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Editorial Results (free)

1. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

2. Beale Street Music Festival Lineup Announced -

The bill for the three-day Memphis in May Beale Street Music this year features a new night of late night dance music from a stage in Tom Lee Park and a 69-act lineup in which Memphis artists are nearly a third of the diverse set of performers.

3. City Attorney Morris Recognized for Service -

City attorney Herman Morris Jr. is the 2013 recipient of the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Joseph I. Mulligan Jr. Distinguished Public Service Award, which recognizes a local government attorney for achievements in local government law.

4. City Attorney Morris Recognized for Service -

City attorney Herman Morris Jr. is the 2013 recipient of the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Joseph I. Mulligan Jr. Distinguished Public Service Award, which recognizes a local government attorney for achievements in local government law.

5. Complaint Alleges Bank of America Discrimination -

Bank of America allegedly discriminated against minority neighborhoods and property owners in Memphis in the way it handled bank-owned properties, according to an amended complaint filed with the federal government.

6. First No-Gang Zone Sets Up in Riverside -

The city and Memphis police began serving alleged gang members Monday with the city’s first try at establishing a no-gang safety zone in the Riverside area of southwest Memphis.

The first area with the designation in Memphis is bordered by South Parkway East to the north, West Mallory Street on the south, U.S. 55 on the west and Florida Street on the east.

7. Beale Street Future Returns to Bankruptcy Court -

The future path of Beale Street development is back in federal bankruptcy court after a plan that would both lease Handy Park and pay off a $600,000 loan for park improvements was scrapped Tuesday, Sept. 17, by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

8. Wharton Scraps Handy Park Lease -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. scrapped a proposed lease of Handy Park in the Beale Street entertainment district Tuesday, Sept. 17, that would have settled the federal bankruptcy case involving control of the district.

9. City Council Considers Tax Incentive Changes -

Memphis City Council members will be parsing contract terms and clauses during a busy Tuesday, Sept. 13, set of committee meetings and the afternoon voting meeting of the full council.

They review a lease agreement for Handy Park in the Beale Street entertainment district and revisit a new solid waste plan agreed to by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration and the union representing sanitation workers.

10. Council Gives Early Approval to Solid Waste Fee -

The Memphis City Council sent a proposed lease of Handy Park on Beale Street back to committee Tuesday, Sept. 3, for more discussion about the details.

And the council approved on the first of three readings a restoration of the city’s solid waste fee to $25.05 a month. But there were conflicting explanations about which part of an overhaul of sanitation services the restoration of the fee is supposed to fund.

11. Council Approves Solid Waste Fee, Delays Vote On Handy Park Lease -

The Memphis City Council sent a proposed lease of Handy Park on Beale Street back to committee Tuesday, Sept. 3, for more discussion about the details.

And the council approved on the first of three readings a restoration of the city’s solid waste fee to $25.05 a month. But there were conflicting explanations about which part of an overhaul of sanitation services the restoration of the fee is supposed to be aimed at.

12. Handy Park Lease Latest Stage in Beale Endgame -

The city of Memphis has a tentative lease of Handy Park with a group that includes some current tenants of the Beale Street entertainment district.

And the pending agreement would resolve one of the final issues in the city’s relationship with John Elkington, the developer of the district and founder of Performa Entertainment.

13. 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.

14. The New Beale -

Over the last four years, the next chapter in the development of Beale Street has been a stop-and-go affair. First would come announcements followed by silence from official channels.

Along with that silence, though, was quiet activity on the side, a movement that culminated with the March announcement of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s strategic planning committee’s report, “A Framework for Beale Street.”

15. Permit Approved for Planned Klan Rally in Memphis -

MEMPHIS (AP) – A Ku Klux Klan chapter has been granted a demonstration permit to protest the renaming of three Memphis parks that honored the Confederacy and two of its most prominent figures.

16. Election Commission Still at Odds Over Errors -

At one point during the Wednesday, Feb. 20, meeting of the Shelby County Election Commission, chairman Robert Meyers interrupted a detailed and lengthy lecture by election commissioner George Monger by saying, “I object to the leading question.”

17. Shelby County Election Commission Keeps Holden -

For the second time since August, Shelby County Election Commissioners considered a motion by a Democratic election commissioners asking for the resignation of Election Administrator Richard Holden and for the second time voted down the motion in a party- line vote carried by the three-member Republican majority.

