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I'm Glen Swanson and live in Pea Ridge. I have served as a city councilman for seven years in another city in Arkansas. I would like to address two issues.
First, the issue of the City Council "refixing" the mayor's salary. Using the Freedom of Information Act, I asked the city for all ordinances that "reduced" the mayor's salary and those that "increased" the salary. Having them in hand, I find that the first was to set the salary, 2004-2006, with the establishment to "re-fixing compensation" in that ordinance No. 356 dated September 2004. A raise was given in 2006 and 2007, ending in $40,028.05. In September 2010, re-fixed down, September 2014, re-fixed down, and now again in June. (I did not receive an ordinance that raised his salary back up after the 2010 election.) Councilman Ray Easley told me the mayor's salary was raised to $45,000 after the election.
In my eyes, dropping the salary before an election and then raising it again in December, right after Mayor Jackie Crabtree has been reelected, is to the least, perceived to be a tool by the administration to deter anyone from running against the mayor.
Is City Hall afraid that there might be someone in town wh0 is qualified and they use all tools available to "scare" them off? (I have found that "re-fixing" is not a common practice and Municipal League attorneys call it "ill advised.")
Certainly the salary could be raised, but there is no guarantee the council would regardless of the person's qualifications. Talking to all four councilmen this week, my feeling is they doubt that anyone will run, leaving Mayor Crabtree another four years that would give him 28 years as mayor. My personal opinion is that the majority of the council believes that anyone other than the present mayor are unqualified, otherwise, there would be no need for such a degrading, run scared, ordinance.
Secondly, I believe the city should have three wards and six councilmen, just as was suggested by Jeff Hawkins from Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning. We are the only first class city in the state with only two wards.
Why do we want to stay small with a limited city boundary that does not encourage the growth and tax base to sustain that growth? The city limits has not expanded for many years, nor has council size. Progress comes with increased responsibilities and new, fresh ideas.
All I see is a "don't rock the boat" mentality by many of our councilmen and the mayor. They don't encourage, but discourage.
Councilman Easley told me he likes it like it is and it has worked well for over 40 years.
Yep, still have gravel streets. City limits hasn't grown. Keeping limits on voice of the people by not having reasonable representation.
Get involved. Come to Council meetings. Contact your councilmen. Take pride in your city. Run for office. It's your city.
Responsible for selves
I got this trash bag in the mail box today. The postal workers are collecting food for the folks in need It seems like someone is always collecting food and clothes and school supplies for these folks. Have any of you ever wondered why people are always short on money?
I made a short list of just a few of the things that people spend their money on. I am sure that I forgot something. We are all responsibility for our own personal circumstances. It is our own personal choices that causes each of us to be in need all the time. We need most of these things, but check and see what you could actually do without.
(Editor's note: McNiel's letter had 240 items listed as examples; due to space constraints, that list is not included here.)
Boyd B. McNiel
Pea RidgeEditorial on 07/04/2018
Print Headline: Letters to the editor