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Resolution proposes City Charter changes to be sent to Tennessee General Assembly

By Bill Short

Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously adopted a resolution this week proposing three City Charter amendments that will be sent to the Tennessee General Assembly.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Mike Caruthers.
The first proposal would amend Article III, Section 3.01 of the Charter to change the date of the Millington city elections, which are currently conducted on the first Thursday in August every four years.
Beginning in 2016, they would be scheduled every two years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with the federal and state general elections.
During discussion Monday night, City Attorney Gerald Lawson said this would save money by eliminating a runoff election. He noted that, in races with more than two candidates, the one who receives a plurality of votes would be declared the winner.
The second proposal would amend Article IV, Section 4.01 of the Charter to establish staggered terms for the city’s seven aldermen.
On Nov. 8, 2016, alderman positions 1-4 would be up for re-election to a two-year term and positions 5-7 for a four-year term. The first four positions would be up for re-election to a four-year term in 2018 and the remaining three in 2020.
The mayor’s position would continue to be up for re-election every four years.
The third proposal would amend Article VIII, Section 8.06 of the Charter to abolish the city’s three-member Personnel Appeals Board.
Fired employees would appeal their cases directly to Shelby County Chancery Court, and the Tennessee Municipal League would pay the attorney fees.
Caruthers has said hearings conducted by the PAB cost “a lot of money,” because the city currently pays for the attorneys.
City Attorney Charles Perkins has said a number of municipalities that have the city manager form of government do not have personnel appeals boards. He has noted that an appeals board is “typically used” when an elected mayor is a municipality’s full-time administrator.
The proposed amendments will be sent to District 99 State Rep. Ron Lollar and District 32 State Sen. Mark Norris with a recommendation that they be adopted.
Article XI, Section 9 of the Tennessee Constitution states that a municipality can propose changes to its Charter by one of the following methods:
(1) a two-thirds vote of the local legislative body
(2) a majority of residents voting in a general or special election
Perkins has said the proposed amendments must be submitted for approval by both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly as a Private Act.
Gov. Bill Haslam would then have to sign the Private Act, and Secretary of State Tre Hargett would certify its adoption.
But to become effective, it would have to be ratified by at least five of the seven Millington aldermen within 60 days after it is signed by the governor.

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