Eureka alderman quits council, calls it a 'farce'

Monday, May 7, 2012

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Alderman Dean Kirkpatrick has resigned from the Eureka Springs City Council in protest of what he is calling a "process that has become a farce."

His resignation letter, which according to Mayor Morris Pate was left with City Clerk Ann Armstrong on Thursday, May 3, says:

"Due to the fact that basic rules of procedure (such as calling the question) are ignored at the council table, I've finally reached the decision to resign. When the budget is not taken seriously, and the council requests are routinely ignored by the mayor, it's pointless to remain on council. The whole process has turned into a farce. Good luck to all. You'll need it."

Kirkpatrick was in his first term on the council and had served just 16 months.

Alderman Ken Pownall, who was elected to serve Ward 1 at the same time as Kirkpatrick, told the Carroll County News on Monday that he was surprised by the sudden resignation.

"I heard about it out in town and then got a copy of the letter in my inbox at City Hall."

When asked to comment on the letter, Pownall said: "All I will say is what I have said all along: The mayor and his department heads have no regard for staying within budgets as required according to state law."

Pate said he would not comment on the matter beyond what he told the statewide newspaper. In that paper he noted that the council would vote on accepting the resignation at their May 14 meeting.

But the outcome of that vote will be moot. Kirkpatrick, 63, has closed his chiropractic practice of 41 years and moved out of town to a home in Beaver, disqualifying himself from serving on the council anyway.

So what happens next? The City Council is responsible for selecting a replacement for Kirckpatrick at their next meeting, according to David Schoen of the Arkansas Municipal League.

Schoen cited Ark. Code 14-43-411: Whenever a vacancy shall occur, for any reason, in the office of alderman in any city of the first class, at any regular meeting after the occurrence of the vacancy, the city council shall proceed to elect by a majority vote of the remaining members elected to the council an alderman to serve for the unexpired term.

That next meeting is set for Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. in the jury room of the Western District Courthouse.

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