Wharton administration says city employees need to “chill out” about budget cut concerns

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City employees are turning their backs turned on city hall and an administration they say has turned their backs on them.

They came with homemade signs, t-shirts, and a message for Mayor A C Wharton.

Heater File helped organize the protest.

She said, “Nothing is going to keep us from fighting this until the vote is reversed.”

This group got its start online after the City Council voted to cut city employee benefits.

File said it was time for action.

“We can keep posting and posting or not standing for anything else.”

Tuesday, they took their frustrations to the streets. Circling city hall, they came together and prayed.

Kenneth Whalon, Jr., lead the prayer, saying, “Lord, I come now asking for a miracle. Because they say this decision is final.”

Inside city hall, Mayor Wharton’s chief administrative officer said this decision wasn’t popular, but it was the only one presented. And it’s final.

“If everybody can just chill out we can take a deep breath and exhale and if we work together we can work through this.”

He said it was this or raise property taxes, an option that was even less popular and productive.

“Let’s say for a second we did that what are we going to do next year and the year after this isn’t like you put the money down in the problem goes away.”

But protestors say the new budget has created new problems for their families and the city seems to be ignoring that.

File said, “They strap on vests, they strap on fire gear, they lay their lives down for this city.”

This problem doesn’t appear to be going away either. The mayor’s administration say undoing this budget goes against state law, and they’ve still got the pension to deal with.

38 comments

  • langor1

    I guess people aren’t very “chill” when you take away their contractual benefits while at the same time preserving your own.

  • Average Joe

    It was either employee benefits, or a tax increase. Notice the 40 million in Corporate tax breaks never makes it to the chopping block….thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

    • Gonebabygone

      I doubt there would be many new employers to replace all the ones that have left or closed without bribing them with tax cuts. And most of the jobs they bring are for the low skill and low education set…just the voters needed to keep incompetent politicians. I wouldn’t bet against that being a reason those still get handed out.

      The city is done. It has been for a while. It finally trickled up to city employees instead of down to taxpayers like it has for the last 20 something years.

    • Bill Zebub

      This is about 18 months old and they’re are now many more on the list. Pilot Beneficiaries;

      AB Mauri Fleischmann’s (ABMF)
      Accredo Health
      AEL (American Esoteric Laboratories)
      Americraft Carton, INC
      Blues City Brewery LLC
      Cargill incorporation
      Cascades Tissue Group TN INC
      Electrolux Home Products, Inc.
      Evergreen Packaging, Inc.
      FDX Corporation
      Fed Express Flight Simulator Project
      Federal Express
      Federal Express Global Headquarters
      FedEx Supply Chain Services
      Flextronics Logistics USA Inc
      Ford Motor Company
      Ford Motor Company
      Franklin Sports
      General Motors Services
      Impact Innovations
      Intermodal Cartage
      International Paper
      International Sourcing Co
      Jabil Circuit
      Jabil Global Services
      Johnson & Johnson
      Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems, Inc
      Jordan Anodizing Expansion
      KTG
      Levenger
      Liquid Container
      Lucite International
      MC Ionic Solutions US, Inc
      “McKesson Corporation
      amendment to 2009 PILOT”
      Medtronic Sofamor Danek
      Memphis Specialized Operation
      Mimeo.com, Inc
      Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc
      Monogram Food Solutions, LLC
      New Breed Logistics Inc
      Nike (Amendment to 2003 PILOT)
      Nike Tennessee
      Nucor Steel
      Nuvasive INC
      Onyx Medical Corporation
      Owen Corning
      Pacific Paper
      PENN Specialty
      Pennakem
      Pfizer Inc GFSS
      PharMedium Healthcare Corporation
      PMC Biogenix Inc
      Pratt Industries
      Praxair Inc
      Riviana Foods
      Saint Francis Hospital
      Service Masters
      SFI of TENNESSEE, LLC
      Smith & Nephew
      Southern Steel Company
      Technicolor
      Trane U.S Inc
      US Food service Inc
      Valero Refining Company

      • Memphis

        Mimeo.com seems to do more firing than hiring all while receiving money from the Pilot program.

  • dada

    well he leads the way for chilling, travel ,luncheons, nice ride, nice home, Cadillac chauffer, health care screw him

  • HENRI BROOKS WIG

    Raising property taxes is NOT the only alternative. How about cutting the more than 100 million in corporate welfare Memphis gives out to corporations? More than any other state in Tennessee COMBINED!

    • Joe

      More than any other state in Tennessee? What other state’s exist in TN? Kentucky? Alabama? Mississippi?

    • Rick

      Yea, those big corporations expect something for their tax money. So they are paying for exactly what they get from Memphis …. nothing.

      Go ahead and drive off the big corporations, not only will you loose all those jobs but all the jobs that support the big corporate jobs. Then where will you work?

  • Jen

    Imagine that you retire after 25-30 years with a company. You will receive 60-65% of your ending salary. You pay $300 a month for healthcare. And…7 people decide with a wave of their pens, 7 people who will never worry about their healthcare, to force your payment to balloon to $1600 a month. What in the hell are you supposed to do? You are too old to work, have health issues, and have a family. Seriously, what are you supposed to do? If this happened at ANY of the businesses in this area, like Fed Ex, people would be striking and rioting. Oh, but civil servants should just bend the knee?

