Strickland discusses city hall changes ahead of taking office

Strickland discusses city hall changes ahead of taking office

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis mayor-elect Jim Strickland was cleaning out his law office Monday, but he's already begun cleaning house at city hall.

"Some of the folks, frankly, expected it," said Strickland.  "They were political appointees in the first place."

Memphis Animal Services Director James Rogers is the latest Wharton appointee to be shown the door.

"We've decided to go in a new direction, do a national search for a new director," said Strickland.  "And I'm hopeful that we'll get somebody really good."

Strickland wants a person who can work with animal advocates, not perpetuate the divisiveness at MAS.

"And not that they're going to run the place," said Strickland.  "But their voice should be heard."

Strickland said his recently named executive team will help determine further changes within city government.

"You know, it's kind of like an auto mechanic," said Strickland.  "When you open the hood, you've really got to delve into that engine."

Retaining police officers and firefighters is a big part of his short-term plan.

Strickland said a new study will help to more accurately compare Memphis' benefits package with other cities.

"But my gut tells me that we're in the ballpark," said Strickland.  "And it's not so much worse than other places."

Long term, Strickland hopes to combat Memphis' population loss with more good-paying jobs.

"I think better days are ahead of us," said Strickland.  "But I've got to work very hard to bring them."

Strickland will be sworn in Friday at noon at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.

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