Mayor Wharton: 'We will do anything to keep Memphis safe' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Mayor Wharton: 'We will do anything to keep Memphis safe'

Dozens of MPD and MFD members are at Memphis City Hall as the mayor talks to the media.  (Source: WMC Action News 5) Dozens of MPD and MFD members are at Memphis City Hall as the mayor talks to the media. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Chief Administrative Officer George Little held a news conference Tuesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Chief Administrative Officer George Little held a news conference Tuesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Chief Administrative Officer George Little held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to address the abuse of sick leave within Memphis Police Department. The abuse of sick leave is now known as "Blue Flu."

Wharton says the city has not been compromised as a result of the sick calls, but it is unfair to the employees who are showing up for work.

"It is putting pressure. It is extraneous," said Wharton. "I will not put a particular label on it, but it is not a desirable situation."

When it comes to the safety for City of Memphis residents, the mayor said they will do anything.

"We are not ruling anything out," he added. "I do not believe in throwing down the gauntlet. I believe in keeping communication open, but at the same time we have the wherewithal to do whatever it takes, and will do whatever it takes to keep this city safe. Point blank, we will do whatever it takes. Safety is first."

When asked what will happen to the officers who have already called in sick as part of the "Blue Flu" protest, Wharton responded, "Corrective action, if necessary, will be taken."

Dozens of Memphis Police Department and Memphis Fire Department employees showed up at the news conference holding signs in protest of the benefit cuts. They asked their own questions of the administration.

Citizen: Do you understand how much money they [retirees] make on that? Have you looked at the numbers?

Quintin Robinson, City of Memphis Human Resources Director: We, we, we...

Citizen: That was yes or no.

Robinson: We do know him much our retires make in city pensions.

Citizen: How much is it?

Protesters say retirees are being left behind. The city says of the 4,000 people in the pension, the 1,100 on Medicare will still be covered. But protesters told the administration it is out of touch with the real cost.

Citizen: Y'all don't mind throwing him to the wolves.

George Little, Memphis CAO: Your dad's covered.

Citizen: Be a use he needs to come up ...

Mayor Wharton: He's covered. He's covered.

Citizen: You're telling me he needs to come up with an answer.

Mayor Wharton: No he's covered.

Second Citizen: He can't afford it. That's the problem.

Another concerned citizen who attended the news conference asked, "With the police officers, firefighters, paramedic firefighters that are actually leaving and seeking other jobs in other cities, what happens when the numbers that we have of police officers that [call out] sick becomes the number of police officers that are gone?"

To which the mayor responded, "That is a legitimate concern, and this is why we want to work through it, you won't hear me say, 'I don't take that attitude.' That concerns me, that's a legitimate concern. That's it."

The mayor says the city had other plans but nobody liked those either. That comment drew jeers from the crowd.

As for sick leave, the mayor says the policy will be much more strictly enforced until this situation is over.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Mom: Preschool's ban of the term 'best friend' is silly

    Mom: Preschool's ban of the term 'best friend' is silly

    Friday, April 20 2018 10:28 AM EDT2018-04-20 14:28:07 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:59 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:59:54 GMT

    A Massachusetts family is looking for a new preschool for their 4-year-old daughter because her current school has barred use of the term 'best friend.'.

    More >>

    A Massachusetts family is looking for a new preschool for their 4-year-old daughter because her current school has barred use of the term 'best friend.'.

    More >>
  • Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:54 AM EDT2018-04-21 10:54:10 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:55 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:55:28 GMT
    (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.(Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.

    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.

    More >>

    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.

    More >>
  • Israel's Lieberman blames Hamas over Gaza deaths

    Israel's Lieberman blames Hamas over Gaza deaths

    Saturday, April 21 2018 1:44 AM EDT2018-04-21 05:44:10 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:54 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:54:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Adel Hana). Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along Gaza's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, April 20, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians joined the fourth weekly protes...(AP Photo/Adel Hana). Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along Gaza's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, April 20, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians joined the fourth weekly protes...

    Gaza health officials say 4 Palestinians, including 15-year-old boy, killed by Israeli army fire as thousands join fourth weekly protests on Gaza border.

    More >>

    Gaza health officials say 4 Palestinians, including 15-year-old boy, killed by Israeli army fire as thousands join fourth weekly protests on Gaza border.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly