Ethics Commission cautions Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ethics Commission cautions Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM

REPUBLICAN DABBS: Another ethics violation.

By a vote of 5-0, the state Ethics Commission ruled Friday that Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs had violated state ethics rules by giving herself a pay raise, from $65,000 to $71,000, without the approval of the city council. She'll receive a letter of caution for using her office for special personal privilege.

A large crowd was on hand for the hearing involving the controversial Republican mayor, and a number of witnesses — present and former city employees, a member of the city council — testified. The Ethics Commission staff had previously found Dabbs in violation, but she appealed to the Commission for a public hearing. Dabbs testified that she wasn’t interested in the amount of her salary and had only been trying to follow what she believed to be the letter of the law.

She said there had been a lot of negativity in the mayoral campaign, and that since her election, Council Member Danny Steele had been hateful to her. Steele brought the complaint against her and testified against her Friday. Dabbs said the election of a female mayor probably “set him back on his heels.”

City Clerk Heather Kizer, another Republican, also drew a pay raise without Council approval. Both stopped after they were discovered and repaid the excess. Dabbs and Kizer, you might recall, filed suit before last year's election to appear on the ballot for their non-partisan offices under the names Republican Dabbs and Republican Kizer, for better identification among Republican-trending Bryant. Dabbs has been found guilty of a previous ethics violation on campaign reporting. A closed hearing was held today before the Ethics Commission today on yet another, concerning an unreported loan to her campaign and inadequate reporting of a fund-raising fish fry. No word if that will become a hat trick of ethics miscues by Republican Dabbs, who's installed Kizer's husband as the police chief and taken a number of other controversial actions at City Hall.

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