The Eureka Springs City Council rescinded Mayor Kathy Harrison's decision to fire City Administrative Assistant Kim Dickens by a vote of 4-2 in a short special meeting Thursday.
Harrison had dismissed Dickens a week earlier, telling her "Your services are no longer needed."
In the approximately five minute long meeting, Harrison opened the session by telling the council "to stay on topic" and there would be no "quasi-legal arguments, legal matters will be deferred to attorneys or a judge."
Alderman Penny Carroll made the initial motion to rescind the mayor's decision for "termination of the city's assistant administrator."
Carroll said state law did not address this situation, therefore the council had the authority to override the decision.
Alderman Gayle Money commented that the council "needs to do what is in the best interest of the citizens and community and to deny this termination is not in our best interest."
Alderman Karen Lindblad reminded the council of last fall's campaign promises "not to micromanage" the city's business and "certainly not in this situation."
Lindblad believes the mayor should be able to choose her own staff.
Alderman Robert "Butch" Berry said he thought it has been a "standard practice in the past that when a key person is to be discharged, it is to be brought to the council for discussion."
He said he did not disagree with the mayor's right to have her own staff, but "it is our obligation to see what is in the best interest of the city. My purpose is not to usurp the mayor's authority, but to do what is best for the city."
Aldermen Bill Ott and Earl "Bud" Umland did not speak during the discussion of the motion.
When the vote was taken, Carroll, Berry, Umland and Money voted to rescind the decision. Ott and Lindblad voted against.
Cheers and applause broke out in the audience of 50-60 crowded into the council room, the hallway and on the outside steps of the courthouse.
As Money was trying to move for adjournment as the meeting broke up, Ott wanted to make a statement.
Finally recognized by Mayor Harrison, he said he appreciated the telephone calls he had gotten on the matter.
"I am not against Kim or you personally, mayor. I hope you and Ms. Dickens can work together for the best interest of the city," he said.