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VOL. 125 | NO. 27 | Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wharton Ditches Three Division Directors, Retains Others

By Bill Dries

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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.

Lipscomb
Godwin

The nominees for reappointment to be approved by the City Council are:

  • Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin,
  • Memphis Fire Director Alvin Benson,
  • City Engineer Wain Gaskins,
  • Finance Director Roland McElrath,
  • Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb,
  • Public Works Director Dwan Gilliom,
  • And Office of Planning and Development Director Richard Copeland.
The directors who will not be reappointed are:

City Chief Administrative Officer George Little took the reappointments to the council’s personnel committee. The full council is scheduled to vote on them in two weeks.

The seven reappointments were made a week after Wharton’s transition team issued a report critical of other areas of city government.

Wharton announced just before the report’s release that he would not be reappointing human resources Director Lorene Essex or General Services Director Estrice Boone.

The HR division was heavily criticized in the transition report for having computer technology better than some Fortune 500 companies but not using it.

Wharton has also indicated there might be some other city divisions that might be reconfigured because at town hall meetings, questions about code enforcement and housing issues would be fielded by several division directors, with none having overall responsibility for the issue.

Buchanan was a veteran director of several divisions dating back to Dick Hackett's administration.

Hooks is a former City Council member who became director of public services in the aftermath of problems at the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center and the Memphis Animal Shelter, agencies that are part of the division.

Dobbins, a former deputy director of the Memphis Police Department, took the helm of the community enhancement division when it was created by former Mayor Willie Herenton two years ago.

Wharton’s first appointment, shortly after taking office in October, was Herman Morris as city attorney. The post had been occupied by Elbert Jefferson, who resisted efforts by Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery to replace him. Jefferson resigned effective the day Wharton took office.

Wharton appointed George Little as chief administrative officer effective Jan. 1.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 14 204
BUILDING PERMITS 0 209 3,265
BANKRUPTCIES 35 119 872
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 23 352
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0