Commission Tries Again At Electing Chairman

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners will try again Monday, July 30, to elect a new chairman after 21 rounds of voting two weeks ago failed to produce someone who could get seven votes.

The four contenders through the balloting were current chairman Sidney Chism, current chairman pro tempore Wyatt Bunker, and commissioners Mike Ritz and Henri Brooks.

Chism is serving his second one-year term that runs out Aug. 31.

The commission meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

The 13-member commission has a seven-vote Democratic majority but Democratic commissioner Steve Mulroy was absent. He is expected to be present for Monday’s session.

But even that might not break the deadlock. The deadlock was also the result of a fair amount of voting across party lines. Ritz abstained in a number of rounds. So did Brooks. Democratic commissioner Justin Ford voted for Bunker, a Republican, at least once. Republican commissioner Terry Roland voted for Chism, a Democrat, several times.

Chism has said he’s not pursuing a third term as chairman but would be willing to serve if no one else can get the required number of votes.

If none of the contenders from last time can get a seven-vote majority in the first three rounds of voting, new contenders are likely to emerge.

Also on Monday’s agenda is the sale of 22 tax delinquent parcels owned by Shelby County for a total of $56,750.

And up for the second of three readings is the ordinance amending the 18-month-old Unified Development Code governing zoning and construction in the city of Memphis as well as the unincorporated county. The Memphis City Council has already approved the amended UDC.