As I wrote in a blog entry nearly two years ago, Memphis has broken
records in terms of convicted public officials. But its mayor of
seventeen years, Willie Herenton, has stood above it all. At least
One result of the many convictions in Memphis was a new ethics
in 2007 (not directly accessible via the city website
search mechanism). According
to a professor
from Rhodes College, the ethics ordinance is weaker
than the charter provisions on conflicts of interest. The ethics ordinance also provides for no penalty worse than a $50 fine or recommending censure (to the council).
But worst of all, especially with respect to the current investigation
of the mayor, is the fact that the ethics ordinance gave the position
of Chief Ethics Officer to none another than the City Attorney.