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Editorial Results (free)

1. City Employees Return to Court Over Benefits -

The basic elements of an overhaul of city health insurance and pension benefits got some changes this week at the Memphis City Council. And it looks like the council might put off a vote on pension benefit changes originally set for a vote in October.

2. Retirees Sue As Council Adjusts Health Insurance Changes -

Three retired Memphis Police officers and the widow of a Memphis Police officer filed suit Tuesday, Sept. 16, against the city of Memphis seeking a temporary restraining order to stop changes in city government health insurance benefits by the time the open enrollment period begins next month.

3. Council to Review Alternative Health Plan -

Memphis City Council members Tuesday, Sept. 2, talk over a proposed high-deductible health insurance plan that would restore health benefits for city employees and retirees.

The 1:30 p.m. executive session discussion by the full council is the first since the leaders of the Memphis Fire Fighters Association pitched the plan at a health insurance oversight committee session in July.

4. City Union Presents Alternative Plan on Benefits -

Memphis Fire Fighters Association president Thomas Malone takes the union’s plan for reversing city employee and retiree health insurance coverage cutbacks to a city oversight committee Thursday, Aug. 21, on employee issues.

5. Fullilove Calls Off Sales Tax Hike Try, Unions May Try -

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove pulled the plug Tuesday, Aug. 19, on a proposed November referendum on a citywide half cent sales tax hike.

6. Council Reviews Pension Investment Changes -

For the first time in months, Memphis City Council members have no committee discussions scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 19, on city health insurance benefits or proposed pension plan changes.

But the council will vote on the first in a series of pension plan changes to come.

7. Author Jess Walter to Appear at Libration -

The Memphis Library Foundation has announced that Jess Walter, author of the New York Times bestseller “Beautiful Ruins,” will join fans and library supporters during the foundation’s annual Libration event.

8. Long Council Day Comes With Change, Emotions -

It was apparent early in the long council day Tuesday, June 17, at City Hall that there wouldn’t be many amendments to the $600 million operating budget and $84 million capital budget the council would approve later that evening.

9. City to Rework Rights-of-Way Fees -

Allan Wade points to the patchwork pavement on many Memphis streets – square, sometimes rectangular.

10. City, Schools Agree To Mediation on Funding -

The city of Memphis and Shelby County Schools have agreed to an “official mediation process with a third party mediator” to resolve the $57 million claim and judgment the school system has against the city and the $89 million counterclaim the city is pursuing against the school system for capital funding.

11. City, Schools Agree To Mediation on Funding -

The city of Memphis and Shelby County Schools have agreed to an “official mediation process with a third party mediator” to resolve the $57 million claim and judgment the school system has against the city and the $89 million counterclaim the city is pursuing against the school system for capital funding.

12. Council Unhappy With Budget Plans So Far -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. got a rough reception at the Tuesday, April 1, Memphis City Council session as it set the stage for Wharton’s budget proposal to come in two weeks.

13. Council to Review Mall Conversions -

Memphis City Council members get a look at plans for the redevelopment of two shopping malls Tuesday, Feb. 18.

But the council’s last meeting for February apparently won’t include any presentation of a proposal to change the benefits of new city hires and city employees with less than 10 years on the job, as promised earlier by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration.

14. Council OKs Crosstown, Debates Schools Lawsuit -

Memphis City Council members approved the Crosstown planned development Tuesday, Nov. 19, marking the latest move through local government for the $180 million project with construction scheduled to begin late this year or early next year.

15. Council Shares Criticism of Mayor in Mall Debate -

Memphis City Council members profoundly disagree with one another on how far the city should go to fund a renovation of Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

But both sides of the council discussion were of one mind Tuesday, Nov. 5, about their dissatisfaction with the qualified support the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has gradually given to the project.

16. Council Keeps Southbrook Mall Renovation Alive -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, Nov. 5, to start over again in plans to find a legal use for city funds in renovating the Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

And the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. gave a qualified endorsement through what amounts to a new feasibility study on the mall due before the council in a month.

17. City Council Approves Civil Service Referendum -

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, Aug. 20, a 2014 city referendum on a charter change that would change the city’s civil service board system.

