Council Resumes Business With Six Members

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In a fourth attempt to reach a quorum, six of the 10 Memphis City Council members reconvened Tuesday morning and succeeded.


Council Attorney Allan Wade told the council that after reviewing the city charter, it’s his opinion that the six members present are sufficient for a quorum of “duly elected officials” because the council is currently a 10-member body.


Wade said that he received a contrary opinion from Councilman Martavious Jones, which he will review, but maintains his opinion that there is a quorum and city transactions can continue.


Attorney Ricky Wilkins tried to speak on behalf of the four absent council members, but was shot down by Chairman Berlin Boyd, who said if his colleagues wish to speak, they should be in attendance. Wilkins was told to hold his comment until the end of the meeting.


At the advice of Wade, the council moved forward Tuesday with some of the items on the the council’s 56-item December 4th agenda. Wade said the council wouldn’t be able to vote on the city ordinances on the agenda, as those require seven votes to pass. But, resolutions are fair game.


This comes after supporters of candidate Rhonda Logan for the vacant District 1 seat —  council member Patrice Robinson, Jamita Swearengen, Joe Brown, and Jones — staged a walkout last week after the council passed a motion to open the floor back up to all six candidates who'd submitted their names for the post.


Beginning Wednesday, the council held daily meetings with the hope of reaching a quorum and voting on the December 4th agenda.


Council members Worth Morgan, J Ford Canale, Frank Colvett Jr., and Kemp Conrad were the only members present at all of last week’s meetings. Throughout the week, the four expressed disappointment, sadness, and embarrassment over the stalemate and inability of the remaining members to conduct the city’s business.


Boyd, who missed Thursday’s meeting, said on Friday that the council would find a way to move forward on Tuesday.


The walkout and boycott were sparked by the heated vote for the vacant District 1 seat left by Bill Morrison last month. After narrowing the pool down to the two top vote-getters, Logan, executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corp., and Lonnie Treadaway, sales manager for Flinn Broadcasting Corp, the council voted in more than 100 rounds during the nine-hour meeting on November 20th.


Logan was supported by council members Robinson, Swearengen, Brown, and Martavious Jones, as well as Edmund Ford Jr. and Janis Fullilove who resigned late last month. Logan consistently received six votes, one shy of the number needed to win the seat.


Treadaway garnered support from Morgan, Colvett, and Reid Hedgepeth, who later dropped his support for Treadaway. Losing that support, Treadaway pulled his bid for the seat on Wednesday, saying that “it’s best for the city.”


“There was a deadlock and neither one of us was going to get the seven votes,” Treadaway said Wednesday. “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.”


The council is now set to fill the vacant District 1, Super District 8-2, and District 6 seats on its last meeting of the year, on December 18th.

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