Willingham looks to limit the mayor's powers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Willingham looks to limit the mayor's powers

A man who ran against Mayor Willie Herenton now wants to limit the mayor's powers.

Former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham plans to go before the Memphis City Charter Commission to put the issue on the ballot in November.

Willingham's plan comes after Herenton appointed three of his former body guards to deputy director status, all in positions in which they have no experience.

Willhamham wants to require City Council approval for the mayor's appointments.

"Mayor Herenton is supposed to represent all the people. Not just his cronies," Willingham said.

Willinhgam called Herenton's actions inexcusable, an assertion the mayor refused to even discuss.

"I'm not going to address that nonsense," Herenton said.

Earlier this week, Herenton appointed three of his former body guards to be deputy directors of Public Services and Neighborhoods, Waste Management, and the Executive Division.

Non of the appointees have experience in those positions, and will receive pay hikes ranging from $20,000 to nearly $50,000.

"There's something wrong with that picture.  You wouldn't get away with it in the private sector," Willingham said.

So Willingham plans to make a plea to the Memphis Charter Commission.

"Amend the Charter so that it limits the mayor's authority to appoint and give raises to their appointees and the deputy appointees," Willingham said.

He wants the city council to have final approval on the mayor's appointees.

If the public agrees, the issue could end up on the ballot for your vote as early as November.

"After we've reviewed any feedback from the draft list we've presented from the public, we have a deadline of 60 days before election day to get that final list to the Election Commission," Sylvia Cox of the Memphis Charter Commission said.

The next Charter Commission meeting is Thursday.

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