By Bill Short
Missy Boyd Ervin tendered her resignation as an alderman-elect last week as the result of an issue that arose after last month’s city elections.
In a Dec. 22 letter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Ervin said her resignation will be effective on New Year’s Day.
Although she defeated Position 1 Alderman Bethany Huffman’s bid for a second term on Nov. 8, Ervin is a Special Education assistant at Millington Elementary School.
Section 3.04 of the Millington City Charter states that any city employee, other than an elected official, who seeks an elected city position must resign from that job no later than the date on which the candidate’s qualifying petition is filed with the Shelby County Election Commission.
And a Tennessee attorney general’s opinion states that employees of a municipal school system are employees of the city in which the system is located.
Although Position 2 Alderman Hank Hawkins won a second term last month by defeating Al Bell, he is a teacher at Millington Central High School. So, he announced at the Dec. 12 board meeting that his resignation as an alderman will also be effective on New Year’s Day.
When Hawkins was first elected in August 2012, he was a longtime employee of the Shelby County School System. But when Millington created a municipal school system by ordinance in 2013, he became an employee of that system.
City Attorney Charles Perkins has said Hawkins’ service for the remainder of his current term was “not in question,” because a “constitutional provision” prohibited that term from being “shortened.”
But prior to the Dec. 12 meeting, Perkins gave each of the board members a written opinion stating the city’s position that Hawkins could not continue to serve as both an alderman and an employee of the school system.
Newly re-elected Mayor Terry Jones and five aldermen will be sworn in during a ceremony at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day in the Board Chamber at City Hall.
Immediately after the ceremony, the board members will conduct a special called meeting to officially accept the two resignations and approve a motion declaring that a vacancy has occurred in alderman Positions 1 and 2.
The City Charter allows the board 30 days to appoint residents who are “eligible for election” to those positions to serve in them until the next regularly scheduled election.
Earlier this year, the board and the Tennessee General Assembly approved an amendment to the Charter that established staggered terms for the aldermen.
On Nov. 8, alderman positions 1-4 were 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.