VOL. 132 | NO. 37 | Tuesday, February 21, 2017
City Council to Take First Vote on Impasse Changes
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council members take their first vote Tuesday, Feb. 21, on changes to the city’s impasse ordinance.
The ordinance is a set of rules governing how the council settles deadlocked contract talks between the city administration and municipal labor unions without the council venturing into negotiations between the two sides.
The impasse procedure was established in a 1978 charter amendment following police and fire strikes that same year.
Council member Kemp Conrad is proposing changes in the specific rules that would return the impasse committees of three council members to one selected by the unions and one by the administration with those two council members selecting a third council member.
A single impasse committee would hear and make recommendations to the full council on all contract impasses on economic issues instead of a separate impasse committee for each group of city employees at impasse with the administration.
And unions at impasse would each submit a resolution spelling out how the council must amend the city budget if the full council chose to accept the union’s position.
Conrad said his changes to a process that has been amended many times since 1978 would “streamline” the process, give more time for the city and unions to resolve conflicts and align the impasse procedure with budget decisions.
All of the city’s municipal unions have come out against the changes. They object in particular to a single committee to hear all of the impasses and argue it isn’t there job to come up with line items in the city budget.
The first of three readings of the ordinance is on the council’s consent agenda -- a single vote on a set of unrelated items with no debate.
The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. Follow the meeting @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for live coverage and update from council committee sessions earlier in the council day.
Also on the consent agenda Tuesday for the first of three readings is an ordinance that would set new regulations for false alarms.
Planning and development items on the council agenda include a restaurant bar with indoor recreation at 2166 Central Ave. by a development group called Ice House. The building east of the intersection with S. Cooper Street was formerly an ice house.
The council also votes Tuesday on a motorcycle club house for the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Memphis at 2729 Walnut Road, north of James Road.
The council has its third discussion about the Beale Street entertainment district in five weeks at a 9:15 a.m. committee session. Council members are getting a better feel for how the district operates under the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority created just before the current council took office in 2016.
In the two previous discussions, council members have also questioned the complex arrangement, the Downtown Memphis Commission’s three-years and running tenure as day-to-day manager of the district and whether the district reflects its status as a center of black culture and history.
The council gets a briefing in an 11:15 a.m. committee session on efforts by the Community LIFT organization to strengthen community development corporations across the city.
The CDCs, as they are known, are chartered organizations that can oversee and help facilitate to some degree redevelopment of an area, helping to leverage private investment. But it can be difficult for CDCs to achieve a greater scale of redevelopment beyond single projects.