Letter to the Editor

Updated: January 12, 2018

To my fellow citizens of Ashdown,

Did you notice the large number, 10 to be exact, of City Ordinances/Laws in last week’s LR News? Did you see that some of them dated back over two years, to 2015 to be exact. Strange you ask? Yes, it is, because state law A.C.A. 14-55-206 requires every ordinance voted into law at City Hall, shall be published in order for us citizens to know what is being done for or to us.\

I made Clerk Kirk Mounts and later Mayor James Sutton aware of the new laws not being published back in October. Why is this violation of this law especially important to all of us? Every new ordinance involves our tax money and /or services provided in some way. We have every right to know about them and our elected officials have a sworn duty to follow the law.  After I repeatedly asked them to publish these unpublished ordinances to correct the legal problem and let us know what is in the ordinances, however, I was told that “it wasn’t going to happen because they saw no need to go back now and publish them”

I could not accept that reply so I got authorities in Little Rock involved. After a couple of phone calls in late December to local elected officials from authorities in Little Rock, City Hall decided to reconsider their position and have now ran the ordinances and assured those same authorities that violations such as this will never happen again.

Was this an honest oversight during these 2 + years or were we just not to know what was in some of these ordinances. I want to believe it was the former and not the latter. Either however, shows that someone was not doing their job by allowing this to happen. This went on for over 2 years, no way of knowing how much longer it would have continued if I had not gotten involved and brought it to City Halls attention.

If you read these ordinances you will see one of them involves the city buying used equipment from the Mayor, another is increasing the City Clerks salary from $38,000 to $44,000 and exactly doubling the Council members pay from $150 to $300 per meeting, another appears to increase the trash fee for businesses although the Exhibit “A” mentioned is missing, another is borrowing $321,370 to purchase real or personal property at the City Park (it is not specific). All of these could have been controversial if the public had known about them at the time plus they were all passed with the Emergency Clause.

No individual, especially our elected city officials can pick and choose which laws will be followed. Do you believe as I do that out of the 9 elected officials at City Hall that at least 1 of them should have caught this violation of the law over this 2 + year period? Does a violation of this magnitude cause you to ask “Is anything else improper being done and why do these elected officials have to be told by authorities in Little Rock to correct a violation of a law?


Carroll McLarty

Ashdown, Ark.