Memphis City Council fills open seats, ending controversy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It was a historic night at Memphis City Council Tuesday as the council finally voted to fill all three vacant council seats, ending a six-week-long standoff over who should fill one of them.

They also made history by adding two women to the council, bringing the total number to four.

"This is the first time for four women and four African-American women to serve on the Memphis City Council," said councilwoman Patrice Robinson.

Sherman Greer, an administrator at Southwest Tennessee Community College, will serve in the District 1 seat vacated by Bill Morrison.

Greer has a long history of working in local politics and grew up in Hurt Village, then Frayser. He lives in Cordova now.

Cheyenne Johnson, the former Shelby County Property Assessor, was selected to fill a Super District 8 seat.

"I'm just looking forward to trying to make issues that already exist -- nothing new -- just try to come up with some possible solutions," Johnson said.

It took several rounds of voting and a few switched votes before Geraldine Currie, a local bank executive, was appointed to fill the District 6 seat.

"It's overwhelming, it's exciting, but it's certainly something that I'm looking forward to doing for the Whitehaven community," said Currie.

There was a sharp division on the council between those who supported Currie and those who supported Edmund Ford Sr. Robinson initially supported Ford, but switched to Currie when it became clear Ford didn't have the votes needed to win.

City Council also filled the two other vacant council seats after a six-week standoff, during which four council members walked out and stopped showing up.

Council had deadlocked on appointing a representative to District 1 back in December. The issue caused four council members — Joe Brown, Martavius Jones, Patrice Robinson and Jamita Swearengen — to walk out and not return for several meetings.

Johnson had to come up with one solution her very first night as a councilwoman: She had initially abstained from voting on the District 6 seat, but eventually voted for Currie to help break the deadlock.

All three of the newest council members haven't made a decision if they'll run to keep their seats later this year, but Greer said it was unlikely that he would run.

Kemp Conrad was selected as the new chairman of City Council, replacing Berlin Boyd. Patrice Robinson is vice chair.

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