Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Indicted Council Member Barbara Swearengen Ware Resigns

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Barbara Swearengen Ware
  • Barbara Swearengen Ware
Barbara Swearengen Ware, a key City Council member who was been under suspension since her indictment last October on charges of official misconduct, has resigned from office, even though she had indicated just last week that she intended to run for reelection.

Adopting the locution employed by former Mayor Willie Herenton when he left office in July 2009, Ware characterized her departure as a retirement.

Ina letter to city Human Resources director Quintin Robinson and Council chairman Myron Lowery, Ware said, “The decision to retire and leave my constituents, colleagues, and the other hard working and dedicated city employees is heart wrenching, but I sincerely believe it is the right thing to do.”

Ware, who represented District 7 in North Memphis, was considered a lynchpin of the Council’s African American members and a major agent of consensus on the Council. But her service was halted after she was charged in October of using her influence to secure automobile registrations, over a period of years, without going through the required inspection process.

Various members of the Shelby County Clerk’s office were also indicted and charged with bribery for receiving modest gratuities — usually in the amount of $5 — for assisting Ware in skirting the registration process.

Ware’s withdrawal from the city election process makes a free-for-all race in District 7 inevitable. Filing deadline is July 21. Meanwhile, Council chairman Myron Lowery said that the Council would name an interim replacement during the next 30 days.

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