Joe Ford releases statement on consolidation

Interim county mayor Joe Ford, the Democratic county mayoral nominee, sent a statement last night elaborating on his anti-consolidation stance. In Tuesday's forum with Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell, the Republican nominee, Ford pressed Luttrell hard on his views on consolidation, with Luttrell saying he will wait until the Memphis and Shelby County Metropolitan Charter Commission completes its work before making a judgment. By the way, the Charter Commission yesterday approved much-stronger ethics language for the charter, including anti-nepotism provisions; here are Clay Bailey's stories this week about charter commission:

Consolidation commission recommends tougher ethics language in charter
Charter panel to discuss services under consolidation

Find Ford's full statement below. We put Luttrell's expanded comments about consolidation on the blog here earlier this week. Ford clearly intends to be very aggressive on this issue, although as Luttrell points out, the charter will not even be finished before the Aug. 5 election.  It is on the Nov. 2 ballot, and the county mayor has no official role to play.


JOE FORD
FOR COUNTY MAYOR
For Immediate Release
May 12, 2010
Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford Shares His Views on Government Merger

Much has been said about why I am against Memphis and Shelby County government consolidation, the majority of which - that I am pandering to the suburban vote - is completely untrue. Let me state clearly and for the record a few of my views on consolidation and the proposed plan for Memphis and Shelby County government merger.

Can we improve on what government is currently doing? Yes. Can we seek ways to be more efficient in delivering services to residents? Yes. Is consolidation the answer to doing so? No. However, the decision to form a new government based on a consolidation charter developed by the Memphis and Shelby County Metropolitan Government Charter Commission rests with the voters of Memphis and Shelby County. I have always communicated this and will continue to urge all citizens to do their part in making their opinions on the matter known. We all have the power of one vote and we should employ this power wisely.

There is no proof that consolidation is a cost saving venture. There are no studies to confirm that the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County will realize a tax savings by merging governments. As an elected official, it is my duty to evaluate measures that will save taxpayers money and place my full support behind such measures. Consolidation does not save dollars; in fact, we can be assured that an increase will be experienced, particularity by those residing in unincorporated Shelby County and the city of Memphis.

Furthermore, I am greatly concerned about the direction the Memphis and Shelby County Metropolitan Government Charter Commission is moving with proposed plans for consolidation; specifically, the elimination of civil service protections for current government workers and the diminishment of retirement benefits for public servants. I believe our current civil service system should continue as is to provide for a fair and consistent personnel management system for all employees.

In the coming weeks, I plan to share more of my views on consolidation and why I believe the merging of Memphis and Shelby County governments is not a good idea for the over 900,000 residents that I represent.

Joe Ford
Interim Shelby County Mayor 

4 Comments

Joe is right about this.

"There is no proof that consolidation is a cost saving venture. There are no studies to confirm that the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County will realize a tax savings by merging governments. As an elected official, it is my duty to evaluate measures that will save taxpayers money and place my full support behind such measures. Consolidation does not save dollars; in fact, we can be assured that an increase will be experienced, particularity by those residing in unincorporated Shelby County and the city of Memphis."

Joe Ford is against consolidation because his sponsors, those who profit off of urban sprawl, can influence County government better than city government, especially if one of their stooges like Joe Ford is in the County Mayor's seat.

If Joe is elected in August, watch lots of zoning changes happen, especially near 385 exits on the East side. You will then see forests cut down and large developments of modest houses. This will then have an adverse affect on the inner City with people steadily moving east but with no increase in population.

The opposition like to say cosolidation won't save dollars, but they need to take a look at the Nashville tax rate and compare it to ours. They want to obsess over money because they know that on all other issues they are clear losers - improved leaders, smaller districts, seamless law enforcement, better economic development, etc.

Also, Joe seems to be schizophrenic. The one in the public stumbles over an language but the scholar writing statements is altogether different. We look like we're in for one of those campaigns where the candidate says one thing that is quickly clarified by his staff after the fact to make him sound coherent and logical.

Just what exactly honestly stimulated you to publish “Joe Ford releases
statement on consolidation - Eye on Schools Merger”?
I reallycertainly enjoyed the blog post! Many thanks -Connie

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