New year brings new view to city council - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

New year brings new view to city council

After suspicions of public corruption led to resignations on the Memphis City Council, some voters have grown weary of political power. But with nine new council members sworn in New Year's Day, Mayor Willie Herenton expects a new view.

"With such a large turnover, I think the governance body has an opportunity to renew confidence on the part of the public," Herenton said.

Council members feel the same.

"I think the new council people that are coming in, they've got to do what feels right with themselves, what feels right in their heart and I think through that, they show the public," council member Reid Hedgepeth said.

Councilman Bill Boyd says ethics should start at the polls with mandatory candidate background checks.

"To begin with, I think we should have a better selection of people because the public doesn't know the backgrounds of who people are," Boyd said.

He would like to take it even further by requiring council members to disclose business affiliates so they don't vote with special interests in mind.

Councilman Jim Strickland would like to lower the amount of money council members can be gifted.

"I don't think we'll see any major initiatives within the first few months or so because we're just trying to feel our way around.  I'm hopeful within the first six months we can pass some ordinances that strengthen our ethics laws," Strickland said.

The new council meets on January 8th.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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