Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jarrett Issues Press Release: "Mayor's Veto Is About His Salary and Department Heads with Criminal Pasts"

Marvin Jarrett, Alderman representing Ward 5, has issued a press release. It is a brief statement and we are including the full text for clarity's sake. Notably, Mayor Arnell Willis and former Mayor James F. Valley both reside in Ward 5 and are therefore represented by Marvin Jarrett and Don Etherly on the city council.

Here's the full text of Marvin Jarrett's recently issued press release:


Mayor Arnell Willis, Sr. delivered a veto of Resolution 4 – 2011 to the city clerk on February 1, 2011, which halted all Helena West Helena operations except fire and police. On January 31, 2011, after hearing a report from City Treasurer Patrick Roberson’s financial report, an appropriations resolution (4-2011) was passed for the city to operate month-to-month so that the finances can be reviewed monthly and adjustments made as needed to the budget on a monthly basis in an effort to address the issue of  the city being “Bankrupt” according to the mayor and supported by the treasurer.

It is the majority of the council’s opinion that it is better to err on the side of caution. There are State Laws and Ordinances in place that the mayor refuses to abide by and is trying to usurp authority over Arkansas Code Annotated §14-55-401(b) which gives the City Council management and control of “finances as well as real and personal property”. The operation of a month-to-month budget is the only a way to operate the city in a penny-wise way until the city gets in better financial shape.

Mayor Willis’s reason for the veto and use of Arkansas Code Annotated §14-58-201 is clearly reaching for straws and purposely used only as a reason to provide a veto even after stating in the meeting that he would not veto the measure and shut the city operations down. Arkansas Code Annotated §14-58-201 does not state that Resolution 4 – 2011 was illegal. Resolution 4 – 2011 satisfied Arkansas Code Annotated §14-58-202 which states “on, or before February 1 of each year, the governing body of the municipality shall adopt a budget for the operation of the city”.

Mayor Willis’s veto is not about legality or not. It is about him wanting a raise from $48,000, which is the current Base Pay Ordinance rate, to $75,000 which is proposed in his budget and about Department Heads with criminal pasts that he has illegally hired without advertising, doing background checks or legitimate pre-employment drug screenings  and wants to pay $45,000 on his budget.

Alderman Marvin Jarrett
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