenton appears to be distancing himself from the fallout at MLGW to focus on the bigger picture.

But I want to tell you all something, you already know I'm running for re-election and I want you to know that I'm fired up," says Herenton.

But the mayor can't close the books on the MLGW crisis. He still has to appoint a permanent president. A process that will require the faith of the Memphis city council.

Joseph Lee was in negotiations with the utility on a severance package when he tried to resign two months ago.

But the negotiations broke down and no agreement was reached.


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