- Category: News
15 Sep 2011
- Written by Danny Tennial
On hand were the local chapters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Operation PUSH. Also present was a newly formed organization, the Coalition of Concerned Clergy, whose chairman is Bishop E. Lynn Brown, a SCLC national board member.
Operation PUSH president Dr. L. LaSimba Gray chaired the question-and-answer session. The Rev. Dr. Dwight Montgomery, SCLC president, served as toastmaster.
Mayor Wharton was straightforward, stating his administration’s position on some of the city’s more controversial topics.
“I do not support privatization of the sanitation department,” he said.
Wharton said he was looking at innovative ways for sanitation workers to be compensated for their years of service when they retire. “I would like to see our people have ownership. I would like to turn sanitation jobs into ownership. The millions we spend on salaries we could create three companies. You can’t pass a job to your spouse and your children, but you can pass shares from a company,”
Wharton assured members present from the local police and firefighter unions that no firefighters or police would suffer layoffs under his watch. He extended that pledge to other city workers.
Concerning the now state-mandated requirement of photo identification to vote, Wharton said he would see if the city could help make it easier for seniors. “We give ID cards for people who sell beer and dance on tables. I will see if my office can do the pictures,” he said.
Wharton said the city has met its financial obligation to Memphis City Schools.
He also said a multi-million dollar deal involving Kimberly-Clark would bring in jobs paying $53,000 a year, and that his administration is working with a major corporation to bring 250 jobs that will pay an average of $50,000 dollars a year.
Other issues addressed included gun violence involving youth, the animal shelter, and needs of the homeless.