Charter commission has three referendums ready for voters - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Charter commission has three referendums ready for voters

The Memphis Charter Commission has spent two years preparing charter amendments for voters this November.

Turns out there are three that would have a direct effect on the mayor's office.

And the amendments need no approval from the city council or anyone else in government to be on the ballot.

A last minute letter Tuesday night by Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton triggered enough support to sway council members away from putting their charter amendments on the ballot in November.

"The council really crossed the line with regard to legislative and executive responsibilities and duties," Herenton said.

Two resolutions called for more council oversight on the mayor's deputy director appointees and on city contracts. Had they passed council, voters would have had a choice in November. Instead, the issues won't be on the ballot.

"I was in favor of sending those to the public and I regret that the council didn't follow through," Lowery said.

But city councilman Myron Lowery will be able to follow through as chairman of the charter commission. He insists voters can still expect to see charter amendments on the ballot this November, but different amendments . This time coming from the Memphis charter commission. Six charter amendments are ready for the November ballot and three could affect the mayor's office.

"There was a citizens movement throughout Memphis and Shelby County to formulate a charter commission. That citizens movement was ultimately responsible for the creation of this charter commission," Lowery said.

Here are the 3 referendums

  • Suspending an elected official if that official is charged with a crime
  • 2 term limits for the city council and mayor
  • If the mayor's office becomes vacant, a new position called a mayor pro tem, will serve until a special election.

"We are recommending what's best for the future not based on one or two years of controversy within city government," Lowery said.

The charter commission's years of hard work will culminate this Thursday afternoon.

Tomorrow is the last scheduled meeting for the charter commission.

They could add more charter amendments or they could take some off the list.

Right now there are six.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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