Viewers and council respond to mayors' rides

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Mayors in cities like Charlotte and Birmingham, even Atlanta, do not even get city-owned cars. And Louisville's mayor just traded in his high-priced Lincoln for a Hybrid SUV. So the fact that Mayors Herenton and Wharton ride around in 2008 Cadillacs is not sitting well with a lot of taxpayers.

"I think I was a little surprised the city council did not enter into any discussion about car leases so we were not aware that this existed," city council member Wanda Halbert said.

Halbert was active in the budget process but said the mayor's lease never came up.

"Obviously it was something that was included in their budget packet because we didn't specifically talk about it," Halbert said.    
That could all change when the issue comes up again in 18 months when the leases are up.

"I am certain there will be council members that will express the concern of their constituents," Halbert said.    
And based on the constituents we chatted with in our live web chat on WMCTV .com Friday afternoon, constituents in Shelby County will demand a change.
"We need to lead by example from top to bottom I think all vehicles should be environmentally friendly vehicles which in this case probably means hybrid," county commissioner Steve Mulroy said.

Mulroy said the whole thought process should change on county vehicles, period. And Mulroy said when it comes to leases he thinks it might be more cost efficient to actually buy vehicles for the long term.

Mayor AC Wharton's office said when the Cadillac lease is up, they are seriously considering a green vehicle. Maybe a Hybrid of some sort.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.