Let city government discussion begin | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let city government discussion begin

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 6:44 AM

PAY RAISE DELAYED: Mayor Mark Stodolas pay remains at $160,000 after last nights city board meeting.
  • PAY RAISE DELAYED: Mayor Mark Stodola's pay remains at $160,000 after last night's city board meeting.
The Little Rock City Board discussion of a pay raise for Mayor Mark Stodola devolved last night into a tangential debate on the cumbersome current form of city government. The core issue — Stodola's pay — failed to muster a sufficient number of votes for change last night and will come up again next week.

The "strong mayor" model — coupled with continued city administration by a city manager — has had its drawbacks.

The Arkansas Times has long endorsed a mayor-council government such as that in North Little Rock. Properly implemented, it would still require a professional chief of staff as a top administrator and the mayor could continue to glad-hand, influence policy and be a can-do symbol of city government. (It would be hoped.) This is no knock on City Manager Bruce Moore by the way. I think he'd make a great mayor.

Fact is, though, the mayor-council discussion will go nowhere if it's up to the City Board to decide the issue. Because the establishment remains in control of city board decisions through the three at-large director positions and the reps for the silk-stocking wards, business-as-the-Chamber-of-Commerce-prefers will remain the order of the day.

But a serious misstep could rouse the electorate to change things.

That could have something to do with the clear reluctance of the City Board to raise Stodola's pay from $160,000 to $179,000 to match Moore's, as a careful campaign on the issue was orchestrated to produce.

Five votes were mustered last night on a compromise proposal by Director Dean Kumpuris to give Stodola a $6,000 raise. One more vote would have passed the measure and Director Lance Hines was absent. City Director Stacy Hurst, who opposed Kumpuris' proposal, said a $4,800 raise, in line with the 3 percent raise given city employees, was more like it.

Do I hear $5,500?

But let's do talk about city government. Its failure to provide definitive leadership on Tech Park development even though city taxpayers are, to date, virtually the sole funders of the pipe dream, is but one example of City Hall shortcomings. The city board's general insensitivity to lower income neighborhoods — coupled with devoted attention to the interests of major business interests — is another. We could use a touch more representative city democracy.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday open line

    Open line and “news” on the Hog football coach.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

    Bill and Hillary Clinton side by side taking questions from Donald Carville. The only thing more I could have asked for was a seat for Donald Trmp to handle the same topics.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • Arkansas a leader in laws against better working conditions

    The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation