Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis is a city in Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County.The 2010 census reported the population at 662,897, making it the largest city in TN and the 20th largest in the United States. The greater metropolitan area has a population of 1,316,100.[1]

Elected officials and salaries

Name Title Salary
AC Wharton, Jr. Mayor $171,500
Bill Morrison Council Chairman/District 1 $29,070
William Boyd District 2 Member $29,070
Harold Collins District 3 Member $29,070
Wanda Halbert District 4 Member $29,070
Jim Strickland District 5 Member $29,070
Edmund Ford, Jr. Council Vice Chairman/District 6 $29,070
Lee Harris District 7 Member Unavailable
Joe Brown Super District 8 $29,070
Janis Fullilove Super District 8 $29,070
Myron Lowery Super District 8 Unavailable
Kemp Conrad Super District 9 $29,070
Shea Flinn Super District 9 $29,070
Reid Hedgepeth Super District 9 $29,070

Salary information available here.[2]

Administrative officials and salaries

Name Title Salary
Herman Morris City Attorney $133,000.14
Thomas Long City Court Clerk $130,024.44
Johnie McKay Director Community Enhancement $118,879.28
John Cameron Director, City Engineer $115,757.46
Roland McElrath Director of Finance $118,879.28
Chief Alvin Benson Fire Services Director $120,180.06
Martha Lott Director General Services $115,757.20
Robert Lipscomb Director Housing and Community Development $118,879.28
Quintin Robinson Director Human Resources $118,879.02
Brent Nair Director Information Services $130,800.02
Janet Hooks Director of Parks and Recreation, Public Services and Neighborhoods $115,757.20
Toney Armstrong Police Chief $120,180.06
Dwan Gilliom Director Public Works $118,879.28

Salary information available here.[3]


In FY 2012, total revenue is expected to reach $1,217,090,250, with expenditures at $1,180,922,896. The largest amount of revenue(43.05%) is generated by local taxes, followed by charges for services (20.24%) and transfers (10.22%). The largest expenditure is personnel costs (40.78%), followed by materials and supplies (15.68%), and interest and bond costs (9.89%).[4]

All budget directors listed above make in excess of $100,000 annually.


The city of Memphis received $159,984,341.75 in federal stimulus funding in 8 contracts and 130 grants.[5]

Local taxes

A history of property tax rates dating from 1979 is available, including general fund contributions, debt service, capital pay and the total rate. Additionally, local sales tax and state sales tax rates are published. Revenue from local taxes is expected to reach $523,925,314 in 2012 and state taxes should generate $56,548,505 in 2012.[6]

City in the news

  • In March 2012, Tennessee received a “C” in the State Integrity Investigation, a report that analyzes state governments’ accountability and risk for corruption. Even with the average grade, TN ranks #8 in the nation and is cited for establishing an ethics commission six years ago, although that commission has not yet issued a single ethics penalty and complaints are not made available to the public.[7]
  • In April 2011, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton suspended nearly every employee of the city impound lot for five business days following the recent bust of a long-running theft ring at the lot, affecting 26 employees. Only 2 full-time employees and one temporary employee will remain on the job. A month prior, the city fired a supervisor charged with receiving stolen property from the lot; another employee was fired after investigators linked him to a theft ring at the lot; and an informant said he had a deal to steal vehicles on the lot and split the items with the shift supervisor. Over a three year period, the city paid $72,798 to settle claims for items stolen from vehicles and damage that occurred at the lot.[8]
  • Following an July 2010 audit, the FBI and former Chief Administrative Officer of Memphis are investigating the General Services Department’s investments involving the Fleet Services support service and the now defunct Around Town Tire and Trucking. The initial probe turned up falsified invoices and numerous contractual infractions which may have led to the abrupt resignation of former Fleet Services Administrator, Arthur Adams, following a DUI arrest in a city-owned vehicle.[9]
  • Operation Tennessee Waltz was a sting operation set up by federal and state law enforcement agents, including the FBI and TBI. The operation led to the arrest of seven Tennessee state lawmakers and two “bagmen” in the indictment in May 2005. Additional arrests of two county commissioners, one from Hamilton County and Shelby County occurred days later. Three officials from Hamilton County were sentenced to time in prison and six officials were indicted from Memphis. Six of the elected officials were Democrats and two were Republicans.[10]

Investigation into lavish entertainment

In 2009, agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service have been asking about lavish parties as part of a federal probe focusing on Mayor Willie Herenton's private business dealings.[11]

Website evaluation

Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning P
Audits P
Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records N
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • The current budget is published[12] and previous budgets are available for the last three years[13]
  • The calendar of meetings and meeting agendas and minutes[14] are available and archived at least three years[15]
  • Names of elected officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address are available.[16]
  • Names of administrative officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address are available in the city government dropdown menu[17]
  • Bids are posted[18] , including approved contracts over $10,000[19]
  • Tax revenues are available and tax rates are published[20]

The bad

  • The search function results turn up in a mini-window, but without a link to where to find the information on the full website.
  • Permit and zoning information and audit information is searchable, but cannot find the information on the actual site without searching.
  • Lobbying information is unavailable.
  • Public records information is unavailable.
  • Does not provide information on how to request records under the Tennessee Open Records Act.

External links