By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution last week that ratifies a Private Act amending the city’s Charter.
Board members took the action during an April 19 special called meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Chris Ford and seconded by Alderman Larry Dagen. The motion was passed by five affirmative votes, with Aldermen Bethany Huffman and Thomas McGhee absent.
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
At its Dec. 14, 2015 meeting, the board voted unanimously to submit three proposed Charter amendments to the 109th session of the Tennessee General Assembly for approval by both houses as a Private Act.
Earlier this month, the state legislature enacted Chapter 32 of the Private Acts of 2016.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed Private Chapter 32 on April 7, and Secretary of State Tre Hargett certified its adoption on April 14. But to become effective, it had to be ratified by at least five of the seven Millington aldermen within 60 days after it was signed by the governor.
The resolution directs Mayor Terry Jones to “certify” the board’s action to Hargett.
Article III, Section 3.01 of the Charter is now amended to change the date of the Millington city elections, which have been conducted on the first Thursday in August every four years.
Beginning this year, they will be scheduled every two years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with the federal and state general elections.
City Attorney Gerald Lawson has said this will save money by eliminating a runoff election. So, in races with more than two candidates, the one who receives a plurality of votes will be declared the winner.
Article IV, Section 4.01 of the Charter is amended to establish staggered terms for the city’s aldermen.
On Nov. 8, alderman positions 1-4 will be up for re-election to a two-year term and positions 5-7 for a four-year term. The first four positions will be up for re-election to a four-year term in 2018 and the remaining three in 2020.
The mayor’s position will continue to be up for re-election every four years.
Article VIII, Section 8.06 of the Charter is amended to abolish the city’s three-member Personnel Appeals Board.
Fired employees will now appeal their cases directly to a court in Shelby County, and the Tennessee Municipal League will pay the attorney fees.
Alderman Mike Caruthers has said hearings conducted by the PAB cost “a lot of money,” because the city was paying 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.