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New City Board Organizes

The new aldermen and mayor were sworn in and committees set for the new board.

In a special called session, the Board of Mayor and Alderman saw a new mayor sworn in along with three new aldermen as well as one returning official.

After the board certified the election results, Judge Rhea Thompson swore in Michael Whisenant as the new mayor along with Jeff Alder, Tonya Allen, Donna Hartman, and Dorothy Small as aldermen. They’ll join current Alderman Danny Bryant on the board.

With Gwen Shelton resigning from her alderman seat, that’ll leave one open seat to be filled. The Board will vote on who fills that seat in an upcoming session.

Committee Members Set

During the session, Mayor Whisenant put forth names for various city committees. Here’s a list of the aldermen appointed to each:

  • School board – Bryant
  • Beverage board – Hartman and Small
  • FPU – Alder
  • Planning Commission – Small
  • Chamber of Commerce – Alder
  • Fayetteville Main Street – Hartman
  • TV/Cable – Allen
  • Industrial Development Board Oversight – Alder, Small, and Hartman
  • Police and Fire – Allen and Hartman
  • Finance and Audit – Bryant and Alder
  • Public Works – Small and Bryant
  • Parks and Recreation – Allen
  • IT and Planning – Allen

Jobs and Experience

With those committees set, Mayor Whisenant went on to talk a bit about his priorities in the coming year. “Jobs are our number one focus,” Whisenant said. “We still have the closing of Daikin Goodman in 2019. I’ll be working very closely with Mr. Collins and we’ll be working across the street with the county and with IDB. Two of our strongest assets we have are the city school system and Fayetteville Public Utilities. I’ve worked will with Mr. Dye and Mrs. Wilson and the school board members. We’re going to continue to do that.”

Alderman Bryant addressed the number of new people elected to serve on the board. With its current makeup, the board has two aldermen with previous public service in Bryant and Small. Whisenant also brings prior service as an alderman into the mayor’s seat. Once the fifth seat is filled, it can be up to four new aldermen on the board that haven’t served in public office prior to their election.

Bryant said, “We’ve got more new ones than ones that have been here but we’ll be fine. There’s been talk around this many new people coming in. Maybe we didn’t have the experience we need. We’re going to be fine. We’ve got good people coming in. There’s not going to be any problem. We’re not going to miss a beat.”

Earlier in the session, Whisenant also announced a special training session for the new aldermen. Set for January, the training will bring the new officials up-to-speed on the workings of city government.

Recycling Center

In a separate special session of the evening, the board tackled the recent issues surrounding the Recycling Center. Aldermen approved a motion to use current approved funds to hire Richardson Waste Management for 90 days. That’ll match last week’s motion from the County Commission.

City officials plan to work with the county on creating a bid package to bid out the center’s operations. If approved, that’ll move the recycling center out of the non-profit’s management into a private company.

The full board meeting can be seen below. Mark your calendars for next month’s meeting on December 11th at 5pm.

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