Last week was a very busy one for the Greenwood City Council. They met on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday’s meeting was the monthly Council meeting, but Wednesday and Thursday were special called meetings for the purpose of voting on whether or not to follow State law and elect a new mayor.
On Monday, when the issue of filling the position of Mayor was brought up, two different opinions were presented. City Attorney Mike Hamby notified the council that the law required an election to be called, although it did not specifically state when to hold the election. Hamby further advised the council that he believed waiting until the general election in November would not be a wise decision. A.C. Brown contended that holding two different elections along with a possible two additional runoff elections in the same year would not be the best thing for Greenwood. He compared Greenwood’s situation to that of the State’s coming election for Lt. Governor.
Councilman Lee Johnson motioned to vote on calling for the election to coincide with the State’s primary election on May 20. It died after none of the other councilmen seconded the motion.
Two days later, Mayor Pro Tem Jimmy Gossett called a special council meeting to revisit the issue. Lee Johnson, A.C. Brown and Lance Terry were the only councilmen in attendance at that meeting. Without a quorum (at least four council members present), no vote could be taken.
City Attorney Mike Hamby, however, addressed the council. He notified them that not calling a special election could put them in violation of the law and subject to a lawsuit. He further notified them that if that did happen, they might lose their immunity. That would make each member individually responsible for his own legal representation and defense.
Another meeting was called for Thursday night with each council member finally in attendance. At the beginning of the meeting, A.C. Brown addressed the council. "It’s probably because of me and my actions we’re here for a third time this week," he said. "I thought setting the date to coincide with the general election in November would spare those candidates that would be running for mayor the expense, the time and the emotional wear and tear of campaigning for two elections and possibly two runoff elections."
Brown then called for a vote to hold the election in May. It was seconded and approved unanimously.
The election will be held on Tuesday, May 20. The period for potential candidates to sign up begins on February 24 at noon and lasts until March 3 at noon. Sharla Derry, Greenwood’s City Clerk/Treasurer, recommends that all candidates go to www.arkansasethics.com and sign up for free classes on Campaign Training.
Currently, Alex Selkirk and Doug Kinslow have Facebook pages specifically for their campaign for Greenwood Mayor.