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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. Tennessee Receives Grant for Workforce Development -

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce has announced the United States Department of Labor awarded the state $697,963 for exceeding all performance goals that were set for the state’s workforce development and education activities.

3. Cash Exits At Critical Juncture In Merger -

Countywide school board members approved Thursday, Jan. 10, a severance package that ends Kriner Cash’s tenure as superintendent of Memphis City Schools.

Cash will remain through the end of July as an employee in an advisory capacity. At the end of July he gets six months of regular pay and $17,000 in moving and legal expenses as well as a letter of recommendation from the school system.

4. The Next Steps -

About a half hour before the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays in the municipal school district lawsuit, the chairman of the countywide school board called for his board and the school boards for the six suburban municipal school districts to get together.

5. Support Given to Hire Schools Search Firm -

The countywide school board could start getting information from search firms this week and probably vote on a process for picking a merger superintendent by the end of October.

A committee of countywide school board members and community leaders is recommending that the school board hire a search firm and conduct a national search for the superintendent of the merged school system.

6. School Board Cautioned About Superintendent Search -

At one point in a two-hour presentation and discussion with the countywide school board last week, Mike Casserly of the Council of the Great City Schools warned the board that going with an advisory committee in the search for a superintendent could present problems.

7. School Board to Consider Aitken’s Role in Transition -

Countywide school board members have been known to debate what is on their agenda for as long as an hour or so before moving on to other matters.

That may be the case Tuesday, Aug. 28, when the board picks up where it left off at their work session a week ago.

8. Work Remains for Superintendent Selection Group -

The group trying to come up with a process for selecting a superintendent to lead the merger of Shelby County’s two school systems has a lot of lead work to do in a short time.

The group is likely to have numerous discussions in the coming weeks about what kind of school system that superintendent will be leading. The countywide school board hasn’t yet acted on the set of recommendations from the planning commission that will define the merged school district’s structure and scope.

9. Committee to Disband as Board Considers Next Step -

The countywide school board’s ad hoc committee to review the schools consolidation plan is about to disband without acting on the plan sent to the board by the schools consolidation planning commission.

10. School Board Looks for Consensus -

After effectively ruling out Kriner Cash last week as the leader of the consolidated Shelby County school system, school board members now turn to a decision about how to select that superintendent.

11. School Board Votes Not To Renew Cash's Contract -

The countywide school board voted Tuesday, June 19, not to renew the contract of Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash past August 2013 when it is scheduled to run out.

The 14-8 vote came during two back-to-back school board meetings covering five hours in which the board also agreed to talk more about a process for selecting the superintendent of the consolidated school system to come at a meeting next week.

12. Schools Get Fresh Start With New Board -

The separate Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools boards are no more when the end of September rolls over into October.

And the 23 members of the countywide Shelby County Schools board take the oath of office Monday, Oct. 3 at the MCS auditorium.

13. Cash Says New Contract Solidifies Reform Decision -

For Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash, his two-year contract extension – approved Monday night – is an endorsement of his reform agenda and more time to work on that agenda in a shifting political environment.

14. Cash Says Ballot Question Short On Answers For Voters -

Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash said Monday it’s not clear what voters in the March 8 referendum are deciding.

Cash challenged MCS board members to fill in the blank with sentences beginning with “A yes vote is a vote for –“ and “A no vote is a vote for – “.

15. Many Reasons for Compromise Failure -

The Shelby County school system’s compromise offer to the Memphis City Schools board failed this week for a number of reasons.

Those reasons suggest different motives on the MCS board for supporting a charter surrender and turning over the larger school system to the much smaller county school system.

16. MCS Board Votes Down Schools Standoff Compromise -

The Memphis City Schools (MCS) board voted down a compromise proposal Tuesday from Shelby County School officials.

The 2-7 vote against the compromise sets the stage for the Shelby County Election Commission to meet Wed. and set a date for a March referendum on the MCS charter surrender approved by the board in December.

17. MCS Board To Look At Compromise -

On the day that the Tennessee Election Coordinator caved and told the Shelby County Election Commission to put a Memphis City Schools (MCS) charter surrender on the ballot, the MCS board voted to hold a meeting at some date in the near future to consider a compromise.

18. Mayors Prepare for School Scenarios -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell are working with two assumptions – that there will be a Memphis referendum on surrendering the Memphis City Schools system charter and that it will pass.

19. Lewis Returns to City Schools Board -

The newest face on the nine-member Memphis City Schools board is familiar nevertheless.

It’s been four years since Sara Lewis decided not to seek re-election to the board.

