Mayor Strickland calls Herenton lawsuit call a ‘city council issue’

Mayor Stickland calls Herenton lawsuit call a ‘city council issue’

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland responded to former mayor Willie Herenton’s intent to sue the city of Memphis.

Herenton said a referendum on November's ballot would bar him from running for mayor next year--something he said he intends to do.

Strickland, however, said what's on the ballot has nothing to do with his office.

It's something that was drafted and agreed upon by the City Council.

In January, the council approved a referendum ordinance, asking voters to extend term limits from two to three.

In the original language, it said, "if any person has served at any time after December 3, 2011..."

However, that date is left out on the ballot, which now reads "at any time."

Herenton announced he will run for mayor in 2019. He was previously mayor for 17 years until 2008.

He said the language on the ballot would prevent him from running in 2019 and called it a conspiracy by City Council, Mayor Strickland, and County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips, to prevent him from running.

"That's a 100 percent city council issue. The City Council conceived of the idea, they drafted the ordinance, they passed the ordinance," Strickland said. "I hope that anyone who wants to run is allowed to run."

Memphis City Council Attorney Allen Wade said the drafted language was a mistake. He said if Herenton is to file a post-election challenge, he would agree that the ballot item did have an inadvertent effect and Herenton should be allowed to run.

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