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VOL. 124 | NO. 126 | Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Resignations Begin In Herenton Admin

By Bill Dries

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The director of the troubled city division of Public Services and Neighborhoods will be leaving City Hall with Mayor Willie Herenton on July 10.

The retirements of Kenneth Moody as well as the deputy director of the division, Yalanda McFadgon, were announced Monday in a brief press release from the mayor’s office.

Michael Gray, the deputy director of the Memphis Library system, which is part of the same division headed by Moody, also announced his retirement effective July 17.

Both were criticized heavily by City Council members for the way the division ran the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center (MSARC).

McFadgon had direct control of MSARC as the Herenton administration ran the organization directly from City Hall for more than a year after its director resigned. Morale lagged and nurses trained to work with rape victims began leaving, creating a staffing shortage that became critical earlier this year when two alleged victims were turned away.

The interim coordinator of the center left after a forensic nurse and an advocate were fired by the city after they were attacked in March by a rape victim mistakenly brought to MSARC while under the influence of drugs.

The events that triggered the crisis, including a decision to remove the examination of child rape victims from MSARC, are chronicled in the new edition of The Memphis News, sister publication of The Daily News, www.thememphisnews.com.

McFadgon and Gray are former Memphis police officers who were once part of Herenton’s security detail. McFadgon headed the city’s “Second Chance” program to rehabilitate first-time felons once they are released from prison. McFadgon is a convicted felon, who left the police force after pleading guilty to federal drug charges in 1998. She served five months in prison.

Gray and Library Director Keenon McCloy were part of a controversial shift of the library system at the start of Herenton’s fifth term of office in 2008.

McCloy had been director of Public Services & Neighborhoods. But she and Gray were tapped to oversee the library system as Herenton forced the resignation of Library Director Judith Drescher. Herenton famously told reporters “A manager is a manager” when asked about criticism by some library patrons that neither Gray nor McCloy had training specifically in library administration.

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