    • Gonebabygone

      In private business, you don’t have a guaranteed income at retirement like that and yes, at that age, you stand to pay just as much for coverage with whatever 401k you have left after the market drops out. We already know how that feels.

      • Mark Kelly

        Private business provides stock options, bonuses, and other benefits. By the way, next time my personnel are exposed to Aids, Hepatitis C, hazardous materials, disabling injuries I guess we can just wait for some sorry statement like you to show up and help,,,,, I don’t think so…. If you need directions, you can PM me I don’t hide behind a BS name…..

    • Bill Zebub

      Not true Jen, the Private Sector has been suffering too long providing you with Drema Benefits. As our Former Mayor once said, “If you don’t like it, leave”. Your policies are going to go down, YoBama said so.

    • Long Gone

      This is not seven people in Memphis doing you in. This is Barrycare. Welcome to the affordable healthcare act. Better known as Obamacare. At least give credit where credit is due. Five million of us went through this in October, and are still dealing with. Where was all this outrage last October. You want to complain call Barry.

  • Don

    Inside city hall, (behind locked doors and security guards) Mayor Wharton’s chief administrative (mouth piece) officer said this decision wasn’t popular, but it was the only one presented. And it’s final.

  • takenobull

    I read in the news this week that the Mayor had a accident in his city furnished luxury Cadillac. Maybe he should consider a small compact car until the city is in financial shape?

  • gypsy lee

    why was this the only option presenteds not fair to single out the city employees to take up the slack. so raise
    property taxes everyone will contribute . i’ll bet whartons benefits were not affected. if you going to march for
    anything let it be for whartons impeachment

  • Lynn

    Do these people understand that the unemployment rate and underpaid salaries of those who are employed in this city plays a role in the lack of tax base for the city, county, and state government or they just don’t care. How do they exoect us to pay more when we are unemployed or on fixed income. They need to wake up to the facts. Additionally, for the last several years police officers have been caught doing everything but their jobs. The crime (excluning police officers crime) is not different now than it was when the city was overstaffed.

  • J Noe

    People need to understand. this is the only insurance we can get and no one even in the private sector pays $1600/mo. Because we paid into our own pension (our money) we did not have to pay into medicare…so most are ineligible for Medicare and cannot get that insurance….We do not qualify for Obamcare because the city still offers us insurance if we opt out…we have to go in with previous medical condition which is gonna be as much as they are going to charge us…I know the private sector thinks our pension checks are a lot of money but most are less than what the public gets for medicare …the reason we took the job it was what they used to entice us to work for your fair city. now they are hurting the seniors who gave them the years and now they are gonna leave them broke! Think about it.

  • Jennifer

    I’m not going to claim to understand everything that’s going on, but it seems the city could have protected current retirees. Anybody with say 15 years or more to go before they can retire has the new rules to follow. Some sort of compromise from both sides seems sensible. However, I must say as far as insurance benefits go Memphis City School teachers that are now Shelby County School teachers had the same increase in premiums last year and I don’t remember hearing quite the outrage.

    • John G

      There is NO way the new teachers insurance went from 355 to 1656 a month PLUS as a bonus your wife or husband will be kicked off effective January 1st

  • 1midtownmike

    It’s over. This is the satanic offspring of Willie, Harold Ford Sr. and every other racist who wanted to show “whitey” who was in charge.

    I hope you’re proud.

  • t george

    I’m sure quite a few people on here have already looked at it, but have ya’ll looked at the City of Memphis budget and where they allocate our money? Just take a look see and it will make your blood boil. 4 million dollars alone for GOLF? an unbelievable amount allocated to the City Attorneys Office and yet they pay their “cronies” well over the regular rate to represent our fair City when they have attorneys on staff who can do the work on the salary they are already paid…. and there is something real fishy going on with all the money allocated for the Libraries in this town…which btw, are filled with AC’s buddies….they could “CUT” the fat many places…but no they want to stick it to the loyal hard working people…stinks to high heaven!

  • Michael Conry

    If the city is broke at least act that way in the rest of the budget spending…but at least In the worst of times any changes should be worked out with active employees …. The retirees should never be a consideration for these type of cuts
    If changes have to be made come to us active employees and work out a compromise …. Not the retirees …that have no choices left to take….

  • Corky

    If you want to see where the money is going, I strongly suggest you hang out at the parking garage exit at city hall at quitting time. It is amazing how many of the city’s administration are driving new Mercedes Benz, Lexus, BMW, Cadillacs and others I don’t recall right off. Of course then you have the mayor being chauffeured around in a brand new Cadillac at the tax payers’ expense. The budget problem is not employee benefit or union based. It is Memphis’ leaders that are sponging off the tax payers while they get the citizens looking the other way. The city charter forbids what they are doing. You don’t spend money on your special projects when you can’t pay your bills that you currently have. Seriously, go sit in front of the Mud Island parking garage and watch what comes out of city hall.

    • Corky

      I’d love to see News 3 do a story on the council and city administration living it up on tax payer dollars, driving cars that most city workers can’t afford, and padding their retirements while throwing the men and women out in the cold that actually work for a living.

  • John G

    Boycott soul Fish cafe and young avenue deli. The owner tiger Bryant is best friends with kemp Conrad and she’s Flynn.

  • Corky

    Talk about “Chill Out”, Chicken Little …. I mean George Little needs to chill out and take a breath. He was in such a hurry to clear city hall Tuesday that he ran the red light coming out of the garage and almost T-boned an innocent citizen.

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