Roland Claims County Commission Chairmanship

By Bill Dries

Three weeks after Steve Basar was elected – and an hour later un-elected – as chairman, the Shelby County Commission settled the discussion of who would be its leader next year by electing commissioner Terry Roland.

Roland, a Republican, won Monday, Sept. 14, with the votes of seven commissioners including two Democrats – Eddie Jones and Justin Ford.

Basar, also a Republican, had the votes of the other five Democrats and his own but was one vote short.

The commission also approved Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell’s nomination of developer Benjamin Orgel to the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Orgel is among the partners behind the previtalization beer garden effort at what is being called Station 3: Memphis Firehaus. The event will take place throughout October and November in an old city firehouse at 200 Linden Ave

The commission also approved Monday two contracts totaling $3.4 million in federal funding for McCrory Electric Co. Inc. to upgrade traffic signal systems. The federal funding is from the Congestion Management Air Quality program. And the CMAQ funds, as they are known, come to the county through the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

In other action, commissioners sent back to committee a proposed $135,000 contract with Rural/Metro Mid-South L.P. to provide nonemergency ambulance service for prisoners and inmates at the Shelby County Jail, Jail East and the Shelby County Corrections Center.

Commissioners had questions about the bidding process.

The commission also delayed action on a resolution by commissioner David Reaves urging the administration to call off plans to close a county fire station on Egypt-Central Road that serves part of the northeast unincorporated area of Shelby County.

The fire station is scheduled to be manned by the Millington Fire Department until Oct. 1 under a cooperative agreement with Shelby County.

The city of Millington is pulling out of the agreement because of the recent resignations of 11 firefighters. That has caused county government to reconfigure fire department coverage areas.

Commissioners will discuss the issue further at Sept. 23 committee sessions.