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November 19, 2017

Race to fill Civil Service Commission seats packed​ with applicants


Race to fill Civil Service Commission seats packed​ with applicants

FORT SMITH, Ark. —The race to fill news positions on the Fort Smith Civil Service…



The race to fill news positions on the Fort Smith Civil Service Commission is packed with applicants.

The commission oversees the police and fire departments and it has been controversial the last few months.

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According to records from the city, 17 people have applied for 2 newly created positions. City directors could appoint the new members Tuesday evening at the board of directors meeting. The applicants range from private citizens, retired officers and firefighters, business people, a retired judge, and an elementary school principal.

Once the new positions are filled the civil service commission will have 7 members.

Recently, Police Chief Nathaniel Clark proposed a policy change that would allow officers from outside the department to be hired for ranking positions. The proposal was opposed by the Fort Smith Fraternal Order of Police.

The motion failed and Chief Clark withdrew it, but, the issue could come up again before the new, bigger commission.

“I’m a fair and reasonable person and I think fair is the key word, ” said Janie Johnston.

Johnston worked in the medical field. She and her husband own Johnston Quality Flowers in downtown Fort Smith. The business has been operating in the city for more than a century.

When asked why she submitted an application to be on the commission, Johnston replied, “I think it’s a wonderful way to be able to give back to my hometown city.”

One of the main requirements is that applicants must live in Fort Smith.

“I’m open, I’m not set in my mind on anything,” Barbara Williams said. “I fight for what I believe in.”

Williams is a retired bank vice president and then she retired from the Fort Smith Police Department after serving 13 years.

“I think I could help tell who would be a good applicant for the police and fire department, ” Williams added. “I just feel like I have a heart to serve, I’m able to do that.”

“I truly think that Fort Smith is headed in the right direction,” said Bryan Merry.

Merry is an insurance agent who has served on the city parks commission.

“A lot of compromise, I think, has to be made and I’ve heard they’re heading in he right direction,” Merry added. “They’re starting to mend the bridges.”

“In my daily job, each day I spend a lot of time on conflict resolution,” said Robyn Dawson.

Dawson is the principal at Spradling Elementary in Fort Smith. She said she thinks diversity is important for the police and fire departments.

“Being the principal on the north side of town we value that, we embrace it,” added Dawson.

A civil service commissioner does not get paid. Commissioners are appointed to 6-year terms.

To view the applications for all 17 people who applied to be on the commission click this link.


Source: Race to fill Civil Service Commission seats packed​ with applicants

Race to fill Civil Service Commission seats packed​ with applicants

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