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VOL. 133 | NO. 10 | Friday, January 12, 2018

Shelby County Commission To Have New Majority in September

By Bill Dries

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District 2 Shelby County commissioner George Chism will not be seeking a second term on the commission in the 2018 county elections.

Chism has pulled a petition to run in the May Republican primary for Trustee. And the decision means the 13-member commission that takes office Sept. 1 will see a turnover of at least seven seats.

With his financial background as a mortgage banker with Patriot Bank in Collierville and incumbent trustee David Lenoir running for Shelby County Mayor this year, Chism said the decision was an easy one.

Chism ran for the commission in 2014 as county government was finding its legs in dealing with its part of the merger of public schools in Shelby County and then the demerger of public education into a set of six suburban school districts – all of them funded to some degree by county government along with Shelby County Schools.

“When the schools and the municipalities were happening I felt it was important to be on the commission,” Chism said. “The commission is what it is. I get frustrated at times but I think we’ve done a good job.”

Chism said he wants to continue the financial literacy programs Lenoir has established in addition to the basic duties of the office that collects taxes and which Lenoir and past trustees have referred to as being “the county’s banker.”

The trustee’s financial figures are among those used by the county administration and commissioners to determine the county property tax rate and the county budget’s critical balance of revenue, expenditures and debt.

Chism’s decision means a new majority on the commission.

Commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer and commissioners Terry Roland, Melvin Burgess, Walter Bailey, Justin Ford are in their second terms of office and term limited as a result. Commissioner David Reaves announced late last year that he would not seek a second term.

In other political developments, Roland pulled his qualifying petition Thursday to run in the Republican primary for county mayor. Roland announced his political intentions and began campaigning last year.

Meanwhile, in the Republican primary race for County Clerk, Danny Kail is about to withdraw from the race and his wife, Sohelia Kail, a manager and auditor with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office who has also held a similar position in the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office, picked up a petition Thursday, Jan. 11, to run in the primary.

Danny Kail, an attorney and chief administrative officer with the Criminal Court Clerk’s office, said he and his wife made the decision and decided she was the better candidate of the two to seek the office now held by Republican Wayne Mashburn. Mashburn is term limited and is running for Register in the May primaries.

“Based on just such an incredible amount of support and encouragement and a willingness to raise money, we’ve decided as a group to go ahead and run her instead of me,” Danny Kail said. “We do everything together anyway so it’s not like we run an independent campaign.”

In other election developments, attorneys Jennifer J. Mitchell and Handel Durham were the first to pull petitions this week to run for Criminal Court Judge. They pulled the day after Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Deputy District Attorney General Jennifer Nichols to the vacancy created by the retirement last month of Judge James Beasley Jr.

Circuit Court Judge Mary Wagner filed her petition for election to the judge’s position Haslam appointed her to last year.

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