Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Herenton's Response to MCS Suit Ruling

Today Chancellor Kenny Armstrong ruled in favor of the Memphis City Schools in the city/MCS lawsuit.

Mayor Willie Herenton told the council this afternoon that he had a sense of urgency about the decision:

"I think this particular ruling that we received today, one of my expectations was the court would really define what governmental body had the responsibility for maintenance of effort. I'm not a lawyer but I don't think that designation has been made.

"Your administrative staff are heavily involved in making a budget for next year. I've got to now direct my staff to develop a budget that potentially would be required to absorb an additional $57 million, in addition to what we were planning to present to you.

"I know CAO Keith McGee and [finance director] Roland [McElrath] have worked with you and told you the upcoming budget is challenging. Hopefully you've looked at other municipalities, the state, the corporate sector. All of those entities are facing significant layoffs, facing significant diminution of benefits. Obviously, we've got to make some deep cuts in our budget.

"We cannot be all things to all people. ...

"As we trim personnel costs down, we want to have the flexibility to impact some managerial positions so that the overwhelming burden of balancing budget don't fall on the employees that are traditionally in the lowest quartile.

"This administration needs flexibility and we'll have to curtail services like never before."

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