Eddie Jones Jr., Brandon Morrison to lead Shelby County Commission
Katherine Burgess, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Published 6:07pm CT July 27, 2020
The Shelby County Commission will be led by Eddie Jones Jr. as its next chairman, according to a unanimous decision Monday.
The decision on the vice chairmanship was more contentious, with two Republicans vying for the role, but only one of them having Republican support.
Jones is a Democratic representing District 11 which includes sections of Fox Meadows, Hickory Hill, Oakhaven, Parkway Village and Whitehaven. His election was unanimous.
The commission's vice chair will be Brandon Morrison, a Republican representing District 13, which includes East Memphis.
Morrison won the spot by a vote of 7-5, including most of the commission's Democrats.
The other five votes went to Amber Mills, a Republican representing District 1. All of the Republicans on the commission, with the exception of Morrison (who voted for herself) and Mills (who abstained), voted for Mills. Jones and Edmund Ford Jr. (District 9), also voted for Mills.
Traditionally, the commission has upheld the practice of alternating between Republicans and Democrats in the top two slots. The current chairman is Republican Mark Billingsley, while Jones is the current vice chair, meaning it was time to make the switch, according to the "gentleman's agreement."
"I believe it's good to have a representative from both parties, Democrat and Republican, represented as Chairman and Vice Chairman," said Billingsley after Monday's vote in a text message. "I do not believe today's vote represented that when the only Republican vote for Commissioner Morrison was by Commissioner Morrison voting for herself and no other Republicans.
"This past year has been an honor to serve as the body's Chairman. We have done so much, unified and in a bipartisan effort. I do not know if that will continue when it kicks off like this. But, I'm hopeful. Chairman Jones will be a great Chairman and he has my full support."