MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday morning Memphis City Council members heard suggestions from the public about how to fund the pension without cutting employee benefits.
Noticeably absent was Mayor A C Wharton, but his staff said he still knew everything that went on.
It was a standing room only crowd inside the City Council Chambers.
“The Mayor had other meetings to attend to, but he was in the building most of that time,” said Memphis CAO George Little.
Little was at the meeting, along with the City Finance Director and two others from Wharton’s administration.
Little said though the Mayor wasn’t physically present, he was tuned in on the internet, “Having the Mayor there may have proven to be a distraction from the serious business at hand.”
The mayor also didn’t show up at last month’s council meeting when angry workers protested a 24% hike in insurance premiums and even bigger hikes for some retirees.
Little said the mayor is getting feed back and used last week’s impromptu news conference as an example.
Frustrated city workers showed up there as well to make sure Mayor Wharton heard their concerns.
We asked Committee Chair Shea Flinn about the mayor being a no-show Tuesday morning, “He is always invited to council meetings. What he had on his schedule this morning, I don’t know, but members of his staff were there.”
This was the first of several planned meetings to get the public’s input, but those are all council meetings.