Lonnie Treadaway withdrew his bid for the vacant Memphis City Council District 1 seat Wednesday at the council’s first daily standing meeting, called as an attempt to reach a quorum.
This comes a day after four council members supporting candidate Rhonda Logan staged a walkout during Tuesday’s meeting. That meeting was a continuation of the council's November 20th meeting that ended in a deadlock after nine hours of voting.
The council’s Wednesday meeting was the first of an indefinite number of standing meetings scheduled until there is a quorum, or at least seven of the 10 members. Council members Kemp Conrad, Ford Canale, Worth Morgan, Frank Colvett, and Chairman Berlin Boyd were in attendance, while the four who walked out Tuesday — Patrice Robinson, Martavious Jones, Jamita Swearengen, and Joe Brown — didn’t show.
Council Attorney Allen Wade read a statement on behalf of absent council member Reid Hedgepeth, who withdrew his support for Treadaway. Wade followed by announcing that Treadaway would be withdrawing as he doesn’t feel the council would reach a consensus between Logan and himself.
“There was a deadlock and neither one of us was going to get the seven votes,” Treadaway said. “The city couldn’t move forward, so I thought it would be best to withdraw my name. Hopefully, they can come up with a candidate that can lead the city forward. I got in this to help the city, so far be it from me to hold the city back.”
Wade advised the council that Conrad should withdraw the motion opening the floor back up to all six candidates, which prompted the walkout Tuesday, saying that it will “clear the air” and “put the burden on the others.” This would give the supporters of Treadaway a chance to change their minds and potentially vote for Logan. Conrad agreed.
“I’m a pragmatic kind of person,” Conrad said. “It was obvious there wasn’t going to be a consensus. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do. None of it is personal to me.”
Canale said he was “disappointed” in the meeting's turnout Wednesday.
“We’re here to do the city’s business,” Canale said. “I’m disappointed and I’m a little sad. We have a lot of stuff on our agenda from yesterday we haven’t even heard.”
The council began voting on a District 1 appointee in November, narrowing it down to the two top vote-getters: Logan, executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corp., and Treadaway, sales manager for Flinn Broadcasting Corp.
After the walkout and almost an hour of delay, the council discussed requesting attorneys for the city and Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) to file action in Chancery Court compelling the four members to attend the meeting so that business could continue. However, Wade said that’s not in the council’s purview, but that the respective attorneys could independently decide to take legal action.
“We’re trying to reach a compromise,” Wade said. “Nobody’s trying to make anybody be dragged to jail. I prefer they come back and we have a robust conversation.”
Now, the council will return to the vote for the District 1 seat at its December 18th meeting, in which it is also scheduled to fill the vacant Super District 8-2 and District 6 seats left vacant by Janis Fullilove and Edmund Ford Jr. in November.