A C Wharton
|A C Wharton, Jr.|
|Mayor of Memphis|
October 26, 2009
|Preceded by||Myron Lowery (pro tem)|
Early life, education, and early career
Wharton was born and raised in Lebanon, Tennessee. A C Wharton shares his name with his grandfather, father, and eldest son. Despite some misconception, Wharton has stated that his first name is simply the letters A and C and does not stand for anything in particular.
In 1980, then-Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris appointed him as Chief Shelby County Public Defender, where his concern for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system gave birth to a national model program, known today as the Jericho Initiative. He chaired the county’s Jail Overcrowding Committee, which developed new ways to ease overcrowding without sacrificing public safety.
Shelby County Mayor
Wharton initiated Operation Safe Community and developed a program to connect prisoners with the skills to succeed in life and to support their families. He increased funding for the drug court. He is credited with working to toughen gun laws and seeking passage of laws that make criminals pay into a special program to help victims.
Wharton improved the management and accountability of the County's Head Start program. His reforms attracted the attention of the United States Congress, where he was called to testify before the House Committee on Education, with many of his subsequent recommendations being translated into changes to public policy. In the way of early childhood development, he also was a strong advocate "Books from Birth," a unique early-childhood education program which provides books for over 28,000 children in Memphis and Shelby County every year.
Between 2008 and 2009, Wharton convened and led the community wide effort which led to the drafting of Sustainable Shelby, an environmentally sustainable agenda for the county.
In June 2009, Wharton announced his intentions to run for mayor of Memphis in a special election to replace Mayor W. W. Herenton, who vacated the office in the middle of his fifth term. The special election was held October 15, 2009. Based on unofficial returns, Wharton won election with 60 percent of the vote in a field of 25 candidates.
Wharton was sworn into office on October 26, 2009. He is the fourth African-American to serve as Mayor of Memphis (previous African-American mayors were J. O. Patterson, Jr., W. W. Herenton, and Myron Lowery) and the second to be elected to that office (of the previous African-American mayors, only Herenton was elected mayor).
In 2010, Wharton pledged to build over fifty miles of bicycle lanes and associated facilities in Memphis during his tenure.  Memphis had been named one of America's worst cities for cycling by Bicycling magazine in 2008. The program resulted in the completion of the Memphis Greenline, designation of bike lanes throughout Memphis, and plans for further expansion with the aid of a $15 million federal grant.
Wharton hired the city's first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator in 2010. He created the city's Office of Talent and Capital in 2010 in an effort to promote employment in the city.
In September of 2013, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report recognized Memphis as a paradigm for government focused on job creation, crime reduction, and economic growth. The Chamber cited development strategies created by Wharton's "Innovation Delivery Team" in praising Memphis.
In both 2011 and 2012, TRAVEL+LEISURE named Memphis a top ten "America's Dirtiest City," though Memphis' spot on the list improved during Wharton's tenure.
Wharton has been criticized for awarding contracts to his friends, underfunding Memphis City Schools, underfunding the Memphis Police Department and for cutting services for young people and the elderly, while offering incentive packages to corporate interests.
Wharton publicly disagreed with the 2010 Forbes rating of Memphis as Most Miserable City in America. By 2013, four years into Wharton's tenue as mayor, Memphis had disappeared from the Forbes list entirely.
In 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation filed a joint federal lawsuit against the administration for violating the Clean Water Act and the state Water Quality Control Act. In 2011, city employees filed a class action suit against the administration of Mayor A C Wharton  for violating the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to A C Wharton.|
- Harold Ford Jr. Reaches For the Stars, Time magazine, December 10, 2002
- My 2 Cents: A C Wharton Jr.[dead link]
- Mayor A C Wharton Launches the Jericho Initiative, Shelby County Government press release, March 3, 2009. Archived by archive.org on May 28, 2010.
- "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members".
- Memphis Fast Forward: Operation Safe Community http://memphisfastforward.com/category/operation-safe-community/[dead link]
- "One For the Books," June 30, 2009, http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/jun/30/one-for-the-02/
- "Sustainable Shelby: A Future of Choice, Not Chance," http://www.dpdgov.com/(plawzh553mnt5bzljfjhp43w)/portal/portal_content.aspx?ID=36&component=news&dept=dpd&cmid=97
- "The campaign has begun," June 26, 2009, http://memphisnewsblog.com/2009/06/the-campaign-has-begun.html
- Alex Doniach, A C Wharton wins with 60 percent of vote; turnout less than 25 percent, Memphis Commercial Appeal website, updated October 15, 2009, 11:00 pm
- Daniel Connolly, Zack McMillin Wharton sweeps into City Hall with a broom Commercial Appeal . Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- City Spent Thousands More for Contract with Mayor's Friend
- "Mayor Wharton offers partial payment to Memphis schools" http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/mar/29/mayor-wharton-offers-partial-payment-memphis-schoo/?print=1
- City Council Blames Mayor Wharton for Blue Crush Cuts
- "Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's budget proposal shuts out athletics" http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/may/20/budget-proposal-shuts-out-athletics/
- "Memphis Mayor Wharton blasts critics of economic development efforts" http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/feb/22/memphis-mayor-wharton-blasts-critics-economic-deve/
- "Mayor A C Wharton says it’s time for Memphis to control the message" http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/feb/23/mayor-c-wharton-says-its-time-memphis-control-mess/
- "EPA sues city of Memphis for violations of Clean Water Act" http://www.watertechonline.com/municipal-industrial/article/epa-sues-city-of-memphis-for-violations-of-clean-water-act
- "City Charged with Union-Busting Efforts as Federal Suit is Filed" http://www.memphisflyer.com/JacksonBaker/archives/2011/07/12/city-charged-with-union-busting-efforts-as-federal-suit-is-filed&show=comments
- "Municipal Unions Sue City Over Budget" http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2011/jul/11/municipal-unions-sue-city-over-budget/
- Mayor A C Wharton's Biography http://www.cityofmemphis.org/framework.aspx?page=22
- Alex Doniach Public's image of Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton powerfulCommercial Appeal. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
|Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee
2009 – present