Mayor could be appointed June 28 by council

Thursday, June 17, 2004

GREEN FOREST ---- A new mayor for the city of Green Forest will likely be appointed on June 28 after city council members review applicants for the position.

At Monday's regular council meeting, city attorney Jay Miner advised council members that state law requires them to either appoint a mayor or schedule a special election at the first regular meeting after the vacancy was created.

Leonard Tidyman, who was elected to the position in 2002, resigned recently to accept a job promotion with Arkansas Western Gas in the Fayetteville area. His four year term expires in 2006.

The appointment will be for the unexpired term, Miner said, which is nearly two-and-a-half years.

Council members favored appointing someone rather than incurring the expense of a special election.

However, Monday was their first regular meeting since the vacancy.

"We have a dilemma," said Alderman Kelly Hayhurst. "If we appoint, we need the public to make us aware of their interest. We don't need blindside any city people."

Miner said the council could recess the meeting, rather than adjourn, and continue the meeting at a later date to give mayoral applicants time to come forward.

The council accepted his advice and adjourned until 7 p.m., Monday, June 28. They also requested that anyone interested in serving the remainder of Tidyman's term submit their name to city hall before June 24 and be present when they reconvene on June 28.

The council also noted that applicants must be registered voters within the city limits of Green Forest.

The mayor is the city administrator, overseeing a $3 million annual budget, 28 paid employees and six departments, including police, water, wastewater, streets, fire and city general. The mayor is paid $750 a month, plus has the option of accepting a health insurance plan that is valued at $240 a month.

In other council business, Shawn Raglin was hired to fill a vacancy at the wastewater plant after the council adjourned to executive session for nearly an hour and a half while 25 people waited patiently to conduct their business with council.

Included were a contingent of Mulberry Street representatives who wanted their street paved, saying the subdivision developer, Bob Tanner, claimed the street was a dedicated city street.

"Pat Webb looked it up and it's never been dedicated," said city bookkeeper Laura Greer."

"Once it's dedicated, all we can do is maintain it in the condition it's in," advised Alderman Paul McCormick.

The council said it could arrange to have some of the potholes filled with gravel and contact Tanner to suggest he pave and dedicate the street.

Gaylor Finch, a Ninth Street resident who wanted the city to pay his $500 insurance deductible after hail damaged his vehicle because sidewalk work prevented use of his garage, was told to contact the contractor.

"The city didn't make it hail," said McCormick. "I don't see where we would be responsible." He suggested that Finch speak with Chris Humbard, the contractor on the sidewalk project.

Afternoon traffic problems along South Arch Avenue were discussed briefly with School Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett presenting his plan and School Resource Officer Cpl. Gaylon Riggs offering another.

Bennett proposed taking all parking off Arch in the school area to provide a larger pick-up area, forbidding U-turns, and keeping all traffic moving south.

"It may not solve all our problems," he said.

Riggs suggested that they revert back to the procedure used three years ago in the afternoon.

"Discussion is our first step," said Alderman Kelly Hayhurst.

"It's food for thought," added McCormick. "We'll always have problems. We'll go for the least amount." With that, the council tabled the issue until the next meeting.

A street dance following fireworks at the city park on July 3 was approved on the condition that the music end at 11:30 p.m. and speakers be placed to have the least impact on neighbors.

Robbie Bell and Terry Barnhill appeared before council, saying they had been asked to provide music for the city-sponsored celebration, which will include patriotic songs during the fireworks display. They proposed offering dance music afterward on the basketball court. The council okayed the idea.

A bid for a mobile fire safety education house was accepted from Surrey at a cost of $21,675, which will be paid for out of grant funds received by the fire department.

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