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GARFIELD -- Two attorneys presented their statements of qualifications to Garfield city officials in hopes to be hired as city attorney.

Mike Bearden, who bought Slinkard Law Firm and replaced Howard Slinkard as city attorney last year, asked council members to consider him and said he would do better in responding to requests for information. Bearden said: "I've been privileged to serve you and Pea Ridge for the last year and I'm asking you to allow me to continue.

"I am sure I've fallen short in some areas... but I have tried. I can honestly say that coming to Garfield and Pea Ridge have been two of the highlights of my life. You go beyond the minimums," Bearden said.

Bearden said he charges $175 per meeting attended.

Jennifer Gray with Watkins, Boyer, Gray and Curry of Rogers said there are four attorneys in the group and their rates vary but they would consider a fee structure proposed by the city. Gray said all of the attorneys have experience in land use, zoning and municipal code.

When asked, she said the goal is to have 24 hour turnaround in response to inquiries from city officials.

The mayor said the attorney would be hired at the December meeting.

Teresa Vining, the mayor's assistant and former recorder-treasurer, took the minutes in the absence of Keeli Ketcher, whose resignation was presented to the city recently. All council members -- Barry Kitterman, Jim Teeselink, Teresa Vining, Terry Warren and Kathy Shookm-- were present.

Mayor Gary Blackburn told council members a new water leak was found and passed around a valve showing the damage created by the water pressure.

"Every month find a new water leak," he said. "This was facing down so long with such pressure that it actually cut a groove in the fitting and screw that fastened it... When we uncovered it, it was a geyser -- it went everywhere. Fixing that will make a big impact on the amount of water we've been losing recently," Blackburn said. He said there was a 38.9 percent water loss this past month.

Council members expressed frustration in attempting to read the financial reports and discussed the possibility of having a training session. Blackburn said a tele-conference with a representative from Center Point, the software program used by the city, would be less expensive than paying the representative to drive to Garfield.

"I need a better understand," Jim Teeselink said. "It's relatively complicated."

"In order to work with Centerpoint people, it would have to be before 5 p.m.," Blackburn said. "We'd probably have to schedule it to start at 3:30 or 4 in afternoon... the last time we paid someone from Center Point it cost us $900."

He said an alternative is for council members to write down their questions and he could ask Sandy Button, clerk for Pea Ridge.

"Mrs. Button is pretty good about responding in a timely manner," Blackburn said.

Council member Shook said: "I'm available for day-time work session - I have holidays off"

In other business, council members:

• Considered a request for information about liquor by the glass and Sunday liquor sales from Elkhorn liquors;

• Heard a report that the Street Department budget is running behind;

• Accepted the resignation of city recorder-treasurer Keeli Ketcher;

• Approved the minutes of the Oct. 10 meeting; and

• Approved the minutes of the Oct. 24 special meeting prepared by Mayor Gary Blackburn.

General News on 11/22/2017

Print Headline: City officials want financial clarification

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