Weekly Update

weekly update header

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share



Earlier this week, we held a groundbreaking for a $2.6 million plan for a new playground, a picnic shelter with new trails and LED lighting in Audubon Park. In addition to these improvements, we will also be planting 62 new trees.




In the very near future, this entire area—the park, Leftwich Tennis Center, and the Links at Audubon Golf Course—will be completely redone and dramatically improved for public use. All in, the City and other community partners are investing over $40 million in public assets in this area.


Recruitment and Retention: Since I have been mayor, we've worked hard to recruit and retain police officers and firefighters. We've improved the pay, benefits and promotional process.


We’ve implemented retention bonuses and referral bonuses. We’ve stepped up recruiting efforts in Memphis and elsewhere and advocated for state government to waive any residency requirements.


Bottom line, each year we've worked to improve conditions so more public safety employees choose to work for the city of Memphis.


At the same time, in 2019, the public safety employee associations campaigned to increase the sales tax in Memphis to help retain and recruit firefighters and police officers, with the number one priority being to restore health insurance for fire and police retirees. The voters agreed.


Since then, we have worked closely with the associations and implemented the intent of the referendum. The health coverage has been restored and over 80 percent of fire and police have agreed to stay for two to five years in return for a nine percent retention bonus per year.


Thank you to the associations for this partnership.


The associations and numerous firefighters and officers have told me that they would like our newest public safety employees to be able to participate in the 1978 pension plan instead of the 2016 plan.


And our experience with the sales tax referendum over the last two years shows that we can afford to make that available.


As a result, I am happy to say that we have agreed with the associations to provide those firefighters and police officers who currently do not qualify for the 1978 pension plan — those hired since January of 2016 and all future hires — to have the option to choose the 1978 or the 2016 pension plans beginning July 1, 2023, subject to city council approval.


Our financial analysts tell us that this plan is affordable, and therefore, we will finalize the cost and include this with our budget that we will present to the city council in April of next year.


This will be another significant financial benefit for Memphis police officers and firefighters, and we all agree that it will benefit our efforts to recruit and retain.


Also, we are not done; we will continue to work together to improve the pay, benefits and working conditions so we can grow both departments. Thank you to both employee associations for their continued partnership to make these benefit improvements possible.


A step in the right direction: Thank you to Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, Speaker Cameron Sexton, Senator Bo Watson, and Representative Patsy Hazlewood for their leadership in accelerating the hiring process for 25 (8 assigned to West Tennessee) additional forensic lab positions at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). These positions are desperately needed and will be a tremendous help moving forward as we work to solve crimes as quickly as possible.


Goodbye and congratulations: As you may have seen earlier this week, it was announced that my chief communications officer, Ursula Madden, is leaving city government for the private sector. For the last nearly seven years, Ursula has not only been an invaluable member of our team, she has also become a very dear friend. I cannot thank her enough for her dedication to the city and our administration and for her commitment to our mission—working to improve the lives of all Memphians, every day. She lived it day-in and day-out. Thank you, Ursula. You will be missed.


Filling Ursula’s role is her deputy, Allison Fouche. Allison is a longtime city employee and has served in the communications department since 2016. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the position, and I look forward to working with her in this new role. Congrats Allison!


Additionally, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate another invaluable member of our team chief financial officer, Shirley Ford. It was announced recently that Shirley will be the incoming president for the Tennessee Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The GFOA is the organization that grades and certifies cities annual reports and budget reports. Shirley was also recently selected as one of 35 across the nation to participate in the GFOA leadership academy this November.


Congratulations again to this talented group of ladies, and thank you for your service to our city!


Enjoy your weekend!




Mayor's signature