Strickland, Carson Named Dunavant Award Winners

By Bill Dries

Memphis City Council member Jim Strickland and Shelby County Jury Commissioner Clyde ‘Kit’ Carson have been named the winners of the 2013 Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards.

A committee made up on members of the Dunavant family and the Rotary Club of Memphis East selected Strickland and Carson as the winners of the service awards for elected and non-elected public officials, respectively.

The committee took nominations from the public and also considered those nominated in past years for the awards, which are marking their 10th year.

The Daily News and the University of Memphis sponsor the awards.

Rotary committee member Mark Griffee said Strickland and Carson were nominated this year and had been nominated in previous years for the honor, which is meant to call attention to good government practices.

“They had each been nominated previously, which is not unusual for individuals to get nominated multiple times and in multiple years,” he said.

The award is named for the late Probate Court Clerk Bobby Dunavant and the criteria are attributes associated with Dunavant’s long service at the Shelby County Courthouse.

Strickland was elected to the Memphis City Council in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. He is currently chairman of the council budget committee for the second consecutive year.

Strickland, an attorney with Kustoff & Strickland PLLC, is no stranger to local politics. He is a former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party.

Carson, jury coordinator for the Shelby County Jury Commission, coordinates jury pools for all jury trials in Shelby County civil and criminal courts.

“He is the guy who interacts with everyone who shows up for jury service,” Griffee said.

“He knew and worked with Bobby Dunavant.”

Carson and Strickland will be honored at a Feb. 27 luncheon at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis that begins at 11:45 a.m.

The keynote speaker for the luncheon is Brad Martin, chairman of RBM Venture Co. and retired chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. as well as a former Tennessee legislator.

Information on the luncheon and reservation forms can be found at The deadline for reservations is Feb. 18. The reservations are $400 for a table and $50 per ticket.

Organizers of the awards encourage elected and non-elected public officials to attend and invite other public leaders to attend to foster greater dialogue about the nature of public service and the definition of good government practices.