Part of the proposal by council member Kemp Conrad is aimed at better staffing the review board, which decides employee appeals, to hear a current backlog of cases and resolve them more quickly. Under another change in the proposal, employees could be cited for – and appeal – performance issues, in addition to violations of policies.

18. City Council Approves Civil Service Referendum -

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, Aug. 20, a 2014 city referendum on a charter change that would change the city’s civil service board system.

Part of the proposal by council member Kemp Conrad is aimed at better staffing the review board, which decides employee appeals, to hear a current backlog of cases and resolve them more quickly. Under another change in the proposal, employees could be cited for – and appeal – performance issues, in addition to violations of policies.

19. Council Approves Smart Meters, Delays Vote on Solid Waste Fee and Plan -

Memphis City Council members approved a $10.1 million contract Tuesday, Aug. 20, for Memphis Light Gas and Water Division to buy 60,000 Smart Meters.

And the council delayed a final vote on setting a solid waste fee that is the starting point for changes over several years to the way the city collects garbage. The two-week delay in setting the fee also delays acting on a plan to provide sanitation workers with a retirement supplement of up to $1,000 a month funded with the savings from the changes in the services.

20. Memphis Demolition Moratorium Delayed -

A plan by some on the Memphis City Council to declare a four-month moratorium on all demolitions of Memphis properties on the National Register of Historic Places was put off this week after questions about the legality of the moratorium.

21. City’s Car Inspection Debate Shifts Gears -

With the closing of the city’s four auto inspection stations Friday, June 28, a new phase begins in a political dispute that started its present path in the last year.

That is when the Memphis City Council voted to cut funding for the stations and the city employees who work in them.

22. Council Faces Pressure in Financial Crisis -

The Memphis City Council is caught between hints of a state takeover of city finances and the possibility of a lawsuit by most, if not all, of the city’s municipal labor unions in a fiscal crisis that is also evolving into a significant labor dispute.

23. Council Mulls Exempting City Autos From Inspections -

The Memphis City Council approved on the first of three readings Tuesday, June 4, an ordinance proposed by council member Lee Harris that would exempt Memphis vehicle owners from auto inspections when city funding for the emissions testing runs out at the start of the new fiscal year.

24. Council Discusses Exempting City Autos From Inspections -

The Memphis City Council approved on the first of three readings Tuesday, June 4, an ordinance proposed by council member Lee Harris that would exempt Memphis vehicle owners from auto inspections when city funding for the emissions testing runs out at the start of the new fiscal year.

25. Wharton Proposes 15-Cent Tax Hike, Council Delays Budget Votes -

Memphis City Council members delayed a series of seven budget and tax rate-related votes Tuesday, June 4, at the end of a busy day at City Hall.

The day featured a new tax rate proposal from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. that includes a 15-cent city property tax hike above the recertified rate proposed by Wharton.

26. Lawsuit Seeks Restoration Of Confederate Park Names -

A group of nine Memphians called “Citizens To Save Our Parks” is taking the city of Memphis and the Memphis City Council to court over the council’s February decision to temporarily rename three Confederate-themed parks.

27. Lawsuit Seeks Restoration of Confederate Park Names -

A group of nine Memphians called “Citizens To Save Our Parks” is taking the city of Memphis and the Memphis City Council to court over the council’s February decision to temporarily rename three Confederate-themed parks.

28. Leaders at Table in Separate Talks -

The elected officials on all sides of the schools merger lost one item on their plates last week as the school year ended for Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools students and parents.

Those in the systems working on the terms of the schools merger had also been running the two separate school systems as well until last week’s final bell.

29. City Council Mulls Ending Auto Inspections -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris will propose Tuesday, May 21, exempting Memphis auto owners for two years from required auto emissions inspections.

30. Council OKs Apartments, Golf Driving Range -

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, May 7, a golf driving range on Summer Avenue north of Sycamore View Road, a 240-unit apartment complex on 19.3 acres at Lenow and Dexter roads and a 69-unit apartment complex on the northern side of Shelby Farms Park to the west of Germantown Parkway.

