Memphis, TN – Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's decision to delay his resignation has the city council confused. Nicole Erwin reports.
Mayor Willie Herenton was seen on the elevator moments after the city council met to determine whether or not he has, in fact, resigned. The mayor refused to comment despite several pleas from local media.
Moments after The Commercial Appeal posted Herenton's decision to delay his resignation, skeptics posted comments announcing $100 gains from bets made challenging his June 25th announcement that he would step down, this Friday, July 10th. Monday, Herenton confirmed the skepticism with a letter to would-be mayor pro-tem Myron Lowery stating he would postpone the resignation till the end of the month. Tuesday, the City Council attempted to pass a resolution determining whether the mayor would be out of office by July 30th, but delayed the decision based on comment from the director of human resources, Lorene Essex. Essex says she received a letter from Herenton asking her to rescind all letters of intention to resign related to his pension leaving the council unsure of whether Herenton intends to resign at all. City Council Attorney Allan Wade:
"The general law in the United States and in this state is that until this body, which I find is the appropriate body to accept this resignation, accepts the resignation, the mayor may withdraw it, and until that point in time there is no resignation on the table as I view his letter and as the director has stated, there."
City Attorney Elbert Jefferson says the mayor has not indicated he won't retire on July 30th . Once the City Council receives confirmation from the administration, council members will be able to move forward with a resolution declaring the mayor's office vacant; thus, allowing the Shelby County Election Commission to start organizing the special election which would take place within 90 days of the determined vacancy.