Since then, I’ve received comments, text messages, emails and phone calls about this, so I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the timeline for this thing.
TCA 7-2-105 and 7-2-106 govern the timing from the appointment of the commission, to the election. But for the purposes of this discussion, it may be best to actually work backwards from the election.
November 2, 2010 is Election Day. The resolution specifies that this is the date that the vote on the proposed charter would occur.
7-2-106 specifies that an election on the proposed charter is to occur 80 to 100 days after filing. That range puts the filing of the proposed charter between July 23rd and August 13th.
7-2-105 holds that, unless otherwise noted in the resolution authorizing the Charter Commission by both the County and primary City, the Commission has 9 months from it’s first meeting to complete the proposed charter. This would make the first meeting between October 23rd and November 13th.
All members of the Charter Commission will have to be approved by the respective Council of their nominating executive. These individuals can be nominated by the executive at any time after the adoption of the resolution.
It should be noted that the timing is is specified in the resolution on page 2, 7th WHEREAS
WHEREAS, It is also the desire of the County Commission that the proposed charter be filed not less than 80 days nor more than 100 days before the November 2, 2010 statewide election and, to ensure that the proposed charter is filed during that time period, when a resolution appointing the County Mayor’s nominees is submitted for approval that said resolution set the effective date of the appointments as November 5, 2009 which will require the metropolitan government charter commission to hold its organizational meeting on November 10, 2009 and perform its work between November 11, 2009 and August 12, 2010 in accordance with state law; and
WHEREAS, It is further the desire of the County Commission that the resolution appointing members to the metropolitan government charter commission direct said members to file the proposed charter on August 10, 2010; and
If we take this timing into account, the effective date of the appointment would be November 5th, 2009. That’s some 20 days after the Special Election to elect a new City Mayor. The first City Council Meeting after the election is on October 27th. That would give the new City Mayor just 12 days to lobby the City Council, and have the appointments pass.
Considering the timing, I think it is unlikely, despite fears expressed by several people, that any one person would have the power to nominate all 15 members of the Commission AND have them approved by the respective legislative bodies by the appointed time. Remember, I said unlikely, not impossible. Important distinction.
Further, that kind of power would be met with fierce opposition on both the County Commission, and the City Council, and the citizens of both the City and the County. Such a move would likely put the kibosh on the process as a whole.
Ultimately, it depends on when the legislative bodies, the Shelby County Commission and Memphis City Council, actually pass their resolutions. Once the resolutions are passed the process begins.
Regardless of whether you support the idea of a Metro Government or not, we should be working to keep the discussion as honest and free of as much tin foil hattery as possible. There are some real concerns, for certain, but let’s arm ourselves with as much information rather than unfounded fears. If you’re really concerned, talk to your Commissioner or City Council member, that’s what they are there for. In the mean time, I’ll be monitoring the situation and report as this develops.