Mayor Herenton to step down in July - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Mayor Herenton to step down in July

Memphians were shocked to learn Thursday of Mayor Willie Herenton's intention to resign his position this summer.

In a letter to Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Keith McGee dated Wednesday, Herenton said his resignation would be effective July 31.


City Council chairman Scott McCormick said had lunch with Herenton at noon Thursday, where the mayor personally informed McCormick of his plans.

"He sat down and he said, 'Scott, I want you to know we have your doctor in the lobby because what I'm about to tell you might give you a coronary,'" McCormick joked.

The council chairman said he was comfortable with what the summer would bring.

"I feel confident," he said. "I'm only going to be mayor for 20 days, and hopefully, you know, the succession will take place."

According to the city charter, when Mayor Herenton steps down, McCormick will become mayor for 20 days. Thursday, McCormick said he had no plans for any major changes.

Herenton clearly did not let the rest of the Memphis City Council in on his plans, something that did not surprise council member Myron Lowery.

"I was in the charter commission meeting at the time, and we were talking about aspects of the charter," Lowery said. "This makes it particularly important that we look at the line of succession for the mayor in the city charter."

It was not clear why the mayor wanted his plans to leak out, as opposed to holding a news conference and telling all Memphis voters why he made this decision.

Sources close to the mayor said Herenton wants to become the Memphis City School's next superintendent. Top aid Pete Aviotti said Herenton does not think students at in Memphis' school system are getting a good education, and he believes he can do a better job.

The Memphis City School Board has a national search committee looking for a school superintendent.  It was not clear Thursday if the mayor had contacted that group.

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