MySaline reported last week that the Bryant Chamber is looking for an interim CEO. The article was correct at the time. But things have a way of changing… The Chamber Board issued a statement on Friday evening, October 6th, that says they are actually going to start looking for a permanent replacement.
The first line in the statement reads, “The Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of CEO Rhonda Sanders.”
The 8 Bryant City Council Members unanimously appointed Mrs. Sanders to serve a five-term as the Mayor of Bryant. That’s just until the City can hold a special election in March, to fill the remainder of the term.
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The Council vote came on Thursday, September 28, 2023, after the former Mayor, Allen Scott, stepped down. Mr. Scott was admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a staff member that is no longer employed with the City.
So it’s a domino effect. Mrs. Sanders initially volunteered to take a leave of absence from the Chamber so she could temporarily fill the Mayor role. This came with the Chamber Board’s blessing. But somewhere along the way, the Chamber and Mrs. Sanders decided mutually that it would be beneficial for the Chamber to be able to hire someone permanently.
It’s an important support role for businesses in Bryant. Mrs. Sanders began serving as CEO earlier in 2023. She said this is the right thing for the Chamber. “I can do a lot to help the City and Chamber to work together.
One goal of the Board’s statement appears to be making it known that this was no attempt to get rid of Sanders. “The Chamber Board appreciates Mrs. Sanders’ willingness to serve when the mayoral position became vacant. Her history of leadership as the CEO of the Arkansas Food Bank, Bryant City Council Member, and Bryant School Board member, among many other positions, makes her an excellent choice to lead the City of Bryant at this time.”
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In our earlier article about this transition, we noted that the Chamber Board hoped to make an announcement by Friday, and they have certainly done that. But there still isn’t a CEO in place. Board President Brooke Plack Bates said, “The Greater Bryant Chamber Board will soon begin the search for a strong, hard-working, and dedicated leader to fill the CEO role. Our members are our top priority. The board will ensure the successful candidate will share in that focus.”
Mrs. Sanders stated, “I completely support the Chamber seeking a CEO to provide the stability of leadership that a leave of absence does not provide. I feel it is the best option for both the City and the Chamber.”
In a phone conversation Friday evening, Mrs. Sanders stated that she promised she didn’t want to run for Mayor in the March Special Election, and she is standing by that. Bryant Chamber staff member Anna Brimhall is taking on any extra duties until a new CEO is named.
Read these 3 previous stories about the Mayor’s resignation, and appointed replacement (sorted from earliest to most recent):