VOL. 132 | NO. 241 | Wednesday, December 6, 2017
City Council Gives Final Approval to RCV Repeal Referendum in November
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council members gave final approval Tuesday, Dec. 5, to a November 2018 referendum that would repeal the use of ranked-choice voting in some city council races starting with the 2019 city elections.
And the council approved on the first of three readings another referendum for the November ballot that would extend the current limit of two consecutive terms of office for council members as well as the mayor to a three-term limit starting with the 2019 elections.
The final vote on the RCV ballot question was the centerpiece of a busy council session with critics of the attempted repeal a vocal presence at City Hall.
Council member Bill Morrison, the sponsor of the term limits extension referendum question, confirmed Tuesday that if the expansion of term limits goes on the ballot in November and if voters approve it, it would apply to six current council members who are currently serving their second consecutive term of office. That would mean they could seek a third term of office in the 2019 elections.
The wording of the referendum ordinance also changed from its initial draft to extend the limit of two consecutive terms on the mayor’s office to permit a mayor to serve three terms.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland reacted to the change by saying he has no intention of serving more than two terms even if the extension is approved by voters.
“I respect whatever decision the council makes, but my record on this has been clear: I voted for the two-term limit at the ballot box, and I would only serve two terms at most as mayor even if the council and citizens vote for this change,” Strickland said in a written statement.
As expected council members delayed a vote Tuesday on a proposed expansion of a Frayser landfill for construction material until its last meeting of the year on Dec. 19. But council member Frank Colvett said Memphis Wrecking, the company seeking the expansion of the landfill to land next to Whitney Achievement Elementary School, is seeking alternate sites and might drop the proposal if it finds another site.