Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Memphis City Council: Smiley Requests Ethics Review of Ford After Tense Meeting

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 4:23 PM

  • City of Memphis
  • Smiley
A Memphis City Council member has filed an ethics complaint against another council member for behavior displayed during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Council member J.B. Smiley filed the complaint against Edmund Ford Sr. for his behavior toward a member of Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration and for “using profanity and personal insults” toward another council member.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ford had harsh words for Robert Knecht, the city’s public works director, over contracts to cut grass in cemeteries. Ford also squabbled with council member Martavius Jones in a tense debate over that day’s election of Frank Colvett Jr. as the council’s new chairman.

Smiley asked current council chairwoman Patrice Robinson to convene a three-person ethics committee to review the matter.
  • City of Memphis
  • Ford

Smiley also wants an amendment to ban council members from making “personal, impertinent, slanderous, or profane remarks to any member of the council, administration, staff, or public during a council meeting.”

”… there are certain behaviors that we cannot and should not allow to continue,” Smiley wrote in his letter Wednesday. “I have witnessed a pattern of verbally abusive behavior toward the administration and our very own colleagues. Enough is enough. I am asking you and the rest of this body to put an end to this blatant disrespect and dishonor for individuals and the offices we hold.”

For his amendment, Smiley explains that the Memphis public is now held to a level of decorum not required of council members. Members of the public cannot take the floor of any council meetings and “make personal, impertinent, slanderous, or profane remarks to any member of the council, staff, or general public.” This kind of talk and disorderly conduct can get members of the public removed from the council chamber and committee room.

”Let this be the last time it can ever be said that the Memphis City Council does not hold itself to a higher standard than we hold the constituents we serve,” Smiley said.

See the letter and amendment here:

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