31. Council Approves Apartments, Golf Driving Range -

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, May 7, a golf driving range on Summer Avenue north of Sycamore View Road, a 240-unit apartment complex on 19.3 acres at Lenow and Dexter roads and a 69-unit apartment complex on the northern side of Shelby Farms Park to the west of Germantown Parkway.

32. City Council OKs School Funding Talks -

The newest front in the move to the schools merger in less than two months is an old legal claim that continues to pop up as the countywide school board looks for any new funding it can secure.

Memphis City Council members passed a resolution Tuesday, May 7, to start negotiations among the council, the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and the countywide school board.

33. Council Moves on School Funding Standoff -

Memphis City Council members want to try to resolve the Memphis City Schools $57 million court judgment against the city as well as the city’s legal counterclaim that the school system owes it more than twice that by the end of this month.

34. Parks Controversy Back to City Council -

The committee recommendations are in for new names for three Confederate-themed city parks. And the long-running controversy about the parks is now back to the Memphis City Council.

The ad hoc committee of nine, which included several historians and two City Council members, held its final meeting Monday, April 29, and voted with little discussion on several ideas for what used to be known as Confederate, Forrest and Jefferson Davis parks.

35. Council Ups Ante in Auto Inspections Standoff -

City funding of auto emissions inspections is still due to run out on June 30, the end of the current fiscal year at City Hall.

And Memphis City Council members are considering several options, including simply ending the inspections. The possible move comes after Shelby County government leaders announced last month the state has told them the state won’t assume responsibility for the auto inspections for at least a year, probably two. Until then, the auto inspections would apply only to Memphis vehicle owners and not those across the entire county.

36. Masson Talks Plan for Merger Work -

The special master in the schools merger federal court case says his first order of business is to look at the paperwork and other documents of the case and what has been done so far in the merger.

37. State Delays Auto Inspection Takeover -

The state of Tennessee has told the city of Memphis it will probably take two years for it to take over auto inspection duties in Shelby County.

But city funding for the auto inspection stations and employees runs out when the current fiscal year does, at the end of June.

38. Merger Special Master Could Have Different Terms -

The Shelby County Commission, the city of Memphis and suburban Shelby County leaders all agree details of the merger of public schools in Shelby County could come down to a federal court order.

But in their filings Wednesday, Feb. 27, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, there are some differences in how the three parties in the federal lawsuit believe the court might become involved directly in the merger.

39. Commission, City and Suburbs Agree on Schools Master -

Attorneys for the Shelby County Commission, the city of Memphis and suburban leaders agree that a special master should be appointed by Memphis Federal Court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays.

The master would generally monitor progress toward the August date for the consolidation of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

40. Mays Plans to Appoint Special Master -

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays plans to move ahead with appointing a special master to oversee the merger of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

41. Council Drops Resolution Advancing Vance Plan -

The Memphis City Council dropped a resolution Tuesday, Dec. 4, that would have advanced a Vance Avenue renovation plan by the Vance Avenue Collaborative to protect Foote Homes against future demolition.

42. City Council Drops Resolution Advancing Vance Avenue Plan -

The Memphis City Council dropped a resolution Tuesday, Dec. 4, that would have advanced a Vance Avenue renovation plan by the Vance Avenue Collaborative to protect Foote Homes against future demolition.

43. Council Debates Golf Courses Fate -

Four golf courses owned and run by the city of Memphis are closed for the winter season as the Memphis City Council continues to debate the fate of the Whitehaven golf course, one of the four, which was to be closed permanently starting this month.

44. Gay, Transgender City Workers Protected From Discrimination -

At the end of a long night at City Hall with a relatively short agenda, Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism told Memphis City Council members that their meetings looked like more “fun” than the commission’s meetings.

45. Council Approves Non Discrimination Ordinance, Adds Resolution -

Memphis City Council members approved on third and final reading an ordinance Tuesday, Oct. 16, that forbids the city from discriminating in hiring, firing or promotion based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

46. City Council to Vote on Discrimination Ordinance -

With a legal opinion from City Attorney Herman Morris in hand, Memphis City Council members on Tuesday, Oct. 16, again take up an ordinance that would ban the city from discriminating in hiring and promotions based on sexual orientation.