18. Beale Bankruptcy Terms Nearly Done -

A federal bankruptcy court judge has adopted a settlement on the bankruptcy case involving control of the Beale Street Entertainment District.

But all sides in the legal action will be reading the fine print of the coming written court order carefully as one part of the long-running legal drama over the storied district nears an end.

19. Public Relations Society Honors Duncan Williams -

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has named Duncan F. Williams, president of Duncan-Williams Inc., as its 2013 Communicator of The Year.

20. Public Relations Society Names Duncan Williams 'Communicator of the Year' -

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has named Duncan F. Williams, president of Duncan-Williams Inc., as its 2013 Communicator of The Year.

21. Council Approves Property Tax Collection Merger -

Timing did what decades of offers and counter-offers couldn’t do when it came to changing who collects current and delinquent property taxes for Memphis.

The City Council approved Tuesday, Dec. 18, an interlocal agreement for Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir to collect property taxes for the city.

22. Council Approves City Tax Collections By Trustee -

The Shelby County Trustee’s office will collect property taxes for the city of Memphis under an interlocal agreement approved Tuesday, Dec. 18, by the Memphis City Council.

The agreement negotiated between Trustee David Lenoir and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. comes after several decades of attempts on both sides of the city-county governments divide at such an arrangement.

23. County’s Early Vote Total: 38.9 Percent -

Nearly 40 percent of Shelby County’s 598,803 voters cast ballots during the early voting period that ended Thursday, Nov. 1.

But the 232,690 early voters – which accounts for 38.9 percent of the total number of registered voters – is fewer than four years ago when 254,362 early votes were cast.

24. Judge’s Ruling Moves Beale’s Future Forward -

For at least a year, a box containing copies of a report on the future of Beale Street has been in storage awaiting a settlement of the two levels of court disputes for control of the entertainment district.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. Appeals Court Rules on Employee Lawsuit -

A federal appeals court has reversed part of a decision to dismiss a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the city of Memphis by the city’s former public records coordinator.

Bridgett Handy-Clay sued the city for being fired in August 2010 after she filed an open records request for the payroll, leave and personnel files of employees in the city attorney’s office, including then-City Attorney Herman Morris.

28. 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.

29. 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.

30. Election Commission Admits Ballot Problems -

Challenges to the conduct of the Aug. 2 election may have reached a peak Tuesday, July 24.

The Shelby County Election Commission admitted a “limited number” of voters in some precincts got early voting ballots that included the wrong district races.

31. City Voter ID Suit Alleges Voter Turned Away Twice -

The city of Memphis wants a Nashville federal judge to order the state to accept photo library cards issued by the city since last month as a valid form of voting identification.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday, July 24, was expected.

32. Beale Street Blues -

Last September, a working group appointed by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. completed its work on recommendations for the future of Beale Street.

The report has been printed and boxed up – but it won’t be released until a judge settles the federal bankruptcy case embroiling the entertainment district.

33. Challenge of Voter ID Law Comes Into Focus -

The way to a court challenge of Tennessee’s voter identification law from Memphis takes a few twists and turns away from the polling place.

And while Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. as well as several attorneys outside City Hall say they are ready to make the challenge, it will depend on who is willing to not have their vote counted in the Aug. 2 elections after they present a Memphis library card as photo ID to election officials.

34. GOP Leaders Brace for Possible Voter Problems -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican leaders say they expect some problems may arise from recent changes in electoral procedures when early voting starts Friday in Tennessee, but they hope to have the wrinkles ironed out by the general election in November.

35. Polls Set to Open for Early Voting -

Shelby County voters start deciding Friday, July 13, general election countywide races for assessor of property, General Sessions Court clerk, district attorney general and a race for a Shelby County Commission seat. The ballot also includes seven races for district seats on the countywide school board.

36. Library Cards at Root of Voter ID Challenge -

New Memphis library cards that include a photo have become a challenge to the new state law requiring certain state-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The Memphis library system unveiled the move to the photo library cards last week with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. saying the new library cards could be used to vote starting with the upcoming Aug. 2 elections. Early voting begins Friday, July 13.

37. City Says Library Photo Cards Should Stand For Election ID -

New Memphis library cards that include a photo have become a challenge to the new state law requiring certain state-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The Memphis library system unveiled the move to the photo library cards last week with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. saying the new library cards could be used to vote starting with the upcoming Aug. 2 elections. Early voting begins Friday, July 13.

