VOL. 133 | NO. 173 | Friday, August 31, 2018
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, New County Commissioners Sworn In
Special to The Daily News
New Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and the 13 members of the Shelby County Commission were sworn in together – to show unity between the two bodies of government – Thursday afternoon at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.
The relationship between some county commissioners and outgoing Mayor Mark Luttrell had become strained in recent years. Harris said they planned Thursday’s ceremony to create more unity between the commission and him.
“We’re going to start together and hopefully stay together and work collaboratively,” Harris said. “I think all signs are positive.”
Until Thursday’s ceremony, there were usually multiple swearing-in ceremonies for county commissioners and the mayor.
Eight new commissioners were sworn in: Republicans Amber Mills, David Bradford, Mick Wright and Brandon Morrison and Democrats Michael Whaley, Tami Sawyer, current Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. and Mickell Lowery. The five returning commissioners sworn in for their second terms Thursday were Republican Mark Billingsley and Democrats Willie Brooks, Reginald Milton, Eddie Jones and Van Turner.
The county commissioners and Harris will take office Saturday, Sept. 1. Harris announced on Wednesday he will resign from his position as state senator effective at the end of the day Friday, Aug. 31, so that he is not officially serving in two elected positions at the same time.
Earlier Thursday, Shelby County charter and court clerks were sworn in at the Cannon Center – all of whom are Democrats. Outgoing county commissioner Melvin Burgess was sworn in as assessor of property, Wanda Halbert as county clerk, Shelandra Ford as register of deeds, and Regina Newman was sworn in as county trustee for a second time.
Temiika Gipson was sworn in as Circuit Court clerk, Heidi Kuhn as Criminal Court clerk, current City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove as Juvenile Court clerk and Bill Morrison as Probate Court clerk.