20. Lewis Returns To MCS Board -

Former assistant Memphis school superintendent and city school board member Sara Lewis won a return to the board Tuesday evening in a special runoff election.

21. City School Board Runoff to be Decided Tuesday -

Voters in southwest Memphis have one more election to settle in what has been a busy election year.

Polls in 24 precincts are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to decide the runoff for the District 6 seat on the Memphis City Schools board.

22. School Board Early Voting in Double Digits -

Early voting in advance of the Dec. 7 Election Day has drawn several dozen voters. It is a runoff contest between Sara Lewis and Cherry Davis for the District 6 seat on the Memphis school board.

23. School Board Early Voting Slow -

Early voting in advance of the Dec. 7 runoff election for a Memphis City Schools board seat is so slow that only two citizens cast ballots on the first day of the period last week.

Voters in southwest Memphis are deciding who will represent District 6 on the Memphis Board of Education.

24. Early Voting Under Way in School Board Runoff -

Early voting is under way for Memphis voters in a district race not decided on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Sara Lewis and Cherry Davis face off in the nonpartisan race to decide who will claim the District 6 Memphis City Schools board seat. Incumbent Sharon Webb finished third in her bid for re-election.

25. Split Vote Takes Down Metro Charter Proposal -

The metro consolidation charter won a narrow victory with Memphis voters Tuesday but was crushed by Shelby County voters outside Memphis.

The first consolidation charter to go to voters in 39 years had to win both in Memphis and outside Memphis in order to consolidate the city of Memphis and Shelby County governments.

26. Lewis Listed In Wrong School Board Race -

It wasn’t an Election Day problem. But a candidate on the Nov. 2 ballot has run afoul of more human error at the Shelby County Election Commission.

Sara Lewis turned up in several Election Commission lists as a candidate for the Memphis school board at large seat on the November ballot.

27. Whalum and Webb Draw Challengers In School Board Races -

Memphis school board members Betty Mallott and Martavius Jones were unopposed at Thursday’s filing deadline for the four Memphis school board races on the Nov. 2 ballot. Noon was the deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions in the school board races as well as three sets of municipal elections in Bartlett, Collierville and Germantown.

28. Whalum and Webb Draw Opposition At Filing Deadline -

Memphis school board members Betty Mallott and Martavius Jones were unopposed at Thursday’s filing deadline for the four Memphis school board races on the Nov. 2 ballot, according to a list from the Shelby County Election Commission.

29. Brian Moynihan to Succeed Ken Lewis as BofA CEO -

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) - Bank of America's new CEO says he doesn't expect to lead a major shift in strategy at America's largest bank when he takes over from Ken Lewis on Jan. 1. But with loan losses continuing to mount amid double-digit unemployment rates, it remains to be seen whether investors will embrace staying the course.

30. Youth Jobs Program’s Growth Leads to Pay Problems -

When reporters showed up at City Hall Wednesday, a dry erase board was still on an easel in the mayor’s conference room.

“Gather timesheets for all 334 worksites,” read one line written in red.

31. Citi Boosting Salaries to Offset Lower Bonuses -

NEW YORK (AP) - Citigroup Inc. is increasing the base salaries of many employees – reportedly by as much as 50 percent for some workers – as it restructures their compensation amid government restrictions on bonuses.

32. Teachers Boo Cash About Health Care Decision -

There’s nothing quite like the political force teachers – retired teachers in particular – bring to a discussion.

Memphis City Schools board members and Memphis school superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash are feeling that force as Cash makes several moves to cut the school system’s budget on the way to pitching a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

33. Gov't Looks to Quell Nationalization Fears -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. government on Tuesday sought to quell concerns that the administration is moving toward nationalization of the country's ailing financial system, but said it would provide additional support to banks that do not have an adequate buffer to survive in an even worse economy.

34. Thompson Gets Six Month Jail Sentence -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson was sentenced this evening to six months in prison and fined $10,000 for telling executive of a Jackson, Tn. construction company that he could influence votes on the Memphis school board.

Thompson was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla on one count of mail fraud.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could have been sentenced to 21-27 months in prison.

But the plea deal from Thompson's February guilty plea would have allowed Thompson to withdraw his guilty plea if he was sentenced to more than a year and a day in jail. McCalla could have rejected it and the case would have moved toward trial. But McCalla accepted the recommendation of the prosecution and defense to depart from the guidelines.

"I'm here to accept responsibilities for my actions," Thompson told McCalla before the sentence was imposed. "I never expected to be here. ... My reputation has certainly taken a beating. I've spent 25 years building a reputation that's certainly been trashed."

Thompson termed his criminal behavior an "anomaly." His attorney, Leslie Ballin, argued for probation.

