Otis Sanford: County leaders need to end turf war now

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Whether or not County Commission Chairperson Heidi Shafer exceeded her authority by filing a lawsuit over the opiod crisis, most of her commission colleagues are backing her 100 percent.

The commission voted eight to zero Wednesday to endorse Shafer’s decision to hire outside legal counsel to bring the suit against several pharmaceutical companies. The suit accuses the companies of massive greed by supplying dangerous opiod medications that have contributed to numerous deaths.

Now a major showdown is looming between Shafer and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell,  who has filed a suit of his own alleging Shafer overstepped her bounds. That case is scheduled for a hearing next week, but hopefully it won’t come to that.

These politicians work for county voters who put them in office. They should resolve the turf war and work together on behalf of those affected by opiods.

The evidence is clear that a lot of companies made a ton of money from these dangerous drugs that ended up ruining lives and stretching the county budget for law enforcement and healthcare. The county is right to go after big pharma to expose the alleged greed and recoup county costs.

This is no time for elected leaders to be bickering in such a public way.  So before next week’s court hearing, Luttrell, Shafer and anyone else who can help should get in a room and work out their differences.

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