38. Trustee Pitches Tax Collection to City -

Bob Patterson, the county official known for his felt hats and folksy charm, repeatedly gave it a try.

After he died in 2008, Paul Mattila picked up the attempts where Patterson left off. So did Regina Morrison Newman, who replaced Mattila when he died in 2009.

39. Overton Park Conservancy Delivers Tentative Plan -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and City Attorney Herman Morris are examining a tentative management agreement for an Overton Park Conservancy to run the Midtown landmark that would remain under city of Memphis ownership.

40. Overton Park Conservancy Delivers Tentative Plan -

The private group seeking to establish an Overton Park conservancy similar to the organizations that oversee Shelby Farms Park and the Memphis Zoo has sent a tentative management agreement to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

41. Overton Park Conservancy Delivers Tentative Plan -

The private group seeking to establish an Overton Park conservancy similar to the organizations that oversee Shelby Farms Park and the Memphis Zoo has sent a tentative management agreement to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

42. 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.

43. Budget Redux -

Every July 1, the city’s budget deliberations are supposed to be over and the fiscal year should be under way.

Even when that happens, which is most of the time, there is an understanding that the budget is a plan that may change because of conditions that cause Memphis to spend more than it planned or for revenues to fluctuate. But items like how much to pay city employees are always set in stone. Except this year.

44. City Council Delays Decision on Labor Impasse -

The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday, July 19, to delay any decision on an already declared impasse between the city and the Memphis Firefighters Association.

City Attorney Herman Morris advised the council to delay an impasse decision and any discussion of one because of a federal lawsuit filed by the union and a dozen other municipal unions this month claiming the city has violated the impasse procedure by seeking a 4.6 percent pay cut and a voluntary buyout plan for sanitation workers. Union leaders said the pending impasse is separate from the lawsuit but agreed to the delay.

45. 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.

46. 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.

47. 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.

48. Handy-Clay Re-Files Job Dismissal Lawsuit -

The former public records coordinator for the city of Memphis is still challenging in court her dismissal from the job late last year.

Bridgett Handy-Clay has filed a lawsuit against the city in Shelby County Circuit Court, and she’s appealing U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson’s dismissal of the federal lawsuit she filed over the same matter in December.

49. Handy-Clay Appeals Lawsuit Dismissed -

Bridgett Handy-Clay, the city’s former public records coordinator, is appealing to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge in Memphis dismissed a suit she filed claiming wrongful termination.

50. Mum’s the Word on Wharton’s Involvement in Schools -

If there will be talks to settle the schools consolidation lawsuit out of court, they will probably be conducted out of the public spotlight as much as possible and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. probably will be the circumspect moderator.

51. School Parties Agree to Begin Talks -

All of the sides in the schools consolidation lawsuit have agreed to begin talks to resolve the lawsuit and possibly set new terms for the consolidation of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

52. School Consolidation Parties Agree to Begin Talks -

All of the sides in the schools consolidation lawsuit have agreed to begin talks to resolve the lawsuit and possibly set new terms for the consolidation of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

53. Schools Merger Expert Urges Less Panic More Transition Planning -

The Nashville attorney considered an expert on school system consolidations in the state told the Shelby County school board Thursday to get ready for an unprecedented transition to merging with Memphis City Schools (MCS), work with MCS officials and expect the transition to take at least a year and a half.

54. No Election Date Yet For MCS Charter Surrender -

The Shelby County Election Commission met Wednesday and adjourned minutes later without putting the Memphis City Schools (MCS) charter surrender on a special election ballot.

The five-member body refused based on a legal opinion from Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins delivered an hour before the meeting. The opinion says the Memphis City Council must approve having the referendum before the item can go on the ballot.

55. Ex-Public Records Coordinator Sues City of Memphis -

Attorney Carol Chumney, a former Memphis City councilwoman, has filed a 20-page federal lawsuit on behalf of Bridgett Handy-Clay, the city’s former public records coordinator who was fired earlier this year after requesting payroll and other records relating to her supervisor and other employees in the city attorney’s office.

56. Daisy Déjà Vu -

The head of the Beale Street Development Corp. (BSDC) plans to open the Old Daisy Theater on Beale Street in February as an interpretive center on the history of the entertainment district.

57. Lott Residency Questions Linger After Confirmation -

Martha Lott begins serving Friday as head of the city’s General Services Division. But how long she will remain in the post is an open question.

