City Council members stage walkout to block vote

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Four Memphis City Council members got up and walked out of the chambers 30 minutes into Tuesday's council meeting.

This came after the council voted 6-4 to revert to the original pool of six candidates vying to replace the vacant District 1 seat, which covers Raleigh.

City Council had it narrowed down to two candidates -- Rhonda Logan and Lonnie Treadaway -- at their meeting last month. But after more than nine hours they still didn't come to a decisive vote.

They tried voting twice again at Tuesday's meeting, but neither of the candidates got enough votes, prompting them to vote to widen the pool.

But four council members felt that was simply a way to stop Logan from getting the job, so they walked out.

"This is the only time that four is greater than six because you cannot get to a quorum unless you have seven," said Martavius Jones, one of the council members who walked out.

"We would rather walk out and not be a part of a sham to put somebody in that position who is not entrenched and not invested in that community," Jones said.

Jones is referring to the other candidate, Lonnie Treadaway, who he says is new to the district he one day hopes to represent.

The walk out drew a sharp rebuke from one of Jones' council colleagues.

"Holding up the functions of government just because you can't get your way, that's borderline childish," said Councilman Frank Colvett.

This is the first of three vacant seats City Council will have to fill. Some are growing frustrated with how long it's taking council members to fill the District 1 seat.

"How many times we gonna keep voting on the same thing? How many times we gonna keep wasting taxpayers' money? How many times do we need to come down here?" said Rev. Althea Greene.

Greene said the three council members who abstained from voting today didn't help matters, but Councilman Berlin Boyd said part of the reason he abstained was to avoid giving into political pressure.

"I got messages saying that they're going to run people against me if I don't vote for a certain candidate," he said.

There's no word on when this issue could finally be decided. The next council meeting is scheduled for December 18, but Boyd said they could hold a special meeting before then.

"Let's all calm down, let's all let cooler heads prevail, let's all take a deep breath and then come back at it again and try," Colvett said.

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