City council members walk out after failing to agree on District 1 seat replacement

City council members walk out after failing to agree on District 1 seat replacement

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tensions at Memphis City Council over the appointment of an open seat in District 1 got so heated that some council members walked out of their scheduled meeting.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the council took more than 100 votes on trying to get a replacement for Bill Morrison's old seat in District 1.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, it appeared the battle lines were drawn and business ground to a halt.

“You cannot get to a quorum unless you have seven and the four of us here are solid, we are solid,” said council member Martavious Jones.

Jones, Joe Brown, Jamita Swearengen, and Patrice Robinson walked out Tuesday when a majority of six voted to override the rules and open up nominations of the District 1 seat to all qualifying candidates, not just top vote-getters Rhonda Logan and Lonnie Treadaway.

With the four gone, the now 10-member body did not have a quorum and couldn’t meet or take votes to conduct business.

“It’s all about what and who all is out there,” said council member Frank Colvett. “At the end of the day I was not impressed enough with Ms. Logan to vote.”

Tempers flared two weeks ago over the appointment. No candidate got the required seven votes, with Logan hitting six votes most rounds. Logan is the executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corporation.

Treadaway works for Flinn Broadcasting and unsuccessfully ran for a Senatobia alderman seat before relocating to Memphis. He moved into District 1 earlier this year, as did Logan.

“At this particular moment the council will have to figure out our difference and appoint a candidate to fill that District 1 vacancy as quickly as possible,” said Memphis City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd.

The meeting will resume Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. It will be a standing meeting daily until the council members that walked out show up.

The city attorney and MLGW attorney could file a lawsuit in chancery court Wednesday to compel members to report to meetings

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