VOL. 130 | NO. 11 | Friday, January 16, 2015
City Council Field at Six for Vacancy
By Bill Dries
With a new deadline for prospective City Council members to apply for the open District 7 seat, a total of six citizens had applied by the noon Thursday, Jan. 15, deadline for consideration by the Memphis City Council.
The seat, open with the move of Lee Harris from the council to the state Senate this month, is to be filled by the remaining 12 council members at their Tuesday, Jan. 20, meeting.
Council chairman Myron Lowery set an earlier deadline for last week. And it drew the same seven contenders.
But only two had the required 25 signatures on a petition from voters who live in the district after the Shelby County Election Commission checked the signatures.
They were Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Bryan Carson and former council member Barbara Swearengen Ware.
Ware resigned from the council in 2011 following her indictment on an official misconduct charge for which she later received diversion without pleading guilty.
But council attorney Allan Wade said council rules on the process for filling vacancies clearly set the deadline at noon of the Thursday before the council is to fill the vacancy. He advised and the application period was reopened allowing for new applicants and those who applied by the original deadline to submit supplemental material.
So by that deadline, Carson and Ware were joined for consideration by attorney David Pool, former council member Berlin Boyd, who was an interim replacement for Ware following her resignation, as well as Charles Leslie and Audrey P. Jones.
Pool and Boyd had enough signatures on their petitions with the supplemental material, according to the council office. The additional signatures submitted by Leslie and Jones were still being verified at press time.
The seventh contender from the original deadline, Curtis Byrd Jr., didn’t submit anything additional and his petition remained short two signatures.
There were no new contenders.
Applying for the vacancy does not mean that a citizen will automatically be nominated. That is up to individual council members.
Whoever gets the appointment will serve the remaining year left in Harris’ term of office. Some of the contenders have said they do not intend to run in the 2015 elections for a full four-year term while others have said they will be on the October ballot.