58. Beale Street Chaos -

Four months after Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. announced the city was settling a Chancery Court fight over control of Beale Street with Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., Performa is in control of the daily business of the entertainment district.

59. Mayoral Bid Awakens Ford Political Machine -

Since the late 1970s, the Ford family, as a political organization, has had an interest in either the Memphis or Shelby County mayor’s office. In 1978, John Ford declared he was running for county mayor but then withdrew from the race. Five years later, he ran for city mayor.

60. Controversy Remains Around City, Performa Settlement -

Memphis City Council members critical of the Beale Street court settlement say the Wharton administration was too generous after the city publicly alleged Performa Entertainment founder John Elkington owed the city millions of dollars.

61. Bass Pro’s CEO To Meet With Wharton -

Bass Pro Shops CEO Jim Hagale is due in Memphis Friday.

Hagale’s name turned up on Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s list of public meetings and appearances for this week.

Hagale is scheduled to meet with Wharton as well as City Attorney Herman Morris.

62. Wharton Administration Probes Linebarger Arrangement -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration is taking a hard look at the city’s controversial arrangement with a Texas law firm that prods tardy city taxpayers to pay up.

The city’s relationship with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP, which began with a no-bid contract from former Mayor Willie Herenton in 2004, has already generated two lawsuits this year. The suits claim taxpayers are getting fleeced by the firm’s alleged habit of billing exorbitant fees for its work.

63. Wharton Ditches Three Division Directors, Retains Others -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. firmed up most of his division directors Tuesday.

He moved to reappoint seven division directors and notified three others they will not be reappointed in a possible realignment of their divisions.

64. One Claim Dismissed For Lee, Others Linger -

A judge has dismissed claims filed this summer by a private citizen against the former president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and two of his attorneys.

That ruling sets the stage for one more unusual turn of events in what’s been a sometimes bitter court fight over a legal settlement the city of Memphis paid this summer to former MLGW head Joseph Lee.

65. Charter Commission Prepares for Nine-Month Mission -

The 15 members of the Metro Charter Commission will need some time to get organized before they wade into the details of what a consolidated local government should look like.

The group met for the first time Tuesday in the “historic courtroom” of the Shelby County Courthouse, a third-floor courtroom restored to its original early 20th-century appearance including a rubber-tiled floor.

66. A City in Transition -

Just before sunrise on a rainy Tuesday morning, the armed officers raided the city office. They didn’t make any arrests, but they took files, interviewed employees and served search warrants. And they temporarily closed the Memphis Animal Shelter.

67. Collins: Council Should Be Active Partner in City Business -

Harold Collins is the chairman of the Memphis City Council, assuming the post as Myron Lowery became interim city mayor July 31.
Collins remains the chairman as Lowery returns to the council following the election of A C Wharton Jr. as mayor earlier this month. Like 10 of the 13 City Council members, Collins is about halfway through his first four-year term on the body.
We talked with Collins about the council’s role in the transition from Willie Herenton’s leadership to A C Wharton Jr.’s.

68. Chaotic Council Welcomes Wharton To ‘Land of Fire’ -

Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr. got an early welcome to the ways of City Hall in the week before he took the oath of office.

It came from the City Council he will serve with for the next two years.

69. Morris Confirmed As City Atty. -

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney.

And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

-Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.

-Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

-Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.

-Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

-Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.

-Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.

-Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

70. Wharton Picks Morris for City Attorney Post -  

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council Tuesday approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney. And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

  • Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.
  • Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

  • Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.
  • Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.
  • Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.
  • Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

71. City Mayoral Transition Yields Crowded To-Do List -  

Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr. will be appointing a new city attorney once he takes office next week.

Elbert Jefferson, the city attorney Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery tried to fire just minutes after taking the oath of office on July 31, Friday sent a second resignation letter to Lowery. The two met for an hour Sunday evening at City Hall and Lowery accepted Jefferson’s resignation.

Jefferson’s attorney, Ted Hansom, and city Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons were also present. Jefferson turned in his key card, the keys to his city car and his laptop.

“The drama is over,” Lowery said Monday. “For my part, I wish it had never happened.”

Dramatis personae

In a resignation letter last week to Wharton, Jefferson had expressed hope that he would be hired for some position in the new administration. Over the weekend, he used the same text in the new letter but addressed it to Lowery instead. He requested the city pay his legal fees as well.

