MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - One Memphis City Council member has found a way to shrink city government, or at least part of it. Eliminate the controversial Memphis Music Commission.
By now, everyone knows how important music is to Memphis history. The question is, does the city need to devote a commissioner and full time staff to promoting Memphis music?
City Councilman Jim Strickland says no. "We need to cut the easy things," he said.
The Music Commission is supposed to promote Memphis music. The woman in charge, Johnnie Walker, has one of those political appointments making almost $90,000 a year, along with a full time staff.
Eliminate the office and save almost $200,000 a year.
"I'm not even saying they are doing a bad job, they are doing a redundant job," Strickland said.
Truth is less than a mile from city hall is the Memphis Music Foundation. Its mission is the same; it's rocking and not costing taxpayers a dime. It's run by private money and it's very successful.
Strickland stated, "We're trying to reduce the size of government and we ought to start with things already being provided for in the private sector, so let's cut the music commission."
Councilman Myron Lowery countered, "Yes, we need to save money but $200,000 is like saving nickels compared to the dollars we need to save."
Lowery says Memphis needs to keep spending the money on the city's Music Commission. After all, we're known for being the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock n roll.
"Perhaps it is redundant, perhaps it is redundant, but there's not redundancy in terms of city money," Lowery said. "The city spends money, private individuals spend money, all to promote the same goal so I don't see anything wrong with that."
Strickland maintained, "When we have to choose between closing libraries and reducing hours at community centers, and the Music Commission is a duplicate of the Music Foundation, I don't think that's a hard choice."
Any time a council member tries to cut something, others jump in and say 'No, the program is doing a good job and needs to be saved.' But the truth is if council can't agree to cut something as simple as the Music Commission, how are they going to agree to make the hard decisions next week.