Commissioner claims elected officials are breaking county policies

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland sent a letter to Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Kennedy to request information about several part-time lawyers who work for the county.

"I thought back in 2010, 2011 I got rid of all the part time attorneys," Roland said.

Over the past five years, Commissioner Roland said the county let go of nearly 80 part-time attorneys who were getting health benefits.

Roland turned his attention to the juvenile court clerk and the trustee's office.

He claimed the elected officials have lawyers on staff collecting pay checks, benefits, and pensions.

"I didn't just pick out the trustee and the juvenile court. I didn't. They claim-- their employees came to me," Roland said.

Roland, who is running for county mayor, said the fight he is in is not about politics -- but doing what is right.

He said what is being done breaks the county charter.

"They would have had to went through the county attorney's office, and the contract would have had to come before us," Roland explained.

Roland said he is also aware of emails and texts from the former county attorney advising staff and elected officials to change their lawyer's titles from "attorney" to something else.

That allegedly occurred during the same time the commission was fighting with the mayor's administration to secure its own attorney.

The county administration declined an on-camera interview, but sent WREG the following statement:

“I received Commissioner Roland’s letter. The County Attorney’s Office will obtain all public records associated with this issue. Once those documents have been reviewed, the Administration will respond to Commissioner Roland’s concerns.” -- Harvey Kennedy, Chief Administrative Officer.

The county hired someone to look into the claims last month.

The investigator concluded that policies were broken, but it was believed the actions were unintentional.

WREG received the following statement from Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir after the story aired on television:

“Mr. Lang Wiseman is a valued member of my staff and was appointed as a lead trustee specialist for the Trustee’s Office in December 2014. Through Mr. Wiseman’s position as a legislative adviser, my office has been able to impact state legislation regarding tax sales, PILOT compliance, and address policy issues that affect this office. He has never served as a part-time or full-time attorney for the Trustee’s Office. Public confidence, transparency and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars are top priorities for me and my staff. With Mr. Wiseman as part of our team, we have been able to improve the delivery of services to all citizens of Shelby County.”