This is interesting. Why would City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert ask the City Attorney to investigate Myron Lowery?
The only reason I can think of is something Halbert said during the “vacancy resolution” debate. Both she and City Councilman Brown alleged that Lowery, Strickland, and Conrad were acting in an “unethical” manner by voting on the measure because they were either running or considering a run in the special election.
This, of course, is a silly assertion.
It’s not as if the “vacancy resolution” was a coup attempt, or anything meant to compel Former Mayor Herenton to leave against his will. The Mayor had repeatedly stated that he intended to leave, and had made assurances that it would happen on or around the 30th of July. This is, essentially, how it played out, and despite some, including myself, who were afraid of a charter crisis, the transfer of power went down without any real incident.
In short, the “vacancy resolution” was an attempt to get ahead of the game to ensure a smooth transfer of power…nothing else.
Lowery, Strickland and Conrad were all well within their rights to vote on this measure. Lowery may have stood to gain financially, from the temporary ascension to the office of Mayor, but he was and is doing so in the execution of his duty as the former Chair of the City Council. This in no way would prohibit his participation in the vote.
If this is Halbert’s argument, she would also be asserting that Senators in the US Senate cannot vote on budgets if they are running against the sitting President, and a whole host of other things that really just defy logic.
What’s most interesting is that now Halbert has declared herself a candidate for Mayor.
If she was waiting until the actual retirement date of Herenton, at least she’s being consistent, but all the arguments that came from her, Fullilove, Swearengen-Ware, and Brown were off base and just plain wrong, otherwise someone would have filed an injunction already and stopped the transfer of power, which did not happen.
The next question is, did Halbert know she was going to run when she asked Jefferson to investigate Lowery? If so, this stinks to high heaven as some serious political shenanigans, which would be unethical, if they were provable, which they may not be. All of this is dependent on the timeline.
I don’t think the City Attorney can investigate the Mayor, as he is a subordinate of the Mayor, so the investigation probably began back on near the July 21 Council meeting when Halbert spoke of her ethical questions concerning Lowery. Now, of course, that Lowery is the CEO of the city (charter’s language not mine), regardless of the temporary nature or not, Jefferson cannot investigate Lowery because, for now, he is a part of Lowery’s administration.
So, the question is, did Halbert decide to run for Mayor before or after her decision to ask Jefferson to investigate Lowery, and after she decided to run, did she ask Jefferson to suspend his investigation so as to not cause any questions about her own ethics?
I don’t have the answers, but the questions need them.