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VOL. 132 | NO. 49 | Thursday, March 9, 2017

Council Approves $6.1 Million Crime Grant

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.

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

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

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 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 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 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 its decision 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 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 until 10 p.m.

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.

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

PROPERTY SALES 74 196 20,828
MORTGAGES 86 244 23,989
BUILDING PERMITS 138 453 43,046
BANKRUPTCIES 64 174 13,354