County Commission Approves Three More Schools Pacts

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday, Dec. 2, approved agreements for suburban school districts in Millington, Collierville and Bartlett, with little discussion at a special meeting of the body.

The commission approved similar agreements with elected leaders in Arlington and Lakeland in November.

The commission’s decision Monday leaves only an agreement on a Germantown school district still in negotiation.

The five suburban school district agreements approved by the commission now go to municipal school boards in each of the five suburbs, all of whom take office this week.

Votes on the agreements are expected to be among the first orders of business for each of the municipal school boards.

The commission had much more debate Monday about a set of three ordinances that would set the pay of the commission, mayor, sheriff and four other countywide elected officials for the term of office that begins Sept. 1, 2014.

The ordinances were up for the second of three readings on Monday’s agenda, with third reading now set for the commission’s regular meeting Dec. 16.

The commission approved keeping its own annual pay of $29,100 the same. Commissioner Mike Ritz proposed dropping the pay by $1,000, then withdrew the amendment.

The commission voted down an amendment that would have raised the pay of the Shelby County mayor and the Shelby County sheriff, and also voted down the main motion that would keep the mayor’s annual pay at $144,500 and the sheriff’s at $115,000.

The commission also voted down the third ordinance that would have raised the pay of the Shelby County clerk, county trustee and county register above the current $107,975 a year, and boosted the assessor’s pay from the current $108,617 a year.

The pay raises for the six countywide positions were recommended by county Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Kennedy, who said the raise proposals were based on what chief executive officers and similar officeholders in other county governments of similar size are making.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham have said they are not seeking a pay raise. Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir has specifically said he does not believe the pay for his position should be increased.

The commission is trying to set the salaries by the end of the year, but several members expressed doubt that there will be seven votes in two weeks to approve either keeping the pay the same or raising it for the countywide positions.