Commission Delays Final Vote on "Wage Theft" Ordinance

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners delayed Monday, Dec. 17, a final vote on a “wage theft” ordinance.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy, the sponsor of the measure that provides for a county government investigation and possible General Sessions Court proceedings on complaints of wage theft, moved for the delay as he seeks to build public support for the measure.

The ordinance has drawn criticism from the local hospitality industry and others concerned that the procedures could be a burden, especially on small businesses.

Mulroy had offered amendments to ease those concerns during committee sessions last week, but they were voted down in committee.

Third and final reading of the ordinance is now scheduled for the commission’s Jan 14 meeting, the first meeting of 2013 for the body.

Also at the last commission meeting of 2012, commissioners approved a resolution to hire their own lobbyist for the coming session of the Tennessee legislature. The measure was sponsored by commissioner Terry Roland.

The commission voted down on third and final reading, an ordinance offered by commission chairman Mike Ritz that would have set a rule for county government funded parties, similar events and gifts that are given to and for employees. Ritz has tried before unsuccessfully to set guidelines that would make it more difficult for county elected officials to use their taxpayer-funded budgets for the gifts and parties.

The commission also approved a $981,897 contract for Head Start services to be provided by Porter-Leath.