A battle over the head of the Memphis Police Association.
The new chairman of the city council says he ought to be fired. And incoming Mayor Jim Strickland says relations between his administration and the union will be based on being open and honest. The head of the Memphis Police Association says it’s all about the benefits.
In this corner, MPA president Mike Williams.
“I represent the police. Period,” said Williams.
And in this corner, Memphis Mayor-elect Jim Strickland.
“It is a big deal, and I want to work with the unions just like I want to work with the council. By being open and honest,” said Strickland.
Add to all of this the incoming city council chairman Kemp Conrad, who thinks Mike Williams should be fired from his job as a Memphis police officer because he has helped bring outside departments to Memphis to recruit current cops, and you’ve got it all.
A stew that could make Martha Stewart cry for mercy or it could be as explosive as gasoline and a match.
“And as much as they want to avoid it and to make it other issues, it comes down to benefits. Period,” said Williams.
The fight over restoring some health benefits to police and firefighters isn’t over. It will come back.
What makes it interesting is Strickland admits the city needs to hire a lot more police, and maybe they should get a raise, but he voted in favor of cutting benefits and the pension.
Still, Strickland and Williams are talking.
“What I am doing is, I am meeting with him. I’ve already met with him and his leadership team one time. I’ll meet again in January. I want an open dialogue,” said Strickland.
An open dialogue could mean they both say they disagree. Right now though, they are saying they want to give each other a chance.