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Council chooses new leaders with ease

Memphis City Council members had no trouble filling their leadership posts for the 2023 year, after members Martavius Jones and JB Smiley Jr. were picked for the council chair and vice chair positions, respectively, during the body’s Tuesday (Nov. 15) meeting.

Each nomination was approved through unanimous rounds of applause.

Smiley, who came up short this summer in a bid for the Democratic party’s nomination for governor, nominated Jones. 

“I think he’s done an excellent job filling in the shoes of Councilwoman (Jamita) Swearengen. I would like him to serve a full term,” said Smiley.

While serving as council vice chair in 2022, Jones filled in after former chair Swearengen resigned her District 4 seat. She was elected Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk in August.

He also was recently the lone no vote for the eventual approval of Doug McGowen as the new CEO and President of MLGW. The second-term councilman criticized the nomination process after Mayor Jim Strickland presented the outgoing Memphis COO as the nominee, without first conducting a nationwide search.

Jones pointed out that other nominees to posts, like police chief, have been part of a national search.

Jones’ approval was followed by council member Jeff Warren’s nomination of Smiley. Council member Frank Colvett, a former chair, moved to close the nomination by “acclamation.”

Jones is in his second and final term on the council.

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