McCalla agreed Thompson's behavior in the case was "aberrant." But he also said a prison sentence was called for as a deterrent.

"This is a difficult concept. It only works if people know what happens," McCalla said, referring to the certainty of jail time.

Leaders of H&M Construction Company, who hired Thompson in 2004 to win a contract to build three Memphis city schools had some vocal misgivings about what Thompson was doing.

The reservations are detailed in an excerpt from an FBI report in what became a federal corruption case.

The FBI report excerpt, also known as a “302,” was filed as part of Ballin’s argument that Thompson should avoid prison time and instead be sentenced to probation.

Back and forth

Thompson admitted taking $7,000 in 2004 from two construction firms, H&M Construction and Salton-Fox Construction of Memphis. The payment was made to Thompson after he told the companies’ executives he could control votes on the Memphis City Schools board because of his position as a county commissioner. The companies, working in partnership, were seeking the construction contract.

Thompson quibbled about his precise role, according to the FBI report on its interview with James E. Campbell of H&M.

“I’m not lobbying, I’m consulting,” Campbell quoted Thompson as saying.

Campbell drew up a consulting contract, but Thompson never signed it.

Campbell had five meetings with Thompson when he spotted Thompson on H&M’s parking lot in Jackson talking with another company official, Dewitt Day. Thompson asked Campbell what he thought about making campaign contributions to four school board members.

“It looks like this for that,” Campbell remembered replying.

He said Thompson’s response was, “It’s legal to do.”

Campbell planned to write the campaign contribution checks and “it was agreed Thompson would deliver the checks to the recipients.”

“While writing the first check, Campbell decided it didn’t look good for H&M to give campaign contributions to these individuals,” the FBI report reads. “Campbell then thought about using H&M subcontractors to give the contributions but ultimately decided Day could give the $7,000 to his relatives in Memphis and have them deliver the contributions in their name.”

Day “grabbed” $7,000 and drove to Memphis, according to the FBI. His brother-in-law also didn’t like the looks of the money exchange and consulted attorney and former Memphis City Council member John Bobango.

“Bobango advised Day not to give these campaign contributions because H&M already had the (school board) votes to win approval,” the FBI 302 reads. Campbell told Thompson and others, including construction executive Kirby Salton, that the deal was off.

“Thompson and Salton went on to say that the four individuals would be disappointed and Campbell got the impression the ‘votes could go the other way,’” according to the report. It was Thompson’s conduct during the conference call that broke the law, Ballin conceded.

Campbell then wrote Salton a check for $7,000 and “never questioned Salton on whether he delivered the campaign contribution to the four individuals.”

Money differences

Ballin argued in his position paper that Thompson’s sentence should be determined based on the $7,000 instead of the more than $250,000 Thompson was paid by the two construction firms. He also contended Thompson wasn’t using his office as a county commissioner to influence the school board.

“H&M suffered no loss and Thompson only received the fair market value of services rendered by way of his arms-length consulting contract,” Ballin wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza disagreed on the harm done even if Thompson didn’t influence the outcome.

“Whether or not campaign contributions were required to be given in order for H&M Construction Company to win contract approval is irrelevant, as it is uncontested that the defendant conveyed to H&M .... managers that said contributions would in fact be needed to influence the awarding of the contract,” DiScenza wrote in the government’s position paper submitted last week.

McCalla sided with DiScenza in his ruling and the higher dollar amount was a factor in the prison sentence.

Salton and school board members Wanda Halbert, Sara Lewis, Willie Brooks and Hubon Sandridge all testified before the federal grand jury that indicted Thompson. Salton said publicly that he paid several thousand dollars to a campaign worker for Halbert, who has since been elected to the Memphis City Council. Halbert denied any knowledge of getting the cash but listed on an amended campaign finance report $2,000 that was lost.

DiScenza said in February that the four school board members mentioned by Thompson but never identified in court were not aware of the deal, and none has ever been charged with taking the money.

Thompson had no comment as he left the Federal Building this evening. The federal Bureau of Prisons will determine where and when he reports to prison.

...

35. Jobs Program Age Split at Center of Debate -

The lottery drawing has been held with Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton doing the annual honors at City Hall. And the city's summer jobs program is ready for more than 1,000 14- to 21-year-olds to take their place in the Memphis working world for eight weeks starting June 2.

36. Thompson Pleads Guilty to Fraud -

Former Shelby County Board of Commissioners member Bruce Thompson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge in a corruption case involving a 2004 construction contract to build three Memphis city schools.

37. Wharton to Seek Law Against Uninvolved Parents -

It was an idea that Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. dropped into his state of the county speech Tuesday to the Memphis Rotary Club.

