VOL. 9 | NO. 34 | Saturday, August 20, 2016
Shelby County Democratic Party Decertified
By Bill Dries
The Shelby County Democratic Party no longer exists.
Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Mary Mancini announced to party leaders Friday, Aug. 19, that she has decided to decertify the local party.
With the decertification by the state party, Mancini said in a letter to local party chairman Michael Pope that state party leaders would “immediately begin the process of organizing a new Shelby County Democratic Party.”
Mancini took the action in a dispute among members of the local party’s executive committee over pursuing criminal charges against former local party chairman Bryan Carson.
Carson resigned in 2015 in a dispute with the executive committee over party funds and his accounting for them.
The local party pursued filing a warrant seeking to charge Carson. But Mancini earlier this year ordered Pope to drop the complaint and settle the dispute with Carson and his attorneys by agreeing that Carson would pay $6,000 to the party over several years.
The party’s executive committee then took a vote on ratifying the settlement and it was voted down on a tie vote after three votes – each including arguments during the vote.
The executive committee voted down a later effort to censure Pope for the enacting the settlement.
Mancini said she acted under party bylaws that included a role “to develop and monitor a minimum set of requirements that must be observed by a state sanctioned certified County Democratic Party.”
“During this important process, the TNDP pledges to work to ensure that Democrats in Shelby County have the opportunity to determine their own needs, evaluate the effectiveness of past bylaws and leadership, elect officers and executive committee members, and enact reforms that will bring in new people and build a strong grassroots organization,” Mancini added.
Until the re-formation of the local Democratic Party is complete, the state party will hold funds of the local party in a trust.