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.
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.
Interim Shelby County Mayor