Higgs fills out form to be interim mayor

Criminal Court Judge W. Otis Higgs Jr. has turned in an application to become interim Shelby County Mayor.

So far, Higgs is the only new candidate to take the formal step of filling out an application for the appointment since the County Commission repeatedly deadlocked last week in votes between Joe Ford and J.W. Gibson II.

But there could be surprises at the special County Commission meeting that starts at 4 p.m.. Commissioners will try once again to fill the slot.

Other alternate candidates who've been mentioned for the interim mayor's role include Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons and former Memphis City Councilman John Vergos.

Commissioners are picking someone to fill the remaining term of A C Wharton, who left office to become mayor of Memphis. The person selected would serve until Sept. 1, 2010, when the person chosen by voters would take office.

Higgs has presided over many notable criminal cases, including the Forest Hill funeral home fraud case, which is ongoing.

The 72-year-old earned a law degree from University of Memphis law school.

His resume includes stints as a public defender, as a divorce referee, as a law school professor and even interim Shelby County Sheriff.

He's also pastor of Collins Chapel CME Church and hosts a radio show on WLOK.

In response to an application question about his financial affairs, Higgs wrote that he's been "approved for an installment agreement program with the IRS." He also mentioned that he faces general sessions court complaint filed by a bank and says his attorney is vigorously defending the case.

  • About memphisnewsblog.com

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.

  • Zack McMillin on Twitter