Flanked by his transition team, On March 6, 2024, Mayor Paul Young held a press event announcing the team’s recommendations. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/Tri-State Defender)

Last week, Memphis Mayor Paul Young unveiled a series of recommendations aimed at bolstering Memphis’s future, the result of an extensive effort by a volunteer transition team. The team’s suggestions, focused on growth strategies, are intended to be “a framework of evidence-based and community-focused guideposts.”

“Our community’s needs are the north star for our administration,” Young said in his weekly e-Newsletter. “These teams worked diligently to create something more than a report to be read once and filed away. They helped to create a framework… for our administration to use as we react and respond to our community.”

The transition team, comprised of 129 volunteers, worked on initiatives related to governance, economic development, youth support, neighborhood improvements, transportation, arts and culture, and public safety. Their work included focus groups, outreach to peer cities, and surveying area residents.

“The overall vibe from these teams was hopeful,” Young said. “They spoke about a city whose chief export was culture, they spoke about a city with the talent to do more, and their insights and suggested strategies for Memphis were strong.”

The transition team presented a total of 36 recommendations, backed by over 100 supporting documents. Some recommendations have already taken effect, including open community forums. Others, like using artificial intelligence and drones for public safety efforts, represent forward-thinking solutions. Many emphasized capacity-building and community wealth enhancement.

A key theme in the recommendations was putting Memphis residents first and breaking down operational silos within city government.

Young said the recommendations “are not an exhaustive list” of his administration’s priorities. “We are super proud of (the transition team’s) results and can’t wait to get to work bringing many of these recommendations to life,” Young said. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/Tri-State Defender)

“While these are not an exhaustive list of everything we will prioritize as an administration, we are super proud of (the transition team’s) results and can’t wait to get to work bringing many of these recommendations to life,” Young said.

The full document is embedded below, but here are some of the specific recommendations the Mayor’s Transition Team is looking to implement:

    • Recommendation #1:
      City Hall on the Go: Bring city services and decision-makers directly to residents through a mobile vehicle and scheduled events in every Memphis neighborhood.
    • Recommendation #2:
      Neighborhood Engagement: Utilize the Office of Community Affairs to maintain a calendar of engagement events, train staff on best practices in customer service and community interaction, leverage existing community organizations, and lead ongoing engagement through advisory boards.
    • Recommendation #3:
      Public-Facing Scorecard: Promote the City’s existing performance dashboards publicly, create a new scorecard for Mayor Young’s top priorities/campaign promises, and use multiple user-friendly avenues to report performance (ex: infographics, social media, audio/ video stories, presentations at community events, press releases).
    • Recommendation #4:
      Memphis Tech Renaissance: Leverage emerging technology tools (ex: AI) and Memphis’ tech talent pipeline to improve the user experience with the City’s website/online platforms and strengthen Memphis’ brand, workforce and economic development outcomes as an innovative tech hub.
    • Recommendation #5:
      Implement Efficient Foreign Language Support Systems: The Mayor’s Transition Team recommends that the city include language support systems such as professionally certified translators and translation for all public-facing materials for the top three growing foreign languages across the city: Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese; as well as provide ASL services where needed.