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Greenwood City Council Moves Mayor Election to May

Arkansas statutes clearly state no time in which a special election must be called to fill a vacancy in a mayor’s office. So, Monday evening, the Greenwood City Council saw no hurry in setting such an election. In fact, Councilman A.C. Brown suggested following the state’s example and waiting until the general election in November. (See related article) Others agreed. The state is not going to have a special election to fill the unexpired term of the Lieutenant Governor who resigned recently.

Several candidates have expressed an interest in running to fill the unexpired, gossip tainted term of Delmer Gabbard who resigned last month amid widespread speculation as to why.

Now, phone calls to lawyers and councilmen by prospective candidates, threats of litigation and conflicting information from the Arkansas Municipal League have resulted in a different outcome. The Municipal League covers legal expenses and provides loss coverage in most instances when its member cities are sued. The Municipal Leagues’ stance on this issue varies with the perspective of the listener.

Telling the council that they could be sued individually for not taking his advice, the City Attorney Mike Hamby has cast a dismal light on leaving the post open until November while admitting that common sense would dictate not having a bunch of elections an run-off’s all in one year.

The legislature convenes Monday in Little Rock. It is most likely to address this situation at the state level.  Arkansas is making it just fine without a Lieutenant Governor and Greenwood is managing to keep the lights on with Vice-Mayor Jimmy Gossett acting as Mayor Pro Temp.

The City Council voted Thursday evening to have a special election on May 20th on the same ballot as the party primaries. If there is a run-off, it will cost the city $6512.00 according to the Sebastian County Election Commission. As soon as a mayor is elected, it will be time to announce his candidacy for the general election in November. Thus, because of threats and cajoling, the city might well pay for several elections and pay someone about $4,000.00 per month to do nothing, but run for mayor in November.  If the same crowd of expected candidates files to run, we will repeat the scenario in November-an election and a run-off.

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