Sunday, July 22, 2012

Roland a candidate for Commission Chairman?

So he says, and Millington’s “Mr. Congeniality” seems to be serious.

Posted By on Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Terry Roland
  • JB
  • Terry Roland
As indicated both online and in the Flyer's "Politics" column last week, the Shelby County Commission is now riven by factionalism to the degree that agreement on significant issues is difficult.

One case in point is the interminable squabble over redistricting, which continues despite what had seemed a definitive ruling in favor of a single-member-district plan by Chancellor Arnold Goldin.

It is still likely to be a done deal, if Goldin disposes quickly of a fresh Commission motion that he reconsider his judgment, which was based on what he saw as the primacy of state law over the requirements of the county charter.(The difference is that state law requires a simple majority on third and final reading of a reapportionment resolution, the charter a two-thirds majority.)

Another issue on which disagreement is rife is that of who is to chair this contentious bunch during the next year? Four names were put into the hat during a lengthy meeting last Monday, and none came out with the seven votes needed.

The decision was put off for two weeks, with the known candidates being current chairman Sidney Chism and Henri Brooks, both Democrats; and Wyatt Bunker and Mike Ritz, both Republicans.

Well, guess what? Millington Republican Terry Roland, a.k.a. “Mr. Congeniality,” has decided to throw his hat into the ring.

“People were wondering why I didn’t want to vote the other day for Wyatt Bunker,” Roland says. (Actually, people weren’t wondering; the two suburban Republicans have had profound disagreements, one of which —over redistricting— almost got physical and prompted Bunker to call the cops on Roland.)

“Well,” Roland continues, “I’ll give ‘em something else to wonder about. I am now a candidate for chairman.”

Though several of his colleagues are likely to be surprised (or even concerned), the idea of a candidacy by the colorful and controversial Roland is not as far-fetched as it seems at first blush. Roland has, after all, been shrewd enough to form situational alliances on specific issues with Democrats, and, on most hard-core GOP issues, he makes common cause with his fellow Republicans.

As far as his short fuse is concerned, Roland has threatened at least one Democratic colleague, too (maybe playfully), making him something of an equal-opportunity bully boy.

And the fact is, Roland came as close as anybody else, this side of Judge Goldin, to brokering an agreement on redistricting.

At the very least, his candidacy may lend the next meeting of the Commission an entertainment quotient to make more tolerable what is likely to be a(nother) lengthy affair.

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