Flinn: Change of Venue Not the Reason for Leaving Council

Councilman says he gave notice 8 years ago; so far one new name in the hat to succeed him


Shea Flinn - JB
  • JB
  • Shea Flinn

Shea Flinn may or may not accept a position at the Greater Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce. He may or not pursue some other direction in the business, civic, or political world of Memphis and Shelby County. Or he may just double down on his duties at Flinn Broadcasting, where he is the house lawyer and heir apparent.

And there’s no particular timetable for doing any of those things, he insisted.

The one thing Flinn has just announced he won’t do is run for another four-year term from Super District 9 on the Memphis City Council. And, despite rampant media speculation on the point, Flinn insists that none of the above-mentioned possibilities had anything to do with his decision.

“It’s kind of strange that people are wondering,” says Flinn. “I said back in 2007 when I first ran for the Council that I would only serve two terms. And when I ran for reelection four years ago, I made a point of repeating it – that I only intended to serve two terms. That’s all that’s involved here. Nothing else.”

Flinn did say, however, that his eight years on the Council, during which he was intimately involved with virtually every important matter that came before it, allowed him ample opportunity to intersect with the other bodies, private and public, that are involved in making crucial decisions. “The boards, commissions, agencies, and so forth, and it became obvious to me not only that there are limits on what the Council can do but that there are other ways of addressing the important issues and influencing developments.”

According to Flinn, his wife said she could consent, albeit reluctantly, to his seeking another Council term, but it was a different matter with his 10-year-old son, George Shea Flinn IV. "And the closer I got to the end of this term, the more I realized that not much would be lost if I let this whole thing turn back into a pumpkin."

The Councilman jested that he had been “a little bit insulted,” given the long-standing duration of the notices he had given regarding his departure, that reporters had not been as busy wondering about possible successors to him as they had been in the case of District 5 Councilman Jim Strickland, who is vacating his seat to run for mayor.

In fact, media speculation about a successor to Strickland had been ongoing for months, since it has been no secret for some time that he hankered to run for mayor. No such head-scratching had occurred in the case of Flinn, whose non-candidacy has been a rumor of late but did not become definite until he announced it on Wednesday morning on the Drake and Zeke morning radio show, FM 98.1.

Philip Spinosa Jr.
  • Philip Spinosa Jr.
Insofar as reporters have speculated, they have pretty much confined their suggestions to the known roster of candidates for the Strickland seat, any of whom could shift their fancy to Super District 9, which encompasses District 5. Petitions will be available at the Election Commission on April 17.

But at least one name of a potential Super- District 9 candidate has surfaced, that of Philip Spinosa, Jr., service sales manager at FedEx. More prospects will surely be forthcoming, however; and that particular hat will probably be filled in short order with the names of hopefuls.

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