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VOL. 123 | NO. 176 | Tuesday, September 9, 2008

City Council to Pick Interim Member

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members will pick an interim council member today to fill their ranks until the Nov. 4 election.

The November ballot includes a special election for the Super District 9 Position 1 council seat given up by Scott McCormick last month. McCormick stepped down to become executive director of the Plough Foundation.

The four candidates for the council appointment are:

  • Jimmy Ogle, former Memphis Park Commission executive director and Mud Island general manager.
  • Richard Stringer, business owner with several bids for the City Council in recent years.
  • Jack Sammons, former City Council member who chose not to seek re-election in the 2007 city elections.
  • John Willingham, former Shelby County Board of Commissioners member, two-time candidate for Memphis mayor and a candidate for Shelby County mayor.

The council required each of the four to submit a resume as well as a version of the qualifying petition required by the Shelby County Election Commission to get on the November ballot.

Whoever gets the council appointment today will serve until the results of the council election are certified.

Four candidates will be on the November ballot for the council seat. They are:

  • Willingham
  • Kemp Conrad, former Shelby County Republican Party chairman who ran for a different position in the same super district in the 2007 city elections.
  • Paul Shaffer, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 474.
  • Arnett Montague III

The Election Commission delayed Shaffer’s certification for the ballot until Friday. The delay was the result of questions about Shaffer’s residency raised by Election Commissioner Robert Meyers. Meyers objected because Shaffer’s voter registration showed an address in Super District 8, which covers the other half of the city than Super District 9.

Shaffer had moved some time ago from the address shown on the voter registration form and had moved to change his address last month in advance of the filing deadline. The change of address was in the Election Commission’s paperwork pipeline and surfaced at Friday’s special meeting. Meyers withdrew his objection and Shaffer was certified for the ballot.

Shaffer put in an appearance but didn’t have to speak.

After the meeting, he declined to ascribe a political motive to the challenge.

“It’s hard to say,” Shaffer told The Daily News. “If they truly believed that their records showed that I hadn’t tried to change my address, possibly not. In this type situation it’s always suspect. I don’t have any proof that there was.”

The Election Commission has rejected past challenges to a candidate’s residency. The body historically has said its role is limited by law from making such determinations and that a lawsuit is the proper venue for such a challenge.

Meanwhile, the Shelby County Republican Party’s steering committee voted last week to endorse Conrad in the November race, which is nonpartisan.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108