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“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” — Plato

Memphis & Shelby County Elected Offices

In order to determine the best candidate for office, it is important to understand the responsibilities of the elected position and the requirements necessary to hold the seat. For more information on the specific responsibilities and requirements of elected offices in City and County Government, please click on the links below.

City of Memphis Shelby County
City of Memphis Mayor Shelby County Mayor
City Council Shelby County Board of Commissioners
City Court Clerk Shelby County Sheriff
Memphis City School Board County District Attorney General
  Shelby County School Board

Shelby County Mayor

A view of the Shelby County Administration Building from the mall

The Shelby County Mayor is responsible for all administrative duties concerning day-to-day operations of Shelby County government. It is also the duty of the Mayor to carry out the policy, laws and regulations of the County as established by the Shelby County Commission and provided for in the County Charter.

The County Mayor shall present a consolidated budget of the county to the Board of County Commissioners in April so that they may either approve it or modify and amend it to determine the amount of taxes that need to be levied.

The County Mayor nominates members of all boards, authorities and commissions, and their appointments are subject to approval by resolution of the board of county commissioners.

This is a partisan, full-time position. The County Mayor is limited to serve two 4-year terms. Candidates for County Mayor must be:

  • At least 25 years of age.
  • A resident of the county for one full year prior to the date of filing a nominating petition for election.
During his or her term of office, the County Mayor must continue to reside in the county and cannot hold any other public office for profit.

More info

Shelby County Board of Commissioners

The legislative power of Shelby County is vested in the board of County Commissioners. This power includes all lawful authority to adopt ordinances and resolutions concerning the operation of government.

The Shelby County Commission adopts the County budget, fixes the County tax rate, makes appropriations of County funds for all legal purposes, and exercises all other legislative authority given to it by the Constitution, general statutes, or special, local or private acts of the General Assembly or this charter. The County Commission may adopt any ordinance or resolution which is not in conflict with the Constitution or general laws of the State of Tennessee.

Shelby County is divided into five districts. Districts 1 � 4 are represented by three elected Commissioners each; District 5 is represented by one elected Commissioner. There are 13 total County Commissioners.

This is a non-partisan, part-time position. Each County Commissioner is limited to serve two 4-year terms. Candidates for County Commission must be:

  • At least 18 years of age.
  • Registered voters in the district from which they seek election on the date they filed their nominating petition.
  • Residents of the county for one year prior to the election.
More info

Shelby County Sheriff

The Sheriff is the highest ranking law enforcement officer in Shelby County. The Sheriff's Office works in partnership with all law enforcement agencies throughout the 775 square miles of Shelby County. Deputies serve arrest warrants, patrol the streets and share responsibilities with these police agencies through �Metro Units.�

Other law enforcement duties fulfilled by the Sheriff's Office include serving court documents and providing courtroom security in the General Sessions, Criminal, Chancery, Circuit and Probate courts, and capturing fugitives. The Sheriff's Office also oversees the Shelby County Jail.

This is a non-partisan, full-time position. No term limits apply. A candidate for Sheriff must be:

  • 25 years of age.
  • Certified by a qualified professional in the psychiatric or psychological fields to be free of all apparent mental disorder.
  • In possession of a current and valid POST certification issued within 12 months of the qualifying deadline for the office.
He or she cannot be:
  • A member of Tennessee's General Assembly.
  • A practicing attorney.
  • Convicted of any felony charge or any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or controlled substances or a crime of domestic violence.
  • Released, separated or discharged from any branch of the armed forces with a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge or as a consequence of conviction or court martial for either state or federal offenses.
More info