Lowery picks old-hands

As Zack McMillin is reporting, names have already started surfacing for City Council chairman Myron Lowery's transition team, if and when he takes over as interim Memphis mayor.

And this Eye on City Hall blogger finds it interesting that the names trickling out so far -- former City Councilman Jack Sammons and current Councilman Bill Boyd -- have such extensive history in local government.

Lowery has confirmed he will run in the special election to replace Mayor Willie Herenton, if he resigns in July.

And so far, his picks send a different message than the call for change some of the other mayoral hopefuls have made.

Sammons, a four-term former councilman, is rumored to be Lowery's pick for chief administrative officer - although Lowery has only confirmed that Sammons will be part of the team.

Sammons, 53, who runs a hair-product company, served 16 years on the council before deciding not to run for council re-election in 2007. He told The Commercial Appeal that he wanted to step out of public life and spend more time with his family.

But it didn't long for him to step back into the spotlight. When former City Councilman Scott McMormick stepped down last summer to take a job with the Plough Foundation, Sammons stepped in as his temporary replacement.

A longtime critic of Herenton, Sammons has also long held mayoral ambitions. And though he has never run for city mayor, he ran as an independent candidate for the 1994 county mayor's race.

Meanwhile, Boyd, 73, has arguably deeper roots to local government -- his great-great grandfather, Marcus B. Winchester, was the first mayor of Memphis.

Before his election to the council in 2007, Boyd was actively involved in the local political scene and served three terms in the county assessor's office, starting in 1976.

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As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at www.MemphisNewsBlog.com, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at zmcmillin@commercialappeal.com or 529-2564.

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