VOL. 122 | NO. 112 | Monday, June 18, 2007
List to Replace Peete on Council is Long
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council members are expecting more than two dozen contenders to consider for the vacant District 8 Position 2 Super District seat on the council.
They include the owner of a neighborhood grocery store, an insurance executive, seasoned political partisans, a courthouse security guard, perennial candidates, a math teacher and neighborhood activists.
The seat became vacant with the June 1 resignation of Rickey Peete. Peete announced his resignation the day before, saying he wanted to devote time to preparing for his September trial on federal bribery charges.
The council is scheduled to act at Tuesday's meeting with whoever they appoint taking the oath of office and the seat immediately.
The requirements are that the applicants must have lived in Memphis for at least five years and in the super district, which covers half of the city, for six months.
Council staff was checking addresses of applicants late last week. The requirement caused Dr. Fred C. Lofton, pastor emeritus of Metropolitan Baptist Church and a veteran of the local civil rights movement, to withdraw from consideration. Lofton recently moved out of the district.
These are the contenders who had applied to the council in writing as of Friday:
- Roscoe R. McWilliams, a retired educator and former officer of the Memphis Education Association. McWilliams also was among the first black police officers on the Memphis Police Department in 1948.
- Toni Strong, an employee of Tri-State Bank of Memphis.
- Vernua E. Hanrahan, a former director of the Center for Neighborhoods.
- Reginald Fentress, a city school fifth-grade teacher whose last bid for elected office was for the Shelby County Commission in the 2006 elections.
- Jesse "Elder" Neely, a frequent candidate for various local offices over the years.
- Dr. Steve Gadbois, a Rhodes College mathematics professor and teacher at Memphis University School.
- Kenneth C. Welch, a former Greyhound bus driver who now works security at the Shelby County Courthouse.
- Karen L. Townsel, a FedEx air operations supply chain specialist.
- Ian Randolph, an Ameriprise financial adviser active in politics and a former president of the Annesdale-Snowden Neighborhood Association.
- Trennie Williams, general manager of Crownstar Enterprises, a planning and development company.
- Rosalynn B. Gatewood, a secretary in the city's Bureau of Solid Waste Management.
- Del R. Gill, a business consultant and former member of the local Democratic Party Executive Committee who has run for several offices in recent years.
- Henry Hooper II, State Farm insurance executive and retired Secret Service agent.
- Teddy King, King's Grocery owner who is active in several neighborhood associations and a past candidate for elected office.
- Sandra Milburn, human resources director for HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital.
- Charlie F. Morris Sr., owner of Morris Barber Shop & Cleaners, former member of the Democratic Executive Committee and longtime North Memphis political figure.
- Nadine Porter, County Code Enforcement officer.
- Walter Broady, in his letter to the council wrote, "I work for God on the Internet."
- Mark A. Coleman, member of the local Democratic Executive Committee and former employee of the Shelby County Assessor's and General Sessions Court Clerk's offices.
- Jim M. Cooksey Jr., security manager with Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) at Memphis International Airport.
- Davida Cruthird, director of job development at Bridges USA who applied in January for the vacant District 3 council seat.
- Cherry Davis, vice chairman of the local Democratic Party and director of community day support at Shelby Residential Vocational Services.
- Gordon "Allen" Everitt, Realtor, owner and CEO of Re/Max On The River.
The applicants are not guaranteed their names will be put to a vote before the council. Council members will take a roll-call vote where they will name their choices for the vacancy, said council chairman Tom Marshall.
The new council member will be the one who gets seven votes. If that doesn't happen on the first ballot, any contender who gets fewer than two votes will be dropped from consideration. If the vote goes to a third round and there is still no winner, the contest could be narrowed to a run-off between the top two vote getters.
Historically, some on the council tend to favor nominees who don't intend to run for the office in the next election. Other council members don't use that as a factor to judge potential appointees.
Whoever wins the appointment will serve the approximately six months left in Peete's four-year term of office.
All 13 council seats are up for election on the October ballot.