Here is news channel 13's take on today's events....Once there was only one plan for reform of the Memphis City employee pension program. Now there are two to be considered and it could take the rest of the year for city council members to decide on one.
In the heat of June councilmen doggedly voted to make major cuts in the health care and pension programs for city employees. But, unending debates and the cool breezes of fall seem to have led them to soften their position enough to where December might bring a total meltdown of the plan they originally voted for.
Mayor AC Wharton has dubbed it a "hybrid" plan. But, to a jam packed room of unimpressed city employees at city hall, the Wharton administration's latest offer to make changes to the employee pension plan passed by city council in June, was as tasty as re-heated oatmeal.
"I didn't understand why they would try to move the mayor's proposal forward," said Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams. "I think they should have just killed those."
This issue is on going and will have 3 more readings before there is a final decision...
Regarding the ORDINANCE to set fourth Uniform Requirements for Transportation Network Services;
to define Transportation Network Services, Applications, Companies, and Operators and to create Registration Provisions for Operators; and to provide for other related matters, ...this was approved without discussion. This was just the 2nd reading so I hope to have more information on this by the next council meeting.
The electronic icing fee on top of the traffic ticket fine was rubber-stamped...no questions asked...
150,000 dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts? Are you kidding? That was rubber stamped faster than a snowball headed for Hades...that's just how the grant's wagon rolls...fast & furious...until such time as the government runs out of other people's money...which unbeknownst to most people, is fast-approaching...
The one interesting discussion was taken up on item #50 which was another grant for 222,000 dollars coming from the DOJ to be used (I think) for an evaluator to report on the discrepancy going on between the Shelby County Schools number of truancy violations reported to the state and the number that is being reported to the police department.
For those of you who don't know, this issue recently came to light after the mob violence that occurred at the Kroger on Poplar and Highland. The main perpetrator of that crime had not shown up for school at all and school had been going on over a month.
This from My Fox Memphis...Truancy is a major problem in Shelby County Schools.
Shelby County School leaders say over 9,000 students are missing from class, and so far only 291 of them are accounted for.
Keep in mind, each student is worth about 10,000 dollars and I mean that literally. So besides the problem that 9,000 students are not in school and all of the problems that might arise from that, the economic toll that may play out in Shelby County is significant. After all, if these students are not in school, there should not be 10,000 dollars allotted for their absence. You can see why County had better get a handle on this and it ain't because of the havoc they are wrecking in the city by not being in school.
Anyways, this grant is supposed to help solve these truancy issues. Let's put aside the fact that these grants never solve the problems they were meant to and note that Councilwoman Halbert, as usual, had some great questions...
"What is the breakdown of the funds and what specifically will they be used for?"
Too bad the administration didn't have that info handy. Halbert was not satisfied with Councilman Collins explanation that truancy is a big problem and the requirements for meeting the grant deadlines were imminent and the city could lose out if they don't act now. Halbert noted that this was the 1st the council had heard of this program and if Councilmen Collins had wanted this approved pronto, perhaps they should have had all their ducks in a row, i's dotted and t's crossed and you know...a specific breakdown of exactly what the funds would be used for. But hey it's just crack money and who's counting? Councilwoman Halbert apparently...and we applaud her for it. They went on to approve this item with the caveat that this information will be supplied at a future meeting.
Not as exciting as some as these meetings can be but still your government in action and in need of monitoring.
Tomorrow morning is the Shelby County committee meeting...I hope to have a brief recap on that...