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VOL. 132 | NO. 48 | Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Council Approves Crime Commission Grant for Police Retention Bonuses

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, March 7, a $6.1 million four-year grant from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission to Memphis police for retention bonuses.

And the council moved a step closer to final approval later this month of changes to the city’s impasse proceeding for resolving stalled contract talks between unions and the city administration. The ordinance with the changes was approved Tuesday on the second of three readings.

The changes are opposed by every union representing municipal workers.

And the Memphis Police Association has been critical of the grant from anonymous private donors for “circumventing” contract talks. Mayor Jim Strickland has said the grant does not violate the ground rules for contract negotiations.

The council also approved the appointment of Manny Belen as city engineer. Belen had been serving in the post on an interim basis.

And the council approved an annual salary of $112,207 for Memphis Light Gas and Water Division’s plan to hire Clifton Davis, Shelby County government’s administrator of purchasing, as the utility’s manager of procurement and contracts.

Davis has been purchasing administrator for county government for 12 of his 30 years in county government.

Council member Martavius Jones questioned Davis closely on county government’s disparity study that showed a low percentage of county government contracts going to minority-owned and locally owned businesses.

“I don’t want anybody to go into MLGW and mess up what is the best thing we have going on,” Jones said. “They are doing it better than anybody. You were over purchasing at Shelby County government especially during the time when they had abysmal numbers.”

Davis said the county recently made changes in its contracting goals based on the disparity study that should improve the percentages.

He said his hands were tied by restrictive regulations.

Council members also talked with U.S. Postal Service officials in Tuesday’s executive session about the move by the USPS to close the Louis Carruthers Post Office at Memphis International Airport by the end of April.

The postal service has been leasing the space from the airport authority and the airport authority wants the property and will not be renewing the lease.

Council member Patrice Robinson, whose district includes the post office, complained that there won’t be another manned postal facility in the city that is open to 10 p.m. with the closing at the airport.

The mail processing part of the facility will move to Holiday City and local postal officials are looking for a 3,000 square foot location for retail services.

In both cases, the facilities will close to the public at 6 p.m. at the latest.

A move of the retail services to the Winchester Commons shopping center at Hacks Cross Road is one possibility.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220