Wednesday, November 9, 2011

City Gets Budget; Willis Gets Huge Political Victory

Arnell Willis
After months of haggling and operating the city in apparent violation of state law, the Helena-West Helena City Council passed a budget last night that has the support of Mayor Arnell Willis.

The budget appears to be a pure victory for Willis on all the disputed points, including what he chose to pay himself, two new department heads, and employees in his office.  Mayor Willis will receive the $75000 he has been paying himself all year even though the local base pay ordinance called for $48000.  City Attorney Chalk Mitchell gets the $62000 he wanted.  City Treasurer Patrick Roberson will be paid $28000.  Those figures are also higher than the previous base pay ordinance which had not been being followed.

The action also provided $35000 for additional legal defense.  Willis and Mitchell have been hiring Attorney and former State Representative Jimmie L. Wilson for that purpose.  Willis also got the salaries he had been wanting and paying in violation of the ordinance for Sanitation Director Bobby "Ga Ga" Jones and Parks and Recreation Director Anthony "Deuce" Banks.  Both of those were hired by Willis despite criminal histories.

Christopher Franklin, A Previously Vocal Willis Critic
No word yet on what brought about the sudden surrender of the alderman who had fought all year with Willis and said he was violating state law by giving himself and others unauthorized raises not allowed under the local base pay ordinance.  Alderman Marvin Jarrett presented the budget resolution.  Also caving in from their previously held positions were Alderman Larry Brown, Alderman Monica Davis, Alderman Lakesia Chandler, and Alderman Christopher Franklin.

The budget does not appear to have any of the items that the alderman had been saying they wanted, such as the reinstatement of some former employees dismissed by Willis.

No comments:

Post a Comment