The new countywide school board is sworn in Monday Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Memphis City Schools auditorium.
But one of the new board members will take his oath either before or after that ceremony.
Mike Wissman is taking the oath of office as the new mayor of Arlington at the same time in a ceremony scheduled before this week’s meeting of the new school; board and planning commission setting the time for board members to do the honors.
You can read more about what’s ahead for the two schools consolidation groups in Friday’s edition of The Daily News which goes up online at 4 p.m. this afternoon.
One of the challenges for both groups is introducing new citizens to what is essentially a political undertaking even if those involved don’t recognize it as such.
That was what was behind Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s remark to the groups Wednesday that they would be challenged in every way by the undertaking.
On the other hand, this is the third effort of its kind in as many years that has taken citizens never before involved and dropped them into the roiling political waters that are Memphis.
There was the Metro Charter Commission of 2009 into 2010 that included some tried political warriors but a good number of newcomers. And there was the Memphis Charter Commission that drafted a set of city charter changes approved by voters in 2008 including the requirement that a council member accused of wrongdoing is automatically suspended from all council duties.
In both of those cases, the newcomers to the political process – elected in the case of the Memphis Charter Commission, appointed in the case of the Metro Charter Commission – seemed overwhelmed at first. It was not so much the detail involved but the reaction from the public. They were better at the detail work than some of the political veterans. But those on the Metro Charter Commission in particular got a real baptism by fire when it came to how the public reacted to what they were just discussing even before they made a decision.
In both cases, those new to the process ultimately lived to tell the story and develop their own ideas about what they would keep about the process and what should change. The truth is their very presence changes the process even if incrementally.
With those precedents, for all of the talk about the same faces and names showing up to run for any and all offices, it is encouraging to see that we are growing the circle of political involvement even if those walking into the circle almost certainly wonder initially if they have been ambushed.