47. Council Delays Anti-Discrimination Ordinance -

When the Memphis City Council got to the real intent this week of the latest version of an anti-discrimination ordinance it has been debating off and on for two years, it wasn’t just a decision about including “sexual orientation” in the wording.

48. Council Delays Anti-Discrimination Vote For Legal Opinions -

The Memphis City Council amended an anti-discrimination ordinance covering city government to include banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But the council then delayed a vote on the ordinance for a month after the city attorney and the council’s attorney raised questions about whether the addition amounts to a change in the city charter.

49. Mays Opens Hearings On Municipal Schools With Testimony -

The first of two days of testimony in the federal court case over the state laws setting up municipal school districts ended with a lot of reading material for U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays.

50. Gas Tax Would Raise MATA Funding -

If Memphis voters approve a gas tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot, the Memphis Area Transit Authority will have what it has for years said it lacks to provide better service – a dedicated source of continuing funding.

51. Despite Ruling Schools Case Far From Over -

The day after U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays ruled the suburban municipal schools referendums will go ahead as planned, most of the 20 attorneys in his courtroom for the ruling were back before him.

52. Council Tests Auto Inspection Rules -

Memphis City Council members have approved a financial hardship waiver that allows Memphis motorists who flunk the emissions part of their auto inspection to claim the repairs will cost them too much and get a one-year one-time-only waiver on the inspection.

53. Wade Brings No-Nonsense Attitude to Council Work -

During the trial in 2009 between the city of Memphis and the Memphis City Schools district over a complicated funding dispute that has left ramifications even to this day, Allan Wade argued on behalf of the city.

54. Tax Hike Thorny Issue for Council -

To some at City Hall, the plan at the end of the 2011 budget season for city government is unfolding as it should. To others, nothing in the plan approved by the Memphis City Council has happened.

Still others aren’t sure whether a one-time, 18-cent city property tax hike is really one time or if it’s the second tax hike of its kind since last year.

55. Orlando Joins Memphis In Studying NBA Suit -

It’s not just Memphis anymore. According to news accounts out of Orlando Thursday night, lawyers for the home city of the Orlando Magic, like those in Memphis, are studying the possibility of a lawsuit against the NBA because of the protracted lockout.

56. Orlando Joins Memphis in Studying Possible NBA Suit -

It's not just Memphis anymore.

According to news accounts out of Orlando Thursday night, lawyers for the home city of the Orlando Magic, like those in Memphis, are studying the possibility of a lawsuit against the NBA because of the protracted lockout.

57. Possible Arena Suit Spotlights Funding -

The possibility the city of Memphis could file a lawsuit against the NBA over the league’s still unresolved player lockout has cast a spotlight over the intricate funding plan that paid the debt associated with building FedExForum.

58. Council Looks Into NBA Revenue Lock Out -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, Oct. 18, to have their attorney “explore all options” for recovering any revenues lost in the National Basketball Association lock-out.

The resolution, proposed by council chairman Myron Lowery, is aimed at revenues from ticket sales at FedExForum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies, that are used to pay off the debt of building the $250 million arena.

59. Fullilove Wants Madison Bike Lane Talks but ‘Not Trying to Interfere’ -

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove wants to talk more about dedicated bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue at the council’s Tuesday, Oct. 18, afternoon session.

60. Fullilove Wants Madison Bike Lane Talks but ‘Not Trying to Interfere’ -

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove wants to talk more about dedicated bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue at the council’s Tuesday, Oct. 18, afternoon session.

61. Council Holds First Post-Election Meeting -

At their first set of meetings since the Oct. 6 city elections, Memphis City Council members take up some of the issues that surfaced in the campaigns while others have been delayed.

The Tuesday, Oct. 14, council session begins at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

62. Council Takes Closer Look at Dollar Signs -

Memphis City Council members could vote Tuesday, Sept. 20, to add another item to the Nov. 8, 2012, election ballot topped by the presidential general election.

Council members vote on third and final reading of an ordinance that would put to city voters a requirement that two-thirds council approval – or nine votes – is required for any city property tax hike that is, as a percentage, higher than the percentage of the rate of inflation.

63. Possible Mediation Expected In Schools Case -

Before he rules on the second part of the schools consolidation case, federal Judge Hardy Mays might give mediation another try.

