ORIGINAL SEPT 23, 2023, 630PM, UPDATED SEPT 26, 2023, 1230PM
What happens next, now that the City of Bryant effectively doesn’t have a Mayor? Let’s start with some background, and take a journey through the timeline. We’ll summarize the Mayor’s resignation, how his duties are performed before he leaves, how and when candidates can apply for the interim position, the process for selection, and the upcoming election afterward.
- ✔️Sept 18-19 – The Mayor Resigns
- ✔️Sept 22 – The Scramble
- ✔️Sept 30 – Whose Duties
- ✔️Sept 26 – Regular Meeting That’s Regular
- ✔️Sept 28 – Collecting Candidates
- ✔️Sept 28 – Considering Candidates
- Oct 1 – Swearing In
- Christmas 2023 – Election Ordinance
- Mar 5 2024 – Arkansas Primary Election
Mon Sept 18-19
The Mayor Resigns
MySaline reported on Monday night, September 18, 2023, that the Bryant City Council requested Mayor Allen Scott to resign, voted “no confidence” and stripped him of all the duties they could by law. They also asked him to turn in all city property in his possession, including a cell phone, laptop, keys and credit card.
Mayor Scott resigned from the position on Tuesday, giving an effective date of September 30, 2023. The City Council has two meetings before that date comes.
Council Member Rob Roedel, who made the motion for Mayor Scott to resign, stated Saturday, “I hope the citizens of Bryant recognize that the City Council’s actions this past week reflect the level of integrity of each Council Member.” Roedel continued, “I can assure everyone that this City Council is among one of the most dedicated bodies that I have had the pleasure to serve with during my tenure. Our united goal is to keep our city moving forward with positive growth.”
Council Member Jason Brown volunteered on Monday night to take on the duties that were taken away from Scott. But Brown is not the Interim Mayor. I have learned that by State Law, that’s not a thing – there’s a Mayor or there isn’t. But I’ll say “Interim” in this article anyway for clarity, since we have several possible Mayoral types:
- The current/almost-former Mayor,
- The City Council Member with Mayor duties that isn’t the Mayor,
- The person that will be appointed to the Mayor position, and
- The person who will be elected in March 2024 to complete the Mayor’s term.
I’ll explain all that below. Meanwhile, Mr. Scott is still in the Mayor position by State Law until the end of his September 30th resignation date. Another person cannot take that position until the current Mayor is done with that period.
READ MORE BELOW 👇🏻
Fri Sept 22
With everything that happened on Monday and Tuesday at the City, the public was left with a lot of questions. How do we get a new Mayor? What happens if a City Council Member takes that position? When will the process begin? What even is the process?
I posed these and other questions to Bryant City Attorney Ashley Clancy on Friday, who was gracious to answer quickly, between regular court sessions and dealing with the task of the Mayor situation first-hand.
I left the information in Question & Answer form, to be sure the meaning wouldn’t be changed with my phrasing. Ms. Clancy also cited some State Laws as well that go with her answers. See below for what I learned:
READ MORE BELOW 👇🏻
Sat Sept 30
Shelli Poole: As I understand it, Allen Scott is still Mayor until after Sept 30th, since that’s his effective resignation date, but that he will have no duties or tools or access to do anything.
Ashley Clancy: State law does give the Mayor duties that cannot be taken away by Council. Click to see the list of powers that Mayor Scott still has, by State Law.
Poole: Council Member Jason Brown is performing the Mayor’s duties currently, since the Council voted for him to do so. Will someone need to be appointed Mayor until there is an election?
Clancy: Since the Mayor had more than 6 months left in his term, the City Council is authorized to appoint any qualified elector of the city, including a member of the council, to serve as acting mayor until the office is filled at the special election. ACA 14-43-401
Poole: Is Mr. Brown getting paid any salary or expenses or employee benefits associated with his current role of taking on the Mayor’s duties?
Clancy: He is not. He was appointed on a voluntary basis.
Tue Sept 26
Regular Meeting That’s Regular
Poole: There’s a regularly scheduled City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept 26th. Will Mayor Scott preside over the meeting?
Clancy: Mayor Allen Scott has personally told me that he will not be in attendance at the September 26th meeting. The law allows for the Council to appoint one of their members to preside over the meeting in the absence of the Mayor. ACA 14-43-501
(This regularly scheduled meeting will not have any items on the agenda that deal with replacing the Mayor.)
