Memphis City Council Accepts Charter Surrender

On February 10, 2011, in News 2011, by Mark Norris

By Tom Powell,
February 10, 2011


Council votes to accept MCS Charter Surrender
Resolution calls Mayor Wharton to start planning
County School Board Chair plans counteraction as early as Friday

(MEMPHIS 2/10/2011) — The Memphis City Council voted Thursday to pass a resolution accepting the surrender of the MCS charter.

Mayor A C Wharton says, in his legal opinion, the move means “MCS has gone out of business.” Wharton says the Norris Bill in Nashville, which passed in both the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee State Senate, left him angry. “When people in Memphis do things that the gods in Nashville don’t like, they change the rules,” Wharton says.

The council originally postponed a vote on the charter surrender resolution last week, to give time for negotiations to play out with lawmakers in Nashville. The council wanted Senator Mark Norris to reduce the time of the transition, and to change how the transition planning committee would be appointed.

Senator Norris did not change his bill. Norris says he is looking over what has taken place at Memphis City Hall. He says it would be premature to comment on the council’s vote at this time.

Shelby County School Board Chairman David Pickler says his board could bring a counteraction as early as Friday. “We’re working with our attorneys very aggressively,” he says. “We’re considering very closely the action of city council and we’ll be taking action very likely tomorrow.”

Council Chairman Myron Lowery and Mayor Wharton agree the issue will most likely wind up in court. “I don’t know who would bring it to court, but I welcome the court action,” Lowery says.

The council amended the original resolution accepting the charter surrender to include a line encouraging all Memphians to vote during the March 8th referendum. Lowery stresses he believes the vote still carries a great deal of significance. “This in no way will stop the vote,” he says.

Mayor Wharton is also encouraging voters to take part in the referendum election, but believes the council’s action would stand even without a vote. “Anytime the people vote it’s meaningful,” he says. “I would say that even if the people were not to vote, that this action stands on its own.”


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