Chumney wants change to city charter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Chumney wants change to city charter

Last October's election put Mayor Willie Herenton in office for a record fifth term, but some think he will not serve the full four years.

City Councilwoman and former mayoral candidate Carol Chumney says it is unclear whether Mayor Herenton will finish his term in office or not. She wants to make sure if he does step down, voters get to decide who should take his place at city hall.

"I think there should be a special election within sixty days," Chumney said.      

She said she's heard the speculation Herenton might leave early and wants a change in the city charter.

"I don't think their should be any back room deals. I don't think there should be any skullduggery about it. I think the public should pick who should lead this city not the politicians," Chumney said     
If the mayor resigned, the city charter says the council chair would take over for 20 days. The council could then appoint someone to the post. If no were appointed in 20 days, the chief administrative officer would take over and serve until the next general election. Right now that's Keith McGee.
Chumney voiced her opinion to charter commissioners. They, in turn, could then propose the change to voters  

Janis Fullilove is a city charter commissioner and will be on the Memphis City council next month. She believes this is a case of sour grapes.

"I don't believe in changing the charter simply on the whim of somebody who has lost an election and has heard possibly the mayor is going to resign," Fullilove said.
However, Myron Lowry sees a change differently.

"I don't believe that an appointed official such as the CAO should serve. I think an elected official should serve. Perhaps the council chair until there is a special election," Lowry said.

The charter commission is expected to present all of its recommendations next spring. This could be one of them.
Voters would then decide changes to the charter in August or November of 2008.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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