Commission To Put Pera On FedExForum Lease, Appoint Election Reform Panel

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners take up a new name on the lease for FedExForum at their Monday, Sept. 24, meeting.

On the agenda is a resolution replacing Hoops LP, the Memphis Grizzlies ownership group headed by Michael Heisley, with RJP Group LLC, the ownership group headed by Robert Pera.

The lease change was approved last week by the Memphis City Council. The arena is owned by city and county governments.

Pera’s representatives told the council last week that they needed the lease change in order for the National Basketball Association board of governors to approve the sale of the Grizzlies franchise to Pera and his group.

The commission meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main Street.

The commission will also vote Monday on a panel of 13 to serve as an election reform advisory board.

The board is a response to problems in the Aug. 2 election that have prompted an ongoing investigation by the state comptroller’s office as well as the Shelby County Election Commission’s decision to suspend and put on probation for six months elections administrator Richard Holden.

The group will be chaired by County Commissioners Steve Basar and include Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn. Local election commissioners Steve Stamson and Norma Lester are only on the board along with former elections administrator and former election commissioner James Johnson. Also nominated is Steve Ross, the county commission candidate who first alerted the election commission during early voting in July to problems with voters getting the wrong district races for state legislative and Congressional races on their ballots.

The election reform advisory board is to issue its report by March 2013.

Also on the agenda is a $238,609 contract with ACS Government Systems Inc. for an updated computer program system for Probate Court.

The commission also votes on a resolution to accept a $200,000 federal government grant to build a new air monitoring station. With the grant, the Shelby County Health Department will monitor nitrogen dioxide concentrations along heavily trafficked roads in the county and report their findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The data from that and other measures of air quality are the way federal agencies determine whether the county and the large metropolitan area meet federal goals for reducing air toxics emissions and any health risks from those emissions.