VOL. 129 | NO. 117 | Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Brooks Residency Questioned
By Bill Dries
The Shelby County Attorney’s office is investigating whether Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks lives in the district she has represented for the last eight years.
And the report to come at a special commission meeting, tentatively set for June 26, could determine whether the commission moves to oust her from the seat and appoint a replacement for the remaining two and a half months of her current term of office.
Word of the investigation surfaced at the commission’s Monday, June 16, meeting when commissioner Terry Roland objected to an un-named commissioner voting on matters in violation of the county charter provisions on residency.
Roland later confirmed he was referring to Brooks.
Commissioners already planned to meet in special session before the end of the month to resolve several budget items for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
The residency question was added to the agenda for the special meeting when commissioner Mike Ritz said the commission is unlikely to get seven votes to set any kind of property tax rate without the commission being up to its full 13 members.
And without an item on the agenda to specifically deal with that, the item could not be acted on at a special meeting of the commission.
If the county attorney’s office concludes Brooks does not live in the district she represents and if the commission moves to oust her, commissioners would then set a timeline including a deadline for citizens to apply for the appointment and a date for the commission to vote on a replacement.
But County Attorney Marcy Ingram warned that “it may not be that simple.”
Brooks could file suit in Chancery Court to contest an ouster attempt.
Brooks was present for Monday’s meeting.
When commission chairman James Harvey asked if she wanted to say anything about the investigation, Brooks replied, “Why would I need to comment? I haven't heard my name referenced in this discussion."
The residency investigation comes after Brooks, who is the Democratic nominee for Juvenile Court Clerk, was charged in a warrant with simple assault after an incident on a parking lot at Methodist University Hospital with another motorist over a hospital parking space last week.
The hospital announced Tuesday that Brooks has resigned her position with the company.
In May, Brooks berated a Hispanic businessman during a commission meeting for comparing the plight of Hispanics in Memphis to the plight of African-Americans.
Neither incident has prompted any of her fellow commissioners to seek any kind of censure of Brooks.
The residency question, however, could prompt at least the offering of a formal action depending on what the report of the county attorney’s office concludes.