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VOL. 128 | NO. 175 | Monday, September 09, 2013

County Commission to Fill School Board Vacancy

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Commissioners bring the countywide school board up to its full strength of seven members Monday, Sept. 9, by appointing someone to the open District 6 seat.

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

James Harvey takes over as Shelby County Commission chairman starting with Monday’s meeting of the group. On the agenda are his committee appointments and the appointment of a new countywide school board member.

(Daily News File)

Eleven people applied for the vacancy, and commissioners interviewed them at the Aug. 28 committee sessions during a two-week break between the regular sessions of the full commission.

Among those applying were former Memphis City Schools board member Sharon Webb, who lost a re-election bid in 2010 after running for Memphis mayor in the 2009 special election for the office won by A C Wharton Jr.

Rosalyn Nichols, pastor at Freedom’s Chapel Christian Church who challenged City Council member Janis Fullilove in the 2011 city elections and lost, is also seeking the seat, as is Clara Ford, a retired veteran Memphis City Schools educator who last made an unsuccessful challenge of incumbent Edmund Ford Jr. in the same set of 2011 council races.

Perry Bond, Cherry Davis and David Page, who have all run previously for the council or Memphis City Schools board, are also among those vying for the appointment.

So are Shante Avant, Tony Braxton, Justin Casey, Joya Smith and Rhoda Stigall.

Applying for the appointment does not mean automatic nomination. That is up to commissioners, who are also likely to consider individually whether they favor someone who will serve on an interim basis or run for the seat in a later school board election.

The factor is a perennial for consideration in any appointment the commission makes.

The appointment is to fill the vacancy created when school board member Reginald Porter resigned in August after being appointed chief of staff to countywide schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

The countywide school board went to a seven-seat body effective Sept. 1, after being a 23-member body that included members of the old Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools boards since October 2011.

The school board will stay at seven members for a year, at which point it will add six members elected in the August 2014 county general elections.

The County Commission meeting Monday is the first of the one-year term of James Harvey as chairman of the 13-member body.

And some on the commission indicated at committee sessions Aug. 28 that they might challenge some of Harvey’s choices to head standing committees, particularly Harvey’s choice of Commissioner Heidi Shafer to chair the budget and finance committee.

Challenges of the committee assignments that reach the full commission are rare.

The budget committee chairmanship on the commission as well as on the Memphis City Council is an important posting that does not rotate every year.

In this case, Commissioner Melvin Burgess would switch committees with Shafer, chairing the hospitals and health committee that Shafer has chaired for several years.

Also on the commission’s agenda are two federally funded contracts totaling almost $1.7 million for repairs and restoration work in the Millington area from 2010 flooding.

One resolution is a $1.2 million contract between county government and the city of Millington to replace two emergency flood pumps and make improvements to the Upper Newport channel and the Big Creek Basin in Millington.

The federal Community Development Block Grant disaster funding is for long-range planning and restoration work in a part of the county – including areas inside and outside of the Millington borders – affected by flooding in May 2010.

The pumps and the detention basin failed in the flooding, overwhelming parts of Millington and northern Shelby County.

The other resolution is a $459,800 construction contract with Rose Construction Inc. that is also federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The contract is for bank repair near the Ward Road Bridge over Big Creek. The bank continues to erode along the creek channel below the bridge.

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PROPERTY SALES 81 217 5,290
MORTGAGES 94 276 6,985
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 72 1,628
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BANKRUPTCIES 66 241 5,541
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