MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's government with a face in Shelby County, the face of Mayor Mark Luttrell. The Mayor hosted his first afternoon of one-on-one meetings with citizens on Tuesday and it was a hit.
When Luttrell first planned the monthly meetings he planned for two hours, 10 minutes per person; that window filled up so fast he's added a third hour and his August meetings are already booked.
The day Luttrell announced he'd have one-on-one's with the community, South Memphis resident Emma Rose signed up. Her church is next to an overgrown vacant lot, "Members of the church are having to clean it up and take care of it," Rose says, "and we need assistance with that."
It wasn't the only bright idea brought to the Mayor, "This building we estimate a savings of $100,000-200,000 per year," Lee Harris told the Mayor. He used his 10 minutes to encourage the County to convert to energy saving LED lights. "When I booked my time I was the last to book and he had just extended it an hour that day."
The response that overwhelmed the Mayor, "What really impressed me was the number of positive issues that were raised as opposed to complaints," Luttrell told abc24.com.
The most common issue was children, schools and criminal activity. Blight and ideas for vacant lots also filled most of the Mayor's afternoon. Luttrell says, "I promised everybody that came to see me that we would have them a response tomorrow." Luttrell says that's the most important part. "The only way we can sustain this effort, this monthly face to face," Luttrell says, "Is if the people see it's worth their time."
Sarah Carpenter of North Memphis talked to the Mayor about abandoned homes, she left the meeting satisfied. "I really admire him for opening the doors, letting regular citizens come in and chit chat."
Rose says she's excited to report back to her church. "I think it went very well, I think we'll get some results out of it."
Luttrell says he will follow up with his staff Wednesday on all the concerns and suggestions raised.
12 people met with the Mayor Tuesday, with one one cancellation. 13 people are scheduled for the August meetings. The public can contact the Shelby County Mayor's Office at (901) 222-2004 to get on the Mayor's schedule for his September meetings.