Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Commission Defers Action on Two Key Issues

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 1:35 AM

Clockwise from top left: Commissioners Steve Mulroy, Heidi Shafer, Sidney Chism, and Terry Roland
  • JB
  • Clockwise from top left: Commissioners Steve Mulroy, Heidi Shafer, Sidney Chism, and Terry Roland
. On Monday, a day that was destined to see momentous decisions made elsewhere in the Memphis social/political firmament, the Shelby County Commission, perhaps wisely punted some of its remaining year-end issues down the road — voting to put off naming an interim state representative for the seat of the late Ulysses Jones and backing off from a vote on overriding a key veto by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

The veto was of a resolution, introduced last month by Commissioner Heidi Shafer and narrowly passed, that would allow county departments to opt in or out, at will, of Luttrell’s proposed new unified county office for IT services. Shafer had seven votes for passage, but seemed to have encountered difficulty picking up the eighth vote she needed for an override.

The question became moot when most commissioners, clearly as much for convenience as for conviction, decided to support a delay proposed by Commissioner Henri Brooks, who wanted to wait until the state Attorney General could advisory on the likelihood of lawsuits from department heads relating to the effect of IT unification on their proprietary computer information.

Unless Attorney General Robert Cooper states an opinion in time for the commission to hold a special meeting before the end of the year, the veto automatically becomes permanent.

The postponement of naming a successor to Rep. Jones until the commission’s January 24 meeting means, as commission members conceded, that the winner of the January 20 Democratic primary will be appointed as interim representative a week or so after the General Assembly is getting down to serious business.

The field of candidates includes Antonio ‘2-Shay’ Parkinson, Stephanie Gatewood, Jannie C. Foster, and Brenda Oats-Williams, with the actual race most likely to be between Parkinson and Gatewood.

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