A political comeback is apparently in the works for former public services and neighborhoods director Kenneth Moody, who left office in 2009 with his patron, former Mayor Willie Herenton. And that will set up an interesting one-on-one contest in next year's Democratic primary for the job Moody seeks — that of Juvenile Court clerk.
Already an active Democratic candidate for the position is Shelby County commissioner Henri Brooks, whose campaign against what she saw as abuses at Juvenile Court resulted in a scathing Department of Justice report last year that has required extensive (and costly) fixes by the court.
The current Juvenile Court clerk, Joy Touliatos, is expected once again to be the Republican candidate for the office, facing the winner of the 2014 Democratic primary.
Confirming his intent to be a candidate, Moody acknowledged that, under his administration as public services director, serious problems developed in two city divisions under his general purview — the rape crisis center (MSARC) and the city animal shelter. Both divisions were administered by subordinates, but Moody said this week, "I take responsibility for what went on. I was director of public services."
Moody, now an administrator of a local security service, says he learned from that experience and "it has made me a better manager."
A former basketball star for the University of Memphis, Moody will have support from some influential allies, including Bank of Bartlett president Harold Byrd and local activist/philanthropist Gayle Rose, both longtime friends.
• Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg, a well-known Memphis activist in social and civic causes, is coming in for a double dose of statewide honors.
Wurzburg, an attorney, was recently honored by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) at its 50th anniversary celebration in Nashville for her longtime advocacy in civil and women's rights. The commission created a special award, to be called the Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award, which will be given to deserving recipients henceforth.
THRC executive director Beverly L. Watts said: "During this year of recognizing civil rights advocates throughout the state, the 50th anniversary co-chairs and I realized Jocelyn Wurzburg embodies civil rights ideals, principles, and dedication to equality. This award was presented to Jocelyn D. Wurzburg for her specific contributions to the commission and her dedication to equality. The board will present this award at its discretion to those who embody the dedication to equality."
Also a pioneer in the mediation process, Wurzburg was originally appointed to the THRC in 1971 by Governor Winfield Dunn and reappointed in 2007 by Governor Phil Bredesen. She authored the 1978 legislation that became the Tennessee Human Rights Act and transformed the commission from an advisory organization to one with power to litigate claims of discrimination.
Wurzburg is one of two Memphis figures who will be inaugurated into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame at the 10th annual Women's Economic Summit in Nashville this weekend. The other is former University of Memphis president Shirley Raines.
Germantown mayor Sharon Goldsworthy will also be prominent at the summit as a member of a mayors' panel discussing economic issues.