Willie Herenton said Monday that he would stay on as mayor of Memphis if his push to become superintendent of schools fails.
And there appears to be no language in the city charter that would prevent him from doing so.
Associate professor Stephen Wirls, chairman of the political science department at Rhodes College, said the charter provides no "form" to follow regarding "planned" retirement letters and that Herenton could remain as mayor if he wanted.
Herenton said Thursday that he plans to retire in July after 161/2 years as mayor and wants to return to the job at Memphis City Schools he held from 1979 to 1991.
Herenton, who joined the city's division directors Monday morning for photographs inside the Hall of Mayors at City Hall, said citizens had pleaded with him over the years to return to MCS, which is struggling with failing schools, management scandal and high dropout rates.
"I meet people all over the city and they are very concerned about the school system," said Herenton, 67. "That is a common occurrence."