READ MORE BELOW 👇🏻
Until Thu Sept 28
Poole: If anyone wants to apply as a candidate for mayor between now and the Special Meeting Thursday, September 28th at 6:30 p.m., how do they do that?
Clancy: Contact any council member. Submit a resume.
Poole: What is the deadline to submit a resume?
Clancy: I would do it as soon as possible. There is not really a deadline. Right now a special meeting is set to be called on Thursday, September 28 so definitely before then.
Poole: Is it possible to get a list before the meeting of who all is being considered?
Clancy: You would have to contact each individual council member and ask if they have a recommendation.
Thu Sept 28
There is a special meeting Thursday for the purpose of choosing who will be in the position next. Is this meeting to appoint someone as interim mayor, and then there’s going to be an election in March?
Correct- legally there is no such thing as “interim” mayor. They will appoint someone to be Mayor until the election in March.
Poole: Would an Interim Mayor get paid any salary or expenses or benefits? How is it determined how much? Is it the same as the outgoing Mayor’s salary?
Clancy: An interim mayor would have the same rights and duties as an elected Mayor. There is really no such thing as an “interim” Mayor. Once appointed that is the Mayor. The City has a compensation policy that is specific to elected and appointed officials. This salary would not necessarily be the same as the outgoing Mayor’s salary because there are increases for years of service and education.
Poole: Can a City Council seat remain vacant until an election?
Clancy: No. ACA 14-43-411
Poole: Am I correct that if a City Council Member is appointed as Interim Mayor, then they must vacate the City Council seat?
Clancy: Correct. Then a new council member would have to be voted on or elected in accordance to ACA 14-43-411
Poole: And then does the City Council appoint an interim Council Member? Would there need to be an election for that position also, if there is over a year left in the term?
Clancy: See ACA 14-43-411. The Council may vote by a majority vote on the new city council member or hold a special election. It depends if the member had more than 1 year of service left.
Poole: Assuming there are eight council members present in Thursday’s meeting, If there is a tie in a vote, who would break the tie?
Clancy: A Majority vote is required for an Appointment. So if there is a tie vote, that person is not appointed.
Poole: If one or more council members are being considered for the mayorship, do they need to recuse themselves from voting on others?
Clancy: Not necessarily, if they believe they can be impartial in the voting process, they may still vote. They make that decision on their own. A council member cannot vote for themselves. They have to abstain on voting if it is regarding them.
READ MORE BELOW 👇🏻
Poole: What is the process of selection?
Clancy answered this question via a copy of the email that was sent to City Council Members (see the section of it below). HOWEVER it should be noted that there is no required method of selection. Council Members may adopt a different method once the meeting begins.
- A motion should be made by a Council Member to Appoint person A.
- Then an executive session should be called to discuss that person.
- Council Members can bring that person into executive session to ask questions.
- Council Members come out of executive session and vote on that person.
- An appointment needs a majority vote to pass.
- If person A is not appointed by majority vote, another motion is made to appoint person B.
- This process will go on until there is a majority vote to appoint the next mayor.
- In executive session, you should be discussing ONE person at a time, the person whom the motion was made on.
- City Attorney Clancy encouraged City Council that when a person is voted by majority, they share with the public why this person was appointed.
One Council Member noted that the method may change to move the voting to the end of the meeting. MySaline will be there livestreaming the video to www.facebook.com/mysaline.
Sun Oct 1
Poole: Will City council’s decision be put into effect immediately on October 1st?
Clancy: Yes. The new Mayor will be sworn in on October 1.
Poole: Does City Council need to make an ordinance for the election?
Clancy: Yes, the Ordinance has to be done and sent to county clerk’s office at least 70 days before the election date.
(The date for the Arkansas Primary Election is March 5, 2024, which means City Council will need to complete the Ordinance and have it submitted before Christmas.)
Tue Mar 5 2024
Arkansas Primary Election
Poole: Am I correct that there must be an election if more than one year is left in the Mayor’s term?
Clancy: Correct, ACA 14-43-401
That is where we stand with the Mayorship in Bryant, Arkansas. We will know more after the Special Meeting on Thursday, September 28, 2023. Again, MySaline will be there livestreaming the video to www.facebook.com/mysaline. Watch MySaline.com also, for updates.