New ordinance gives voters the authority to recall - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

New ordinance gives voters the authority to recall

The images are seared in Memphis political history. Charges of corruption against sitting council members.

Last fall the FBI indicted both Rickey Peete and Edmund Ford accusing them of taking bribes. It happened just days after Tom Marshall was elected council chair.
"Citizens calling asking what we as a body were going to do not realizing that the council had no authority to sit in judgement whatsoever," outgoing council chair Tom Marshall said.

But a new ethics ordinance passed Tuesday night gives citizens the authority to recall any council member they feel has betrayed the public's trust.

"It does give the voters the ability to recall any member of council member which the voters simply before did not have," Myron Lowery said.  

Here's how it'll work.

If you want to recall a council member you need signatures. The amount of signatures? 10% of all the people who voted in the last general election.

So if there were 60 thousand total votes in the last election, then you would need six thousand signatures.

Also, the recall petition cannot begin until one year after the last general election.Once you get enough signatures then voters will have the final say.

"What you don't want is the fate of council members in the hands of other politicians who may have an axes to grind from other past political votes," outgoing council member Brent Taylor said.  
A ethics ordinance serving as a legacy for Memphis' city council 2007. And holding future members to a new standard of accountability, with voters having the option to recall.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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