Martin resigns from Trumann City Council; Ted Walker fill position

Friday, February 22, 2013
Tom Martin

Trumann Mayor Sheila Walters announced at the February meeting of the Trumann City Council that Alderman Tom Martin will no longer serve on the council. Martin held the Ward 2 Position 1 council seat.

Martin's official last day to serve on the council was Jan. 31, Walters said. She had a plaque of appreciation for Martin, but he was not present at the meeting.

"He has done a good job on the council," said Mayor Walters. "He has worked extremely hard and we really do appreciate it."

According to Walters, Martin recommended Ted Walker for his vacancy on the council. Walker presented himself before the council stating his educational background with two college degrees and work experience as an auditor for 30 years. He is a member of the First Baptist Church, and spoke highly of the town of Trumann.

"I have always had the belief that a group of people will accomplish more," said Walker. "With a team vision and a team effort, we could have really good things working for us."

Alderman Rick Atkins showed concern about the legality of voting Walker in without the public and even council members being unaware of the vacancy on the council.

"I have had some people ask me about the position," said Atkins. "To my knowledge, Tom was not resigning, so I told these people that there was not an open spot. I have nothing against Mr. Walker, but because of the misinformation I have given people, I feel everyone should have a fair chance. I hate to tell people we voted someone in, when I told them we were not going to."

Council members did end up voting on the matter, but approval for Walker failed with a 5-4 vote.

"The big thing is that it wasn't made public," said Alderman Jason Stewart.

With it not being election time, the council can vote anyone they see fit to serve the city of Trumann by a majority vote without the public's votes if said person presents themselves before the council. Mayor Walters said she would start looking at other resumes she has received for the position. To her knowledge, Walker was the most qualified for the position and the only applicant who has previously ran for the council.

A special meeting was called to order on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and the council voted once more to appoint Ted Walker to the vacant position. The council voted in favor of the motion.

Several aldermen had spoken to the public about their position on the matter.

Alderman Jason Stewart said many citizens he spoke to felt Walker was a better choice for the position as opposed to someone else. The council also discussed Walker, who is semi-retired, having more time for the city's needs.

"He will be sworn in before the March meeting and will take a seat in March," said Mayor Walters.

The council also heard from Bobby Hightower concerning mobile vending sites in Trumann. According to Hightower, in April of 2011, the city council approved an ordinance to allow the mobile food stands. His concerns were not only with the unsightliness of them, but the equality of actual restaurants in Trumann and the mobile vending sites.

"I have been in this town for 47 years, and it has taken that long for Trumann to not have a manufactured carnival look," said Hightower. "I have had my own food business for 33 years, and that came with paying taxes, employees, and keeping my money in Trumann. These vendors do not have to play by the same rules that I do."

Walters stated that establishing the food vendor ordinance began with just a few local people wanting to sell snow cones. "Your concern is fair, and we are unaware of these issues until someone comes forward with them," she said.

In other business, the council:

*accepted an ordinance to amend the 2012 cleanup budget.

*accepted a bid on a new sanitation building to house the sanitation truck.

*approved a bid for a new sewer lift pump for Mulberry Street.

*heard from Mayor Walters with some general information about the bids being taken for uniforms, trophies, and concessions for the youth sports at the Trumann Sports Complex. At the special meeting, the mayor announced Papaw's BBQ in Trumann winning the bid for concession; Wood's Sign & Decal winning the bid on T-Shirts; and declining all bids on trophies. The bid for trophies will open at a later date.

*approved to sell Chief Chad Henson the property owned by the city on N. Ozark Street along with the lot where he plans to build a duplex and shop.

*approved Carrie Trego and Becca George to serve on the Park and Recreation committee for a three year term.

*announced that Gillis Construction of Jonesboro won the bid for the construction of the pond near Mulberry.

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