Few clues emerging these days about what Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. plans to roll out Jan. 23 when he makes his state of the city presentation.
Wharton is promising a “100-day” plan of items he hopes to accomplish in short order that will put his long-range plan for the city on track for at least the rest of his four-year term. Some of the goals will be ambitious enough that Wharton has said they probably won’t be completed while he is in office.
But clues about those items have been few and far between.
One came at the Tuesday evening Memphis City Council session as the council worked its way through approving his set of division directors for the new term of office.
When the council got to Public Works division director Dwan Gilliom, several mentioned he will soon have some new duties added to his job which includes operation and maintenance of the city’s infrastructure and solid waste collection and disposal as well as wastewater treatment.
Wharton is now dividing up the tasks that had been assigned to the soon to be abolished but still being investigated Community Enhancement division and trying to put grass cutting and other property maintenance duties in one division. Now those duties are spread across divisions which city Chief Administrative Officer George Little said is something that evolved over the years and is no longer the most efficient way of handling those matters.
So, that’s one guess on what could be coming Gilliom’s way.
Another is Wharton’s return several times to the idea of setting up some sanitation workers into private businesses where they contract with the city for sanitation services – a task that would require a lot of coordination and would have to overcome some very vocal opposition on the council to anything that even remotely feels like privatization.
Gilliom has also been a vocal advocate of the so-far incremental movement of city sanitation services to a system where a citizen pays based on the amount of waste he or she generates. And Gilliom wants to increase the city’s recycling efforts but is hampered by a fleet of aging vehicles
Those are the chief suspects for now.
Stay tuned between now and Jan. 23.