Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Morgan Got Some Answers on Election Money But Not All

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2019 at 10:16 AM

click to enlarge Budget season is now underway at Memphis City Hall.
  • Budget season is now underway at Memphis City Hall.

Memphis City Council member Worth Morgan did not hold the city council’s portion of the budget during talks yesterday but said if “significant progress” is not made on a review of the funds spent for an council-led “education campaign” last year, he’ll revive the issue.

Five council members approved spending about $40,000 on a “public information campaign” on three referenda to “explain their potential benefits” of them and “counter some of the misinformation presented.” The campaign was to answer what council members described as a flood of phone calls to their office from the public about the referenda. (Get more details about the campaign in the linked stories below.)
click to enlarge Morgan
  • Morgan

Three council members — Ford Canale, Kemp Conrad, and Worth Morgan — voted against the campaign. At the time, Morgan promised that ”every dollar spent by the chairman on this informational campaign will be tracked, accounted for, and made easily available to the public.”

He said last week, he’d be in favor of holding the council’s portion of the budget this year until he had more answers. He got some answers, he said, and did not hold a vote on the council’s budget during a budget committee meeting Monday. However, he said he’d bring the issue up again later if “significant progress” was not made to clarify his questions.

Here’s what Morgan said during that budget committee meeting Monday:

“There’d been some discussion dealing with me about this city council budget until we had a full accounting of how some of the money was spent last year, specifically the public referenda campaign.

"We didn’t quite have the answers yet. But there’s been some sincere movement forward on that issue. I’ve called Deidre Malone today. She was very responsive. But we weren’t able to connect. We traded voice mails; trying to shine some light.



"Now I have the financial disclosure statements from the city council referendum committee, from the Diversity Memphis (political action committee — PAC), as well as invoices from the Carter Malone Group and the city of Memphis.
"So, I have a lot more information than we did before. And I’m happy to share it. It’s just some of the information in the numbers that don’t match up on how things were spent. So, we’re still trying to track down exactly what of that $40,000…how it was spent.

"I think that’s something that we promised to the people when we did the campaign, at least I did. I think most people agreed to it in executive committee.
"There was some discussion about…if we didn’t have those answers by today, would we delay this vote? I’m not interested in making that motion or holding [the budget]. But I just wanted to put that out there.

"If anybody has questions about those invoices or those disclosures, I’m happy to share them. We’re going to continue to be tracking it down.

"If we don’t make significant progress again in the next two weeks or four weeks, I think it might be a better place to have this discussion in the audit committee.”

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