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Council vote sets up final action on City Clerk election option

Memphis City Council members jumped another hurdle to possibly restore the City Clerk to an elected position, after unanimously approving a resolution to include the referendum question on this year’s city election ballot.

The council’s action took place during the body’s Tuesday (Aug. 8) meeting. If approved on third reading, the referendum would ask voters to undo an earlier council vote.

In June, members unanimously passed an ordinance vesting appointment power to the three Memphis City Court judges. The appointee would need council approval.

The vote also removed the clerk’s position from the upcoming ballot in October.

Current City Clerk Myron Lowery’s term ends with the calendar year.

Members were pressed into the ordinance, after an in-progress review of the City Charter by council attorney Allan Wade and city chief legal officer Jennifer Sink uncovered an inconsistency that originated in 1975.

That year, a referendum was passed to make the Clerk’s Office an elected position during a city election. The ballot question, however, should have taken place concurrently with a Shelby County election held during an even-numbered year.

Council members Tuesday were also like-minded about a referendum ordinance asking Memphians if city employees should be required to live within Shelby County limits. It also passed unanimously in its second reading.

If approved in its third reading, the question will also be included on October’s ballot.

City elections are Oct. 5.

According to the City of Memphis Human Resource Department website residency requirement webpage, as of Jan. 3, 2011, all City of Memphis Government employees have been required to be residents of the county. The exceptions are those hired before Jan. 3, 2005, who can reside outside the boundaries.

The requirement also makes exceptions for police officers.

Both consent agenda items were sponsored by Chairman Martavius Jones.

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