23 Jun 2011
- Written by Dorothy Bracy Alston
- Hits: 1446
Special to the Tri-State Defender
“I didn’t resign as it’s been reported in the media, I retired effective June 22, for the reasons cited,” said now former District 7 Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware.
Barbara Swearengen Ware
Late Wednesday evening, the Tri-State Defender reached Ware for a short – but exclusive interview.
“I have been an adamant voice for the constituents in District 7 and I have consistently responded to the issues that were important to the district,” said Ware, an elected official since 1994.
“It’s been an honor to serve and I’m retiring to spend more time with my family, my children and grandchildren, and particularly my husband, who is my pastor, to work with him in the ministry.”
Ware said, “The decision to retire and leave my constituents, colleagues and the other hard working and dedicated city employees is heart wrenching, but I sincerely believe it is the right thing to do.”
Ware, 71, has represented Frayser, New Chicago, Douglass, downtown, and other North Memphis communities for 16 years. Last November, news surfaced of an indictment on official misconduct charges, leading to her suspension from the City Council. According to the indictment handed down by the Grand Jury, Ware is accused in at least eight incidents of renewing or obtaining new registrations on vehicles that had not been inspected as required by the Memphis City Code of Ordinances.
Then-District Attorney Bill Gibbons said in a statement that Ware used her public office to “illegally obtain a benefit not available to others who took the time and effort to have their vehicles inspected.”
Ware’s absence complicated voting during budget season at the City Council. With just 12 voting members, some items have failed on a 6-6 tie.
“She’s been a diligent council member and she will be missed,” said Lowery on Wednesday. “The thirteenth vote has already been missed.”
Regarding the sixteen-and-a-half years served on the Council, Ware said, “My accomplishments are numerous and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. Some of the issues have taken years to come to fruition, but I stuck with it.
“I fought years for the new Douglass High School, and I advocated for the new Manassas High School. I also fought for the only year-round swimming pool in the Bickford community, and I’m thankful for the privilege and honor to have served,” said Ware.
“And I have always advocated for the citizens of Memphis.”
The City Council has 30 days from Wednesday to appoint a temporary replacement for District 7, with Oct. 6 the date for the municipal election. Candidates have until July 21 to file.
“The field is wide open. Anyone in District 7 can qualify,” Lowery told Fox 13 News anchor Mearl Purvis.
Ware, said Lowery, was adamant about the things she believed in and not one to compromise as much.