State Representative John T. Vines submitted an AG Opinion request on behalf of Brian Albright, Hot Springs City Attorney, posing five questions related to a petition submitted to the Mayor of Hot Springs calling for an election to vote FOR or AGAINST return to the aldermanic form of government. The AG Opinion (No. 2012-139) is dated January 30, 2012.
City Candidates for Board of Director
– Click below for videos of local candidate debate October 11, 2012 at the Garland County Library-
Look for this poster & other signage at our booth at the Garland County Fair in September!
Only registered voters who are city residents are eligible to sign the petition.It will mandate an opportunity for city voters to decide “FOR” or “AGAINST” the change.
If sucessful, the city manager and board of directors would be replaced by a strong mayor/aldermanic form of government. Under the “new” system (which would be an abandonment of the city manager experiment and return to the original form of city government) department heads would be directly accountable to a mayor with hiring/firing authority. A directly elected official (the mayor) would be CEO of the city instead of an unelected city manager hired by the city directors, who takes no oath of office, and who cannot be fired by the voters at the polling places.
The National Property Rights Alliance and others assert that Municipal ETJ’s including the Hot Springs ETJ are Unconstitutional. It may feel “un-American” for City officials to control real estate matters infringing on the property rights of citizens outside municipal limits who cannot vote in city elections and are not entitled to city services … and that it surely must therefore be “Unconstitutional”.
Can definite and specific explanations be made with direct reference to the relevant parts of the Constitution? Or else arguments referencing other founding documents that inform understanding the Constitution? What argument could a lawyer make to a judge or a jury in court for ETJ Unconstitutionality?
I hereby invite my readers to take a stab at that question using the “Leave a reply” feature below.
The City of Hot Springs, Arkansas continues it’s violation of citizens property rights in the vast Planning Area around the city which it claims as it’s “Extra Territorial Jurisdiction” . Last year, with considerable citizen activism and input, the Board of Directors voted on the question of whether or not to entirely rescind the ETJ. Mayor Ruth Carney and Director Peggy Maruther voted for the proposal to end the ETJ, but all of the other Directors said “no”.
Another approach to solving this problem is being pursued. As it turns out, Arkansas law provides that an election to change the City’s form of government back to a mayor/alderman form of government can be mandated by a petition signed by registered city voters numbering at least 15% of the number of votes cast in the mayoral race in the previous election.
If the election measure is successful, the City Manager position, along with all of the Director positions would be done away with. A special election would be held for selection of new City Alderman, Mayor, City Attorney, City Clerk, and Treasurer/Recorder. Absent an unelected City Manager, the mayor would be salaried and have “strong” mayoral authority. Department heads would be accountable to a mayor with hiring/firing authority, which will hopefully be exercised in the Planning Department, where Property Rights Violations of citizens in the ETJ currently finds it’s most zealous champion in the form of the Planning Director.
Alderman Candidates can expect to be questioned and examined about knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and their commitment to be faithful to it. Will the alderman candidate respect property rights of all citizens, and commit to promptly vote for repeal of the City’s Unconstitutional ETJ?