Wharton hires public relations firm to explain health care cuts

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis's mayor keeps saying how tight money is, but somehow the city found $24,000 to hire a public relations firm to get the city's message out to the public about cuts to health care benefits.

WREG has learned the city hired a public relations firm to explain cuts to employees, retirees and taxpayers.

"The parks division has a person. The mayor has a person. The libraries have a couple of people," said Memphis city councilman Jim Strickland.

Strickland thinks the city already pays too many people to do PR. He thinks Mayor A C Wharton's decision to hire another firm is a bad idea.

"Certainly to go outside city government and spend $24,000 on someone from the outside, I think is certainly an unwise thing to do," said Strickland.

A purchase order obtained by WREG shows the mayor hired public relations firm Archer Malmo earlier this week.

He wants the firm to explain controversial healthcare cuts. City workers aren't happy with how the mayor or council members spin the situation.

Wharton said, "We were getting complaints that we were not getting the information out timely enough, and it is well worth the cost to make sure that everybody knows what's happening."

According to city hall, there's only one professional trained communicator, and the mayor says she can't do it all.

"It is a massive undertaking understanding the Affordable Care Act and so many people. We have so many different categories," said Wharton.

However, some critics of the cuts question the hiring for a number of reasons.

"I think they're using spin to do a lot of things in this city to get their message out," said Mike Williams, Memphis Police Association president.

Williams thinks Archer Malmo was hired to do public damage control. We reminded him the union also used marketing to get its message across. He believes there's a difference.

Williams said, "But that's our dime. That's not the taxpayer dime. They're spending my money to do that."

The mayor doesn't call it damage control, but his office says it does want to make sure citizens get accurate information about what's happening and that they understand the long- and short-term affects.


  • scooby do

    The city government just can’t seem to stop spending money on everything but the basics. No money at all for necessities. No doubt the PR firm hired is well connected to someone high up in city government. Fact is if the city doesn’t put $78 million into the pension fund each year for 5 years, the state will dissolve Memphis’ city charter. The city isn’t putting even half that into the pension fund this year. Think they can put $100 million in next year to stay on schedule? No one else does either. It is already clear they aren’t really even going to try to meet the goal required by the state. It is game over for Memphis. They can not get out of the hole they have dug by stealing from the employee’s pension.

    Even the evil act of taking away retiree’s health insurance will not save them. Once the state steps in they will sell MLGW and other city assets to pay Memphis’ debt. Then the sustainable cities in Shelby county will start the process to split the county in two breaking off what is now Memphis. The munis won’t stand still to inherit Memphis’ problems any more than they accepted Memphis’ power grab for the school system. Any law that stands in the way will be changed just like the law about starting muni schools was changed when the time came.

    The real tragedy is all this didn’t have to happen. It is the result of the actions of sorry men. Not real men really. Things that looked like men on the outside that lacked any shred of what makes men good on the inside. Men like things that were blinded to what makes life good. Humanoids without honor or integrity, reveling in the worst side of human nature and feeling proud of it.

    The resigning at the police and fire departments hasn’t really started yet. Once the places who are recruiting here tender their offers to our people, they will be leaving in mass. They can not be replaced. Memphis is offering them almost nothing and has plans to cut their pay and benefits further. Do the leaders of Memphis believe their own propaganda? No. They know they are lying. When it is over they will take all the tax money they have funneled to themselves and leave.

    They will leave this world like they came into it though. With nothing. May God have mercy on their blighted souls when they stand before him. I have a feeling we won’t be seeing them on the golden streets.

  • Bill Geyer

    Warton is a FIDIOT. He hired a PR firm, because they have no idea what they are doing with the healthcare. How many times has it changed since they came out with it. Instead of a PR firm, why doesn’t he just resign, since it is clear he has no clue how to run a government. He is a two time loser in that category, first in Shelby County, now in Memphis. Do us all a favor and disappear,


    Obviously Wharton doesn’t have the same health care as city workers, or he would know enough about it to be able to address it himself versus wasting more money the city doesn’t have to blow. Just like Obama, spend spend spend with no results.

    Give some people a check book and they think they own the bank.

    • OMG

      HE DOESN’T. He and little have their insurance with the county. I’ve said this time and time again yet no one will investigate this HYPOCRACY

    • EnjoyYourObamaCare

      “It is a massive undertaking understanding the Affordable Care Act and so many people. We have so many different categories,” said Wharton.

      ObamaCare = Affordable Care Act, and since Wharton brought it up, he must be an ignorant inbred.

  • ChickensCameHomeAndRoosted

    To all Democrat city workers, how are you liking ObamaCare? Why are you mad about your health insurance? If you read this article closely, A.C. Wharton admits that your new health insurance situation is due to ObamaCare. OBAMACARE. Remember when you were warned about ObamaCare? You were told for YEARS that this monstrous law would ruin your health insurance. You ignored the warnings and called anyone a racist who was against ObamaCare. Well, if you’re against your current health insurance situation, we know what you are. RACIST. Haahahaa

    • Christine

      The city of Memphis health insurance problems does not have any thing to do with the Affordable Care Act. My family is under my husband’s health insurance plan. His premiums increased way before the Affordable Care Act. There is a lot of misinformation concerning A.C.T. it’s purpose is to allow people with a preexisting condition can not be denied the right to buy health insurance. Also by making it mandatory to buy health insurance, It forces those who can afford health insurance to do so. Some in this country take having health insurance for granted. Also this helps to cut down on people fraudulently using other people’s insurance. Also it will help to expose whether a illegal immigrant is using someone else’s social security number.

      • Nonya Business

        We’re you born an idiot or did you just become that way by listening to every one else with no sense and not thinking for yourself….geeeeeze!!!

  • John T. Dwyer

    Let me see if I understand this correctly….Mayor Wharton has to hire on a public relations firm to explain to the workers how the health care system for the city of Memphis operates. Okay. $24,000 to get somebody to send up smoke signals, semaphores, ABC cards, wooden block letters, crayon drawings in order to explain to these people how it works.

    Doesn’t speak well to the quality of employee now does it?

    • Wake Up Memphis

      John, You got it all wrong. Your comment explains exactly why Tater Jr. is spending the money. He’s trying to get the message out to citizens. NOT EMPLOYEES. Employees know they’re screwed. He’s just trying to sell it to the public. Reread the story and watch the video, then maybe you can pass the word along and save $24,000.

  • Hooligan

    yup got to love the oba’mao’ jock-sniffing societal leech that doesn’t realize that oba’mao’ care is at the root of all these problems with healthcare in this country…..where’s all the savings we are supposed to be reaping from that communist program…you idiot

  • TimSimpsonwearsatrainingbra

    Been telling yo folks fo several years your city government’s administration is populated by empty suits.
    They are absolutely pitiful, especially Slo’ Walkin’, Slo’ Talkin’ A uh C uh Wharton. He’s nothing but a worn out, sub par ex public defender who your knuckleheaded electorate voted in as mayor.

    Let me ask you something, … do you think Memphis would be facing these issues if George Flinn or Mark Luttrell had been mayor as long as ole slo’ slo’???

  • dee

    How do you make such drastic changes to a plan that will alter the lives of do many Memphians…yet not understand it well enough to explain….Huummm…Intersting!

Comments are closed.