The resignation letter to Lowery made moot an ouster suit filed by Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons. Criminal Court Judge James Lammey, who was to hear the case, reset a final report to Oct. 27, citing Jefferson’s departure.

“A hearing on the issue of suspension would be an inefficient use of judicial resources, of the state of Tennessee and of the resources of the city of Memphis, and considering (Jefferson’s) current health status, would be an unnecessary tax on (Jefferson’s) well-being and a possible threat to his health,” Lammey wrote in the court order.

Jefferson was scheduled to return to City Hall from sick leave Monday. He apparently believed the new mayor would be in office by the time he returned.

An audit of city financial affairs is standard procedure in a change of administrations. Wharton is naming team members to review the offices of the city attorney, human resources and finance and administration. He was also to name members of his transition team Monday.

Time-, battle-tested

Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter and Methodist Healthcare executive Cato Johnson will head the team.

The other members are:

- Herman Morris, attorney and 2007 candidate for Memphis Mayor.

- Tomeka Hart, Memphis Urban League CEO and Memphis school board member.

- Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis City Council member.

- Rev. Dwight Montgomery, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Memphis chapter President.

- Jose Velasquez, Latino Memphis former executive director.

- Nisha Powers, Powers Hill Design Inc. President.

- Paul Morris, attorney and former chairman Center City Commission.

- Douglas Scarboro, The Leadership Academy vice president.

- Steve Reynolds, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. CEO.

- Diane Rudner, Plough Foundation chairman.

- Darrell Cobbins, Universal Commercial CEO.

Johnson has more experience serving on such task forces and ad hoc committees than any other leader in the city’s corporate community. Most recently, Johnson was one of two business leaders on the ad hoc committee exploring single-source local funding for education. He also served as a leader of the Mid-South Fairgrounds renovation committee and has been involved in similar capacities with every major construction project for a civic use in the past 15 years.

Carpenter’s appointment is certain to fuel speculation that he might be tapped for some role in the new administration. However, Carpenter has already been holding fundraisers in anticipation of a bid for re-election to his commission seat in the 2010 county elections.

Wharton is tentatively scheduled to take the oath of office Oct. 26.

The Shelby County Commission also meets that same day and could receive Wharton’s resignation and declare a vacancy in the county mayor’s office with a vote to appoint Wharton’s successor-to-come in November. Until that vote, County Commission Chairwoman Joyce Avery will serve as interim mayor.

“It will be a day in which I come to work at one place and leave work from another place,” Wharton told The Daily News.

But the Shelby County Election Commission will meet earlier than expected -- Thursday afternoon -- to certify the Oct. 15 election results. Once the results are certified, Wharton is free to resign as Shelby County mayor and take the oath as Memphis mayor.

Cooperative efforts

Meanwhile, Wharton has asked City Council Chairman Harold Collins to consider delaying a council vote today on the five appointees the city mayor is to make to a metro charter commission. The council set today’s vote with the intention of having whomever won the Oct. 15 special election appoint members of the panel.

“I won’t be there on the 20th. … I’m seeing if they are in a position to put it off until I’m actually over there,” Wharton told The Daily News, as he has had attorneys researching if a council vote in November would meet timelines for such an effort set out in state law.

“I believe that they may be able to meet on Nov. 3,” Wharton said.

Wharton has already named the 10 appointees to be made by the Shelby County mayor to the panel. The County Commission approved all 10 earlier this month.

While it appears he will make the other five, Wharton said he will ask the council, through Collins, to effectively pick the five nominees, whom Wharton would then send to the council as his appointees.

“I chose all 10 over here, which I had to do by law. If I could find some way around it that passed legal muster, then I would do that,” he said. “But we’ve researched it and I know of no way in which the city mayor can say … ‘I’m not going to do that.’ You can’t transfer it.”

Wharton and Lowery were to discuss the matter at a meeting Monday afternoon. Lowery told The Daily News he had received no suggested appointees from council members, but would be willing to submit names the council wants on the charter commission.

...

72. Update: Wharton Names Transition Team -  

Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr. has named eleven more people to his transition team.

Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter and Methodist Healthcare executive Cato Johnson will chair the group. The others include:

- Herman Morris, attorney, former president of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and 2007 Memphis mayoral candidate;

- The Rev. Dwight Montgomery, president of the Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference;

- Nisha Powers, president of Powers Hill Design Inc.;

- Tomeka Hart, Memphis school board member and Memphis Urban League president and CEO;

- Darrell Cobbins, Universal Commercial President and CEO;

- Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis City Councilmember;

- Jose Velasquez, Latino Memphis’ former executive director.

