Letter from Mayor prompts council to change their minds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Letter from Mayor prompts council to change their minds

They were designed to give Memphis voters the ultimate decision in November. 

A trio of amendments to the city charter, meant to manage oversight of both the mayor and police residency requirements. But after Tuesday's city council meeting, those amendments will no longer be on the ballot.

The Mayor remains a powerful force in Memphis Politics. He wrote this letter to the Memphis City Council today and in the span of a few minutes, the council removed a big charter amendment from the agenda.

It would have given voters the chance to allow council oversight for all deputy director appointees.

Action News Five reported extensively about the mayor's deputy director appointees and their salaries. In particular three who were members of herenton's security detail, Michael Gray, Tony Elion, and Yalanda McFadgon.

Each making more than $100,000 a year, all with questionable experience in their current position.

The outrage caused city council to take up a resolution allowing voters to change the charter requiring city council oversight over all deputy directors.

Tuesday night, Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware changed her mind and submitted this letter sent by Herenton to City Council.

"In the spirit of cooperation the adminstration will provide members of the council with the names and resumes of all individuals who will be appointed to be deputy director," it said

Effective August 20th, directors and or deputy director's will be required to live in the City of Memphis.

Councilwoman Ware then made a motion to remove the charter amendment from the agenda.

Joe Brown agreed, citing cost.

"It's going to be a costly dollar to put this item on the ballot," Brown said.  
Shea Flinn said changing the charter is not the answer here.

"We sort of have charter amendment fever and we need to look at broad issues and to specific instances," Flinn said.
Edmund Ford Junior said he would vote for the amendment because other cities like Salt Lake City and Honolulu require city council approval over deputy directors.

"I will be voting for the ordinance, thank you," Ford, Jr. said.  
The vote to remove the charter amendment passed 10-3 with only Councilmen Morrison, Boyd, and Lowery voting to keep it on the agenda.
Clearly the mayor's clout over the council remains strong and now there's a new question of how many directors and deputy directors live outside the city.

Nobody with the adminstration could answer that question.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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