Shelby County, Tennessee

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Transparency Grade
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 Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying Y
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Public records P
Local taxes Y
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County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process
Shelby County is one of 95 counties in Tennessee. It is a member of the National Association of Counties, a government sector lobbying association.[1] The 2010 census reported the population at 927,644 and the county seat is Memphis.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Tennessee county websites

Last rated on an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 8 years.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 5 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 5 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.[5]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2000 are available.[6]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[7]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.
  • Public Records
    • Some information on public records requests are provided.[8]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[9]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[10]
  • Lobbying
    • The county discloses it hires lobbyists and the total amount spent on lobbying.[11]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[12]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[13]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • Although lobbying records are complete, you must search for them and access individual documents separately.
  • Public Records

Elected Officials & Salaries

Name Title Salary (Bi-weekly)
Sidney Chism Chairman County Commissioners $1,295.84
Wyatt Bunker Chairman Pro Tempore $1,212.50
Walter Bailey, Jr. Commissioner $1,212.50
Henri Brooks Commissioner $1,212.50
Melvin Burgess Commissioner $1,212.50
Justin Ford Commissioner $1,212.50
James Harvey Sr. Commissioner $1,212.50
Mike Ritz Commissioner $1,212.50
Steve Mulroy Commissioner $1,212.50
Terry Roland Commissioner $1,212.50
Heidi Shafer Commissioner $1,212.50
Brent Taylor Commissioner Unavailable
Chris Thomas Commissioner $1,212.50

Salary information as of February 2011.[14]

Administrative Officials & Salaries

Name Title Salary (Bi-weekly)
Mike Swift Director of Administration and Finance $5,000
Cheyenne Johnson Assessor of Property $4,454.42
Harvey Kennedy Chief Administrative Officer $5,625
Louise Smith Community Service Administrator $3,290
Kelly Rayne County Attorney $5,625
Wayne Mashburn County Clerk $4,454
Reid Dulberger Economic Development Director Unavailable
Brenda Greene Employee Benefits Manager $2,926
Raymond Pipkin Finance Administrator $3,827
Clarence Cash Jr. Fire Chief $4,082
Mike Lewis Human Resources Administrator $4,462
Tommy Cates Chief Auditor $4,449
Richard Copeland Director Planning and Development $5,208
Tom Needham Director Public Works $5,208
Bill Oldham Sheriff $4,791

Salary information as of February 2011.[15]


In FY2012, the operating budget is $359,042,552. The majority of funds goes towards personnel (70.7%) $253,823,146, followed by operating and maintenance expenditures (16.9%) $60,712,541, affiliated organizations and grants (9%) $32,263,441, and transfers (3.4%) $12,243,424.[16]


The city of Memphis, Shelby County seat, received $159,984,341.75 in federal stimulus funding in 8 contracts and 130 grants.[17]

Local taxes

In FY2012, property taxes accounted for the majority of revenue (66.7%), generating $239,419,000. Local taxes generated $26,867,000 (7.5%).[18]

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. [19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]


In 2008, Shelby County reported $120,000 spent on lobbying. [23]

External links