- Paul Morris, attorney and former chairman Center City Commission.

- Diane Rudner, Poplar Foundation chairman.

- Steve Reynolds, Baptist Memorial Health Care President & CEO.

- Douglas Scarboro, The Leadership Academy vice president.

In other transition developments, the Shelby County Election Commission will meet Thursday afternoon to certify the results of the Oct. 15 special mayoral election.

The meeting is earlier than Wharton had expected. Once the results are certified, Wharton can resign his post as Shelby County mayor at any point and take the oath of office at City Hall. The Shelby County Commission will then declare a vacancy in the county mayor’s office and commission chairwoman Joyce Avery will become acting mayor until the commission appoints someone to serve the year remaining in Wharton’s county term of office.

...

73. Carpenter, Chumney Intensify Efforts To Become Memphis Mayor -

Two years ago, it was Charles Carpenter’s job to be nervous.

He was managing Mayor Willie Herenton’s fifth mayoral campaign and Herenton believed he was coasting to victory over two challengers.

74. Life After City Hall: The story behind Herenton’s Washington surprise -

You would think that Mayor Willie Herenton’s “resignation” last spring as he thought about trying out for Memphis City Schools superintendent would be difficult to top.

75. Herenton Moves Ahead With 'Doctoral Thesis' On Schools -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton served notice last week that he is putting a lot of work and political capital into his coming plan for changing the Memphis City Schools.

Herenton made a lengthy speech and answered questions in City Council chambers Thursday before about 60 members of a Leadership Memphis class. He begged off any specifics of the plan that he will present May 6 to the City Council. The plan could resolve lingering questions about whether Herenton will leave City Hall before the end of his term in 2012.

76. Take Back! Mayoral Resignation Saga Marches On -

Less than a week after he said he was going to give up the office of mayor in July, Willie Herenton has taken back what originally seemed to be a simple but stunning plan to leave the mayor's office with plenty of notice.

77. Herenton Wants To Close Nine Buildings -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton knows his proposal to close five libraries and four community centers on the first of July won't be popular with some citizens.

That has rarely been a barrier before in his 16, going on 17, years in office.

78. Bowers Receives 16-Month Prison Sentence -

She came to federal court on Valentine's Day wearing red - her hair a slightly different shade of red than her jacket. Some of her supporters wore red as well and carried homemade signs with hearts on them.

79. Morris, Chumney Reinvent Themselves in Private Sector -

She's now teaching a class on political leadership at the University of Memphis, throwing herself back into her law practice and, in her free time, learning how to swing dance. He's building up a law practice of his own, traveling frequently on business and spending more time with his family.

80. Obama, Huckabee Dominate Shelby in Tenn. Primaries -

The presidential primary season came to a rain-soaked and stormy end Tuesday evening in Memphis even as some voters were still showing up at the polls.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County in Tuesday's Tennessee presidential primaries in which 24 percent of Shelby County's 611,000 registered voters cast ballots.

81. Obama, Huckabee Carry Shelby In Tn Primary -

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County in Tuesday’s Tennessee presidential primaries.

Huckabee went on to win statewide in the GOP contest while New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the statewide Democratic primary.

82. Conaway BrownCloses Down -      Local ad agency Conaway Brown Inc. has decided to close its doors. The agency, which has an office at 88 Union Ave., will close Oct. 31 when its lease expires, according to a Tuesday article in The Commercial Appeal. 83. Fifth Term Secured, Herenton Looks To Future Agenda -

This is the first week of the rest of Willie Herenton's political life.

Herenton, who was re-elected as Memphis mayor for an unprecedented fifth term Thursday, won't take the oath of office until January. But he began signaling during the final days of the campaign that a fifth term would see a renewed emphasis on past goals he has not pursued with much vigor in recent years.

84. Power to the People -

Early voting has set a record for city elections.

A little more than 74,000 voters cast early ballots in 15 locations over the 14-day early voting period in advance of Thursday's city election. It ended Saturday afternoon. The total is 16.2 percent of the city's registered voters.

85. Former Top CopEndorses Morris -      Mayoral candidate Herman Morris Jr., the former head of Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division, has picked up a prominent endorsement.
     James Bolden, the city's top cop before he was fired b

86. Gloves On, Gloves Off -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has run for the same elected office five times.

