Federal Judge Hardy Mays gave a deadline of Wednesday for suggestions of a special master, just 48 hours after telling the parties involved in the school merger lawsuit he is not happy about how the merging of City and County Schools is coming along.
The Shelby County Commission submitted a brief suggesting two names.
The first was FedEx Executive Vice President Christine Richards, who was also a member of the Transition Planning Commission, the commission that created the plan to merge the school districts. Richards also wrote an opinion piece that appeared in the Commercial Appeal over the weekend. It was similar to the complaints expressed by Judge Mays on how the Unified School Board was handling the merger.
The other suggestion by the County Commission was Judge George Brown. The retired Circuit Court Judge is known for his mediation skills.
The City of Memphis also suggested Christine Richards. In its brief, TPC members Barbara Prescott and Staley Cates were also suggested.
Prescott, a former school board member and counselor, was chairman of the Transition Planning Commission. Staley Cates is a successful businessman and on the boards of several education organizations.
The suburbs filed a brief but did not suggest anyone specifically. But, it did say the suburbs support the appointment of a special master. The brief says that person should set dates for the resolution of the most pressing matters and report back to the court if those decisions are not made by the Unified Board.
The Judge asked the Unified School Board to also weigh in on appointing a special master. The Board voted to not support an appointment, so it didn't suggest any names.
The special master would have power to trump the decisions of the Unified Board, as this merger is under a federal consent decree.