County to discuss $15 minimum wage proposal for govt. workers

County to discuss $15 minimum wage proposal for govt. workers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Commissioners are considering a plan to enact a $15 per hour minimum wage ordinance.

They took up a proposal last week and will continue talking about it Monday.

The lowest paid Shelby County government workers already make at least $15 per hour because of executive decisions by current and former county leaders, and the county commission has gone on record with a resolution supporting it. But Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said that's not enough.

Executive orders can always be rescinded by future mayors and other county leaders, and resolutions are not laws.

Mayor Harris said the best way to ensure that the $15 minimum wage stays put is for the commission to pass an ordinance. That’s why his office presented one to commissioners last week. It would not only guarantee a $15 minimum wage, but a living wage--whichever happens to be more at any given point.

Commissioner Brandon Morrison said she's in favor of encouraging a living wage but does not support mandating it.

Commissioner Edmund Ford, Jr. questioned why an ordinance was even needed, and said he's concerned about county workers who've been on the job for 10 years possibly making the same as their new coworkers should it become law.

Monday represents the full commission’s first reading of the proposed ordinance. They’ll have to approve it three times before it becomes law.

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