VOL. 129 | NO. 150 | Monday, August 4, 2014
County Commission Weighs End of Term Items
By Bill Dries
At the next to last meeting of their four-year terms of office, Shelby County commissioners will be dealing with some items that have been on the wish lists of individual commissioners for years in some cases.
The commission meets Monday, Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.
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At least seven of the 13 commissioners will go off the commission at the end of August when their terms end.
The commission that takes office Sept. 1 will have a majority of new members having just been elected in the Aug. 7 county general election from a new configuration of single-member districts.
Among the end of term items on Monday’s agenda is a resolution by departing commissioner Mike Ritz urging the Tennessee Legislature to give the commission “full and sole control” of subdivisions, land use and zoning matters in unincorporated Shelby County, including those that are within five miles of the Memphis city limits.
The Memphis City Council currently approves such changes if they are within five miles of the city limits.
The commission also takes up on the first day of the 2014-2015 school year a $1.1 million school facilities study to be conducted by Shelby County Schools. It too is sponsored by Ritz.
Two other items of lingering business for the current commission were delayed in committee sessions last week but could find their way onto Monday’s agenda if the votes are there to add them.
Both deal with the residency of elected county officials in the wake of accusations that two county commissioners do not live in the districts they represent.
The county attorney’s office concluded there was not enough evidence to say conclusively that Commissioner Justin Ford has violated the county charter provision requiring him to live in his district. That conclusion is despite the apartment Ford lists as his residence having no utilities for two years, according to Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division records.
The attorney’s office also concluded that Commissioner Henri Brooks does not live in her district and recommended declaring her seat vacant. Brooks sued in Chancery Court with a ruling there that the commission would have to make its own investigation and determination.
As the commission moved to do that, a special prosecutor began investigating the residency question as well as a warrant accusing Brooks of assault in an unrelated parking lot incident. The involvement of a special prosecutor stopped the commission’s pursuit of the residency matter.
Brooks is among the seven commissioners who will not be returning to the body on Sept. 1.
Commissioner Steve Mulroy is the sponsor of a resolution that would set guidelines for the commission to consider when it receives a residency investigation report from the county attorney’s office.
Mulroy is also sponsor of a resolution that would establish a residency certification form for all elected officials in Shelby County government.
Monday’s meeting is also the next to the last to start at 1:30 p.m. Starting with the new term, commission meetings will be twice a month on Mondays starting at 3 p.m.