VOL. 129 | NO. 154 | Friday, August 8, 2014
Commission to Have Different Look After Election
By Bill Dries
The first post-election appointment for the winners of the 13 Shelby County Commission races on the Thursday, Aug. 7, election ballot is a Friday luncheon with commission Chairman James Harvey.
The 2014 election year isn’t quite over. There are the state and federal general elections in November. And 2015 is an election year at City Hall.
(Daily News File Photo)
“It’s not in any way to be persuasive,” Harvey said. “It is to answer any questions.”
Even before Thursday’s election results were in, the commission was guaranteed to have a majority of new members – at least seven of the 13.
It is the largest turnover on the commission since 2006, when seven new commissioners were elected.
Such turnovers are likely to remain a feature of the commission, which, like the county mayor’s position, has a term limit of no more than two consecutive terms.
The first group of commissioners reached the two-term limit with the 2006 elections. And in 2010, Walter Bailey became the first commissioner to win election back to the body after sitting out a term.
In 2008, county voters approved a county charter amendment that applies the limit of two consecutive terms to the sheriff, trustee, register, county clerk and assessor positions.
The clock on term limits for the assessor began running in 2012 with the one-time-only term of two years counting as the first term, as the office was shifted to the other four-year county election cycle starting in 2014.
The term-limit clock for the other three offices began Sept. 1, 2010.
The winners in Thursday’s county general election races take office Sept. 1.
But some of the commissioners running unopposed have already been familiarizing themselves with the commission’s way of doing things.
District 2 Commissioner-elect George Chism has watched several commission meetings and committee sessions from the audience since winning the Republican primary in May.
He watched the day outgoing Commissioner Henri Brooks lectured a Hispanic businessman about comparing the plight of Latinos to African-Americans, kicking off a set of unrelated events that connected to put Brooks on the defensive for the remainder of her term and her campaign for Juvenile Court clerk.
District 3 Commissioner-elect David Reaves ends his term on the Shelby County Schools board Aug. 31 and begins his commission term the next day. Reaves wants to improve the relationship between the commission and the school board as well as the boards of the suburban school systems.
County commissioners normally elect their chairman for the year at one of their two July meetings. But in this election year, Harvey said, the new commission that takes office Sept. 1 will elect its chairman as the first order of business at its Sept. 8 meeting.
That day will also mark a change in the meeting time of the commission, which has been meeting Mondays twice a month at 1:30 p.m. The meeting time moves to 3 p.m. in September. That is also when a renovation of the commission chambers at the Vasco Smith Administration Building is scheduled to be completed.
Harvey, meanwhile, will soon be pursuing his next political goal – running for Memphis mayor in the 2015 city elections.
Some of the losers in Thursday’s election will also probably surface in the races for mayor and City Council next year.
And Thursday’s vote totals will create at least one other opportunity between now and then.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be appointing a new chancellor in Shelby County Chancery Court Part III after Thursday’s election.
Chancellor Kenny Armstrong was unopposed in his bid for another term, but after the deadline to withdraw Armstrong’s name from the ballot, Haslam appointed him to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He takes the Western Division seat on the appeals court Sept. 1, which is when he would have begun a new term in Chancery Court.
The election year isn’t over with Thursday’s results. The winners in the state and federal primaries on Thursday’s ballot advance to the Nov. 4 state and federal general elections.
Candidates in the November nonpartisan municipal elections in Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown and Millington are just about to the Aug. 21 deadline to file their qualifying petitions.
The Bartlett and Germantown ballots are topped by the mayoral, aldermen and school board races. The ballot in Millington is even-numbered school board positions. In Collierville, even-numbered school board races and odd-numbered aldermen positions will be on the ballot.
Through Thursday, Germantown Alderman Mike Palazzolo was unopposed in his bid to succeed outgoing Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy.
Incumbent Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald has potential opposition in his re-election bid from John E. Lackey, who pulled a petition Tuesday.