Sharks circling in Bryant | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sharks circling in Bryant

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

High interest over the weekend in two posts — the last one here — on red hot politics in Bryant, the booming suburban bedroom community that recently elected Republican Jill Dabbs as mayor. The recent topic was Dabbs' decision to raise her pay and that of City Clerk Republican Heather Kizer to levels in excess of those allowed by ordinance and council-approved personnel policy. Dabbs ordered the pay raises on her own, then rolled them back when someone began snooping into her actions.

One of many side issues brewing in Bryant with the new mayoral regime is the wording of contracts Dabbs has overseen to rent the new city aquatics center for school and club swim team practices. One contract provided for city-paid coaches for the Bryant Barracudas and only for the Barracudas. Dabbs is a former president of the swim team and is still listed as a team committee member. Her daughter swims on the team. Her daughter also, according to members of the council, receives a city paycheck as a lifeguard.

The special contract will come before the City Council Thursday. It has stirred up a good deal of discussion on MySaline.com.

I mentioned over the weekend that Dabbs had indicated she'd get in touch to talk about her side of the story. She called my house Saturday afternoon, but I missed the call. My efforts to get her since have been unsuccessful.

Nothing like local politics — power-addicted officials, special dealings, tangled relationships, angry swim team moms, muckraking council members wielding the FOI like a sword. I couldn't resist writing a column about it this week.

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