Nothing had appeared on his court calendar as of Wednesday afternoon. But attorneys for some of the parties in the eight-sided case have told their clients to keep Friday, Aug. 19, open for a possible mediation session.

64. School Board Elections Next Step in Process -

All eight of the entities involved in the schools consolidation case in Memphis federal court agree that the Shelby County Commission should draw the district lines for a new countywide school board.

65. Decision Leaves Board Question Unanswered -

Attorneys for all of the sides in the schools consolidation court case have a Friday, Aug. 12, deadline that will set the stage for the next crucial part of the landmark court case.

What does a new countywide school board look like and when is there a transition to that school board?

66. Council Approves MCS Funding -

The Memphis City Council approved a funding agreement with the Memphis City Schools system Tuesday, Aug. 2, that almost guarantees the MCS school year will begin on Aug. 8 on schedule.

MCS superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash told council members he was “appreciative” and said the approval was a “tremendous relief” to teachers and parents wondering if school would start on time.

67. Schools Funding Compromise Must Overcome Distrust -

The city of Memphis and the Memphis City Schools system have some time – but not a lot – to see if a very tentative school funding compromise can grow roots.

But downtime has never been the friend of either side in the three-year dispute that began when the then-newly elected council cut funding to MCS in April 2008.

68. Redistricting Comes Just in Time for Filing Deadline -

Contenders for the 13 seats on the Memphis City Council got some certainty this week with council approval of the new set of district lines for the body.

And it could make the noon Thursday, July 21, qualifying deadline something that hasn’t been seen in many election cycles – a deadline with some last-minute candidates and plenty of politicos watching the last-minute developments.

69. MCS-City Council Talk Money At 4 PM -

As Memphis City Council members and Memphis City Schools board members prepare to talk for the first time since the school board voted to possibly delay the Aug. 8 start of the school year, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has offered to put $10 million in city funding on the table.

70. MCS Board Votes To Delay Aug. 8 School Start -

The stakes got higher Tuesday evening, July 19, in the funding dispute between the city of Memphis and the Memphis City Schools system.

MCS board members voted 8-1 Tuesday to delay the Aug. 8 start of the school year until the city pays a disputed amount of money the school system says the city owes for the fiscal year that began July 1.

71. Council Approves Redistricting Plan -

Memphis City Council members approved a redistricting plan for the council just two days before the filing deadline for the Oct. 6 city elections.

All 13 city council seats are on the ballot as well as citywide races for Memphis Mayor, City Court Clerk and the three city court judges.

72. Council Plans Vote on New District Lines -

Memphis City Council members are under a tight deadline as they meet Tuesday, July 19, to approve a new set of district lines for the council districts they represent.

The vote on third and final reading of the ordinance is just two days before the filing deadline for candidates on the Oct. 6 ballot, which will include races for all 13 council seats.

73. Redrawn Lines Affect Council Contenders -

Mud Island has become a kind of safe harbor for candidates hoping to make it onto the Memphis City Council in the Oct. 6 city elections.

With Mud Island apparently still safely within council District 7, University of Memphis law school professor Lee A. Harris pulled his qualifying petition this week for the only council seat with no incumbent seeking re-election. He’s one of three citizens weighing the district race with Mud Island addresses.

74. Six Council Contenders In New Districts Under Redistrict Plan -

A detailed examination of the proposed redistricting plan for the Memphis City Council by The Daily News shows six prospective council candidates would be drawn out of districts they are considering running in for the Oct. 6 elections.

75. Council One Step Closer to New District Lines -

On the hottest weekend of the summer so far, candidates looking for votes in the October city elections had some uncertainty to go with the door hangers and other parts of the hand-to-hand campaign process.

76. Council Redistrict Proposal Shakes Up Dists. 1 And 7 - Memphis City Council members have a redistricting proposal that would change council districts 1 and 7 the most.

The redistricting proposal required by the once a decade census was submitted Friday evening, July 8, by council attorney Allan Wade.

77. Council to Fill Seat July 22 -

The Memphis City Council will meet in special session July 22 to appoint someone to fill the vacancy created by the resignation last month of District 7 council member Barbara Swearengen Ware.

