VOL. 130 | NO. 83 | Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Flinn Resigns Council Seat To Join Chamber
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn has resigned effective immediately from the council seat he has held since 2007 to take a job with the Greater Memphis Chamber.
Flinn, whose resignation from the council had been rumored earlier this year, becomes senior vice president of the Chairman’s Circle at the chamber effective Monday.
Flinn submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday to council chairman Myron Lowery and the council will appoint someone to fill the vacancy no later than the council’s May 19 meeting.
The appointment is certain to affect the 2015 city elections.
Flinn had already announced he would not seek re-election on the October ballot. That started a scramble for his super district 9 position 2 seat. Six prospective candidates had pulled qualifying petitions for the seat as of Wednesday afternoon.
The council’s decision in making the appointment is whether to give someone among those six and any other likely candidates the advantage of being a member of the council for five months going into the October election. Or the council could decide to appoint an interim replacement who vows not to seek the council seat.
The Chairman’s Circle is the chamber body that involves business leaders in political and community issues.
“Shea has demonstrated his passion for making transformational change in Memphis and that is the core focus of our Chairman’s Circle,” said Phil Trenary, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said in a statement. “Our team is eager to work with Shea and get him engaged with our Chairman’s Circle members.”
Flinn was involved in two efforts that sought to increase the local sales tax to fund pre-kindergarten programs. Both efforts were backed by the chamber.
Flinn said the second pre-k sales tax referendum defeat in fall 2013 was a turning point for him.
“When we were not able to fund pre-k through the referendum, it was a wake-up call to me,” Flinn said in the statement. “The Chairman’s Circle continued to work on it and eventually found alternative resources. It made me realize they had the leadership and ability to prioritize an important initiative like this and make it happen.”
Lowery outlined the council’s appointment procedure shortly after Flinn turned in his resignation. The council office will begin taking applications May 1 with a noon May 14 deadline to submit the packet of information required by council rules.
The information includes a sworn affidavit pledging that the applicant lives in the super district and must be accompanied by a petition similar to the qualifying petition required of candidates in the October election. The petition for the appointment application must be signed by at least 25 voter who live in super district 9.