City court clerk Myron Lowery withdraws daughter-in-law from consideration for position in his office

City court clerk Myron Lowery withdraws daughter-in-law from consideration for position in his office
Memphis City councilman Myron Lowery traveled with a Tennessee delegation.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - City court clerk Myron Lowery withdrew his daughter-in-law from consideration of a position in his office after WMC Action News 5 questioned whether it was allowed under city policy.

Lowery, who took office last week, nominated his daughter-in-law, Chonisha Lowery, for the position of deputy city court clerk in December.

The position comes with a salary of $105,000, according to Memphis city council documents. Lowery later clarified to WMC Action News 5 that the position for his daughter-in-law was set to pay roughly $85,000 annually.

The city council had to approve the appointment before it becomes official.

Chonisha Lowery’s nomination was set to go before the city council’s personnel committee on Tuesday morning, but Lowery withdrew it, later telling WMC Action News 5 that it was a “non-issue” once it was brought to his attention.

According to the city’s human resources nepotism policy, “No relative of a City of Memphis Government employee shall be hired or moved into any employment situation where the relative can influence the other’s work responsibilities, pay, performance evaluation, career progress, or other conditions of employment in any way.”

The policy goes on to define “relative” to include those through marriage.

“A relative by marriage is one who is connected with another by marriage. For the purpose of this policy, an individual’s relatives by marriage include spouse, spouse’s children, parents, brothers, sisters, the employee’s son-in-law, and daughter-in-law,” the policy reads.

Lowery said he determined “there is no wiggle room” for the appointment, according to the city charter. He said had consulted with the human resources department before making the appointment.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday his office did not sign off on the appointment.

“That’s not true, and we talked about it yesterday. The charter is pretty clear about that,” Strickland said, “I think the charter is pretty specific that you can’t have a direct hire and direct report that’s a relative.”

Chonisa Lowery is married to Lowery's son, Mickell Lowery, a Shelby County Commissioner.

Myron Lowery was elected city court clerk in October.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.