Wharton decided to go through with his call for a law that would make parental neglect of a child's education a crime after a morning visit with a group of about 40 juvenile offenders in a detention center. The group included the teenager who shot a classmate earlier this month at Mitchell High School.

38. Jefferson's Delinquent Taxes Attributed to Busy Work Life -

The revelation last week that Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson Jr. owes delinquent city and county property taxes and has been sued in Shelby County Chancery Court several times by the city in recent years over missed tax payments might have seemed a bit ironic.

39. Thompson's One-Time Promises Implode With Indictments -

He ran for the Shelby County Board of Commissioners five years ago on the slogan "It's time for government to mean business." And Bruce Thompson's campaign literature pledged, "I believe public officials should use their position to save money for the taxpayers, not make money for themselves."

40. Thompson Indicted for Extortion and Mail Fraud -

A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

The public corruption charges that name no other defendants came with just as many questions as answers – questions about possible involvement by others. U.S. Attorney David Kustoff said the grand jury probe is continuing but he wouldn’t be more specific.

41. Thompson Indicted for Extortion and Mail Fraud -

A federal grand jury today indicted former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

The public corruption charges that name no other defendants came with just as many questions as answers – questions about possible involvement by others. U.S. Attorney David Kustoff said the grand jury probe is continuing but he wouldn’t be more specific.

42. Delinquent Properties to Be Sold By Month's End -

The South Memphis home of Sara Lewis, a special assistant to Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, is listed among properties scheduled to be sold at the city of Memphis Tax Sale Dec. 4, according to a tax sale notice published Wednesday in The Daily News.

43. Wharton Chimes In On School System's Woes With Takeover Idea -

A federal grand jury is investigating several of Memphis City Schools' construction contracts.

Three former board members and one outgoing member just elected to the City Council were called to testify in recent days.

44. Hugueley Named Chief Nursing Officer For Methodist Extended Care Hospital -

Sandra Hugueley has been named chief nursing officer for Methodist Extended Care Hospital (MECH). Hugueley joined Methodist in 1996 as a registered nurse and became nurse manager of Medical-Surgical ICU at Methodist North Hospital in 1997. She recently served as corporate director of Interim Administrative Services.

45. Bethel Named New VP Of COMEC Board -

Greg Bethel has been named vice president of the board of directors of the Commission on Missing & Exploited Children (COMEC). Bethel is the director of human resources for the Jackson-Madison County School System in Jackson, Tenn. He's been on the board of directors for two years.

46. Getting It Done: -

It was six months after Hurricane Katrina roared across the Gulf Coast, and government officials were stuck in an inefficient bureaucratic muck. Embattled former FEMA director Michael Brown sat down with an NBC Nightly News reporter in February to defend his department's much-maligned response to the storm.

47. Events -

The Memphis City Council meets at 3:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 125 N. Main St., first floor. Call 576-6786.

Project Management Institute of Memphis meets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today in the Thomas Center at Christian Brothers University, 650 East Parkway S. Brian Athow, manager of FedEx Services, is the guest speaker. Cost is $5. Visit www.pmimemphis.org.

48. Archived Article: Calendar - Calendar of events April 7-13

Calendar of events April 7-April 13

April 7

Trinity United Methodist Church, 1738 Galloway Ave., hosts a support group for the families of military service personnel from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Morgan Keegan and W...

49. Archived Article: Calendar - Calendar of events March 31-April 6

Calendar of events March 31-April 6

March 31

Trinity United Methodist Church, 1738 Galloway Ave., offers a support group for the families of military service personnel from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 2

...

50. Archived Article: Mba Box P.2 - MEMPHIS BAR ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES FINAL LIST OF NOMINEES

Bar sets final nominees list

The Memphis Bar Association announced the final list of nominees for 2002 officers and board of directors. The deadline for additional nominations expired Th...

51. Archived Article: Mba P.2 - Memphis Bar Association nominees set

Memphis Bar Association nominees set

G. Patrick Arnoult, Memphis Bar Association president, has released the report of the nominations and elections committee.

The 2002 president will be David Wade. Vice...

52. Archived Article: Comm Focus - Riverboat ride to celebrate life for cancer survivors Week celebrates life of cancer survivors By MARY DANDO The Daily News The Memphis Cancer Foundation, Flying Colors Cancer Resource Center and the Memphis Cancer Center invite area cancer survivor...

53. Archived Article: Demogorerally - NotesVPGorerally Gore stumps for Democrats By GABRIELLE C.L. SONGE The Daily News While President Bill Clinton and his Republican challenger, Bob Dole, were in California for the second debate and West Coast campaign appearances, Vice President Al G...