Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong
As Memphians prepared for their annual Thanksgiving break, no doubt a good many of them were grateful in particular for the break from non-stop politics. The Memphis city election of 2015 finally ended on Thursday, November 19th, with the results of five runoff elections in as many City Council districts.
That was a week ago, but the sense of incompleteness lingers. For one thing, Mayor-elect Jim Strickland has so far named only half of his appointees to major positions.
Among the appointments Strickland has announced are the following holdovers:
- Antonio Adams, Director of General Services
- Brian Collins, Director of Finance
- Robert Knecht, Director of Public Works
- Keenon McCloy, Director of Libraries
- Brent Nair, Director of Information Services
- Kevin Woods, Executive Director, Workforce Investment Network (WIN)
The unfilled position that has invited the most public speculation is that of Police Director, and Strickland has done nothing to dampen the guessing game by his statement this week that MPD director Toney Armstrong would remain in place while he “conducts an extensive search for a new leader.”
Strickland didn’t put a time limit on that particular waiting game, but Armstrong did, making his own follow-up announcement: “As I have stated, I will continue to provide service to this great city and to its citizens until the mayor-elect feels my services are no longer needed.”
Inasmuch as Armstrong is scheduled as of now to retire in April of 2017, his statement obscured things further. It was a reminder of outgoing Mayor A C Wharton’s recent attempt to announce the current director’s departure at year’s end. Armstrong made a similar statement then to the one he made this week regarding Strickland’s plans.
At this point one has to wonder just how firm (or, alternatively, how flexible) the April 2007 retirement date is for Director Armstrong.