78. Council Races Slow to Develop -

Only two weeks remain before the qualifying deadline for candidates on the Oct. 6 Memphis election ballot, but there aren’t very many names on the ballot so far – just 13.

Yet there are many more qualifying petitions still making the rounds in several city council districts.

79. Consolidation Case Deadline Arrives -

It’s been briefed several times over, unsuccessfully mediated three times and adorned with a fresh supply of depositions.

And Thursday, June 30, is the deadline for all of the material all of the sides in the schools consolidation case want U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays to consider in making a decision.

80. Pieces of the Puzzle -

Memphis City Council members left the city property tax rate at $3.19 Tuesday, June 21, as they ended their budget season.

But they added 18 cents to the tax rate on a one time basis with a separate resolution.

81. Council Approves ‘Right-Sizing’ Budget, Tax Hike -

While the Memphis City Council left the city property tax rate at $3.19 as it ended the budget season Tuesday, June 21, it added 18 cents to the tax rate on a one-time basis with a separate resolution.

82. Mays Rules Council Attorney to Depose State Education Official -

The schools consolidation lawsuit will not go to trial.

Federal Judge Hardy Mays has denied a motion made by attorneys for the Memphis City Council as a Wednesday, June 22, deadline for discovery in the case nears.

83. Key Schools Players May Seek Full Trial -

Three of the key players in the schools consolidation lawsuit say they want a full trial on the dispute instead of an expedited ruling if they can’t depose a state education official on a key point in the lawsuit.

84. Sides In Schools Consolidation Lawsuit Argue Over Depositions -

Three of the key players in the schools consolidation lawsuit say they want a full trial on the dispute instead of an expedited ruling if they can’t depose a state education official on a key point in the lawsuit.

85. District Lines Up in Air as Races Near -

The fields for the 13 Memphis City Council races on the October ballot are forming ever so tentatively with about six weeks to the filing deadline.

And the tentativeness is partially a result of the uncertainty about where the council district lines will fall.

86. City Council Redistricting Close To Filing Deadline -

The Memphis City Council won’t vote on setting the new council district lines until two days before the July 21 filing deadline for candidates in the October city elections.

The elections include all 13 City Council seats with all 12 of the active council members expected to seek re-election. The 13th council member, Barbara Swearengen Ware, is suspended from any council duties following her indictment last year on an official misconduct charge. Ware hasn’t indicated if she will seek re-election.

87. School Consolidation Attorneys Meet Friday -

All sides in the schools consolidation lawsuit meet in Memphis federal court Friday to work out a quicker resolution of the lawsuit filed in February.

The scheduling conference before U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays comes a week after Mays heard a day and a half of oral arguments from all sides.

88. Patterson Named Shareholder At Baker Donelson -

Lori Patterson’s career has come full circle. Fresh out of law school in 1997, Patterson began a clerkship with federal appeals court Judge John C. Godbold. In 1999, she settled in at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, where she was mentored by influential professionals in her field.

89. Schools Consolidation Case Hearing Goes Into Second Day -

With a day of coutroom give and take with attorneys representing six sides in the schools consolidation case, U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays has begun laying the groundwork for a decision on the federal lawsuit that will determine what a consolidated Shelby County school system looks like.

90. Mays Gets Involved In Schools Mediation -

All sides in the schools consolidation lawsuit are back before federal court Judge Hardy Mays Tuesday morning.

And Mays will try to do what both mayors and a court-appointed mediator have been unable to do.

91. Budget Decisions to Yield ‘Good’ or ‘Tough’ Year -

Several Memphis City Council members will propose ideas to raise city revenues in place of city layoffs and service cutbacks in the new budget year.

The outlines of the coming proposals surfaced on the opening day Monday of hearings by the council’s budget committee.

92. Judge to Hear School Board Appointment Arguments -

Federal Judge Hardy Mays could make his first decision Monday in the schools consolidation lawsuit. Mays is specifically hearing motions seeking a court order to block the Shelby County Commission from appointing a countywide school board for now until the full case is decided.

93. High-Profile District Court Judge Lets Lighter Side Show -

Complicated, high-profile cases that frequently carry far-reaching significance have a knack for winding up in the lap of U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays.

