MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Four of the candidates for Memphis mayor came together at a forum in downtown Memphis Wednesday evening.
Candidates Michelle McKissack, Judge Joe Brown, Frank Colvett and J.W. Gibson shared their promises if they were to serve as mayor.
Crime and Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis were brought up repeatedly with the community laser-focused on each candidates’ position on Chief Davis remaining in her position.
Colvett and Brown quickly answered "no," they would not retain Chief Davis if elected, but both McKissack and Gibson said they need more time to think about removing the chief and instead have conversations with her.
"What I have seen over the last several months with just the lack of accountability, the lack of leadership [with] the lower ranks below her – right now the answer looks like no,” McKissack said. “But again, I have not had that conversation. That's what I plan to do in the coming months between now and then to determine why.”
“I just don’t see it, there’s too much there right now,”Colvett said. “I say going forward we need a fresh start.”
The candidate forum comes just a day after candidate, and Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner filed a lawsuit against members of the election commission. Bonner is asking a judge to finalize a decision on residency requirements when it comes to running for mayor.
Candidate Joe Brown said he feels past elections pave the way for the residency requirement to not need any legal opinions of the law’s interpretation.
“Dr. Herenton ran last time under the understanding that was embraced in the amendments and for somebody who has absolutely no official authority, no standing to come in and issue an opinion, that for some reason this election commission is saying they were listening to - is absolutely ridiculous and is indicative of there being other motives besides protecting the people that are involved here,” Brown said.
Candidate J.W. Gibson, II took a similar stance.
“I’m glad that Bonner decided he wanted to file a lawsuit because again it clears the issue,” Gibson said.
While the three candidates impacted by the residency requirement, Floyd Bonner, Van Turner and Willie Herenton were not at the forum, Turner said he did receive an invitation to the event but had a conflict and Bonner’s campaign says they didn’t see an invitation. Herenton did not respond on the issue.