He's won four and he'll know about the fifth try one week from today.

Herenton said he'll be glad when the week is over. He's been on a charm offensive for about the last month, which has included submitting to a series of one-on-one television interviews that have replaced the home-stretch candidates forums of past election seasons.

87. Herman Morris Proposes Green Use for The Pyramid -      It's one of the most prominent "big empties" in Memphis, but instead of the Bass Pro Shops mega-store that's been proposed for it, one current mayoral candidate has something different in mind for The Pyramid arena.

88. Events -

The American Society for Training and Development will host a one-day conference for learning and networking today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Memphis hotel, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Cost to attend is $30. Visit www.astdmemphis.org for more information.

89. Suit Filed to Stop Tonight's Mayoral Debate -      Much of the chatter among political observers over absentees from this election season's round of public mayoral debates has to do with incumbent Willie Herenton, who has by and large been a no-show for most of them.
90. Events -

The Institute of Management Accountants - Memphis Chapter will hold its monthly Technical Session today at 11:45 a.m. in the Medallion Restaurant in the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. The event is $20. For reservations or more information, visit www.imamemphis.org.

91. Mayoral Candidates Put Efforts Into Early Vote -

If rain is the enemy of election day turnouts then a sunny late summer day might be the curse of early voting efforts.

Early voting in advance of the Oct. 4 Memphis city elections opened Friday at 15 sites with 4,290 voters showing up. The next day, which saw sunshine and tens of thousands of people jam the Cooper-Young Festival in Midtown, the turnout was less than half that - 2,040 early voters.

92. Events -

The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence will host its "Researching Grant Funding" workshop today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the alliance office, 606 S. Mendenhall Road, Suite 108. The event is $65 for members, $55 for participants in the Alliance's Program for Nonprofit Excellence and $99 for nonmembers. Call Nancy McGee at 684-6605 for more information.

93. Attorneys Seek Separate Trials for Lee and Ford -

The legal team representing former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division head Joseph Lee in his federal bribery case has fired another salvo in defense of their client.

They want Lee and City Council member Edmund Ford to be tried separately.

94. Events -

The Mid-South Area Business Travel Association will host Sherry Fisher at its monthly luncheon today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tower Room, 5100 Poplar Ave. The event is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Fisher will speak on "RBC Travel Protection: Understanding How it Works for You." Visit www.msabta.com for more information.

95. Events -

The Mid-South Real Estate Investors Association Inc. (REIA) will meet today from 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Al Chymia Shrine Temple, 5770 Shelby Oaks Drive. The meeting topics will be "How to be a Successful Landlord" and "Landlord Legal Issues." For more information, including registration, call 458-2600 or e-mail info@midsouthreia.org.

96. Morris ReportsTo Jury Duty -      Memphis mayoral candidate Herman Morris Jr. will take a break from campaigning this week - for jury duty.
     The former president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division will report

97. Chumney Touts 'Change' as Campaign Platform -

Mayoral contender Carol Chumney rallied supporters Sunday in East Memphis with a sustained attack not only on Mayor Willie Herenton, but rival challenger Herman Morris.

The attack comes at a time when all three are settling into fixed identities and messages each hopes will connect with voters over the next month.

98. Herman Morris Campaign Receives Prominent Backing -

The first major endorsement in Memphis' mayoral race by a former or current area mayor is the product of a relationship that stretches back to the 1980s.

At the time, Shelby County's then-mayor Bill Morris had found himself interacting frequently with the chairman of an ad hoc commission that was recommending the county establish a home rule charter. Under that new form of government, the county would have the power to adopt its own ordinances without approval from the state legislature.

99. Evident Throughout Memphis -

Nancy Coffee's imprint can be seen all around town in a number of businesses and government offices.

As the president and CEO of The Leadership Academy, she has helped mold some of the city's top movers and shakers, including Memphis mayoral candidate Herman Morris Jr., UrbanArt Commission executive director Carissa Hussong, City Council member Jack Sammons and Methodist Healthcare president and CEO Gary Shorb.

100. BREAKING NEWS: ‘Draft AC’ Supporters to Now Back Morris - Several figures involved in the “Draft AC” movement that tried to persuade Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton Jr. to run for Memphis city mayor are preparing to throw their support behind another candidate - Herman Morris Jr.