The most recent hot potato to be launched his way is the messy legal fracas stemming from the Memphis City Schools’ surrender of its charter in December. A court hearing before Mays appears set for Monday on the future of an appointed countywide school board.

94. City, Council Join in Schools Legal Wrangling -

There may be a few more legal moves to come.

But by the end of last week, all of the critical moves had been made to get the schools consolidation issue in front of a federal judge.

The city of Memphis and Memphis City Council filed in U.S. District Court Thursday to join the legal battle over schools consolidation.

95. City and Council Challenge Norris-Todd Schools Law In Court -

The city of Memphis and Memphis City Council have now acted in court to join the legal battle over schools consolidation.

Late Thursday, Assistant City Attorney Philip Oliphant filed the city’s response to the Feb. 11 lawsuit filed against the city and others in Memphis federal court by the Shelby County school system.

96. Lighting the Fuse -

Memphis voters have 22 words to weigh as they decide what is to become of Shelby County’s two public school systems.
“Shall the administration of the Memphis City School System, a special school district, be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education?”
The words seem inadequate to cover what a “yes” or a “no” vote means after a state law and other factors changed the terms of a vote already scheduled for March 8.
Voters for schools consolidation may be against special schools district status but for letting some of the six suburban towns and cities try to go with their own municipal school system.
Voters may be against school consolidation and against special school district status if it includes taxing authority for the county school board, albeit with tax approval required by the Tennessee Legislature.
Some voters may see it as a way of ending reforms driven by MCS superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. Others may see it as a way of ending Shelby County Schools board chairman David Pickler’s dominance of that school system.
School consolidation advocates are still urging citizens to vote “yes” and school consolidation opponents are still urging citizens to vote “no.”
“The lay of the land has changed, so will people consider the lay of the land or what? That statement stands. It’s on the ballot and everyone knows what it’s designed to do,” said Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery. “This occurred after the question was put on the ballot. If someone wants to make that stretch, they’re jumping over a lot of hurdles. This was not in place when this was put on the ballot.”
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., along with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, sought a transition period even as political positions began to harden. He doesn’t see what’s in the law as a transition period.
“The way it’s structured, there’s every incentive not to reach an agreement. It looks to me like it falls off the face of the earth,” Wharton said. “There was nothing in there that states where do you go if at the end of this (the planning process) there is nothing resolved.”
State Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, disagrees.
“The state has a compelling interest in assuring that the administration of schools is properly discharged,” Norris wrote in an op-ed piece for The Memphis News last week. “To do otherwise defies common sense and common decency.”
Pickler said if voters approve the question, he will quickly move to assemble a team to work on the transition. It’s a transition that Pickler has always emphasized will be controlled by the county school system. That is one point on which the attorneys seem to agree.
“Clearly we understand that this issue is not about educational outcomes,” he said during a WKNO forum last week. “We still do not believe that creating a mega district … doesn’t do anything to improve education.”
MCS board member Tomeka Hart, at the same forum, countered “We do here as an economic issue,” a reference to the University of Memphis study showing special schools district status could cost MCS half of the county property tax base it relies on for funding. “It’s time to rewrite all of this,” Hart concluded.
Here is the timeline – to date – of the ongoing schools showdown:

97. Haslam In Memphis After Signing Schools Consolidation Bill -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is in Memphis Monday for the announcement that Mitsubishi will be building a plant at Rivergate Industrial Port.

But before he leaves town, Haslam will be asked multiple times, privately and publicly, about his decision to sign the schools consolidation bill as the weekend began.

98. Next Schools Step Murky After Thursday Vote -

In the Tennessee General Assembly, everything comes down to votes sooner or later.

And whether it’s sooner or later depends on how long the debate takes.

The votes appear to be there Thursday in the state House to send the legislation to the still uncluttered desk of new governor Bill Haslam.

99. Council Delays Schools Vote as Wharton and Haslam Talk -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told Memphis City Council members Thursday that he and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam have been talking about some more changes in the state legislation that would lengthen the schools consolidation process to three years.

100. MCS Board Meets, Norris Waits -

State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville defended his bill redefining the terms of school consolidation during his time in Memphis over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.