MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Without question, the two toughest non-elected jobs in our community are Memphis police chief and superintendent of Memphis-Shelby County Schools. Yes, the salaries for both are hefty: $230,000 for Police Chief CJ Davis, and nearly $300,000 for Superintendent Joris Ray. But the second-guessing and harsh criticism leveled at both of them are hefty as well.
Davis marked her first year as chief this week. By all accounts, she comes across as personable and highly capable, while the primary knock on her is that she has not been as accessible as many would like. Plus, fair or not, anytime the public believes crime is out of control, as many do now, the person in charge of police takes the heat.
Then there is Dr. Ray, who faced the tremendous burden trying to navigate the largest school district in the state through the pandemic and remote learning for more than a year. Now, some critics are calling for his resignation, pointing to anemic test scores, a perceived lack of transparency, and inattention to the needs of teachers. It’s worth noting that one of Ray’s chief critics is teacher’s union leader Keith Williams, who happens to be running for the school board.
But calling for Ray to resign is over the top. So is blaming Chief Davis for every crime committed in Memphis. It just proves that with jobs like these, tough criticism goes with the territory.