On July 11th, city councilman Myron Lowery will replace Willie Herenton as the mayor of Memphis. Lowery, 62 years old and retired from FedEx, will hold the job at least until a special election in October. He plans to be a candidate in that election while holding on to his council seat.
Flyer: Were you surprised last Thursday?
Lowery: I was thoroughly surprised. We've heard rumors for the past two years. It was beginning to sound like people were crying wolf. It looks like the mayor is sincere this time because he has applied for his pension and he's moving forward.
Have you met with him since the press conference?
Yes, I met with him after the meeting of the Shelby County Election Commission Thursday afternoon. He told me we would be meeting soon to talk about transition.
What are a couple of things you will do as mayor?
Change is already occurring. I made the statement that we had a lack of leadership in some areas of City Hall and I would be looking to replace ineffective leaders. The mayor said Thursday there would be additional resignations. Today, three more (Ken Moody, Yalanda McFadgon, and Michael Gray) resigned. I have not yet spoken to division directors, but those who are ineffective know how I feel through years of budget hearings and the questions I have raised.
There will be more transparency at City Hall. As a former journalist, I'm open to the media and I want division directors to feel free to meet with people. I will hit the ground running on some crucial issues. The fairgrounds and Bass Pro, those are two.
Will you replace directors with new people or people who are already there?
Case by case. I am not prepared to make a blanket statement.
Will you do fund-raising as interim mayor?
I'll take my cue from the county mayor, who says he is going to campaign in the evening. Obviously, I have to raise funds. I don't have a war chest as big as A C Wharton. I can't run on name recognition alone.
Will your yard signs say "Keep Mayor Lowery"?
I'll think about it. I'm in a unique position. Never in the history of this city has there been [one person acting as] chairman of the charter commission and City Council and mayor in the same year. I'm blessed.