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Fort Smith Governance Policy Debate Revived; 'Brainstorming' Meeting Set [Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark. :: ]
[August 24, 2014]

Fort Smith Governance Policy Debate Revived; 'Brainstorming' Meeting Set [Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark. :: ]

(Times Record (Fort Smith, AR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 24--A proposed Fort Smith governance policy that died in June is up for another round of discussion Tuesday.

Requested in summer 2013 by the Fort Smith Board of Directors, the draft policy was pulled from a meeting's consent agenda June 3, then died for lack of a motion. At the time, Ward 3 Director Mike Lorenz said he supported the policy but wanted to see all directors "on board." "That's the only reason I didn't make a motion," he said.

At-Large Director Philip Merry Jr. deemed some policy items "a bit controlling." According to the seven-page draft, the policy is "designed to provide guidance for the board and city administration." It includes a code of ethics and list of responsibilities for the mayor, vice mayor and Board of Directors. It also documents how the board should communicate with other boards, commissions and committees.

Other policy topics include "board decision-making process," "legal counsel and litigation," "censure of board members" and a dozen-plus more.

Lorenz and Ward 1 Director Keith Lau requested the proposal be reviewed again. The policy is on the board's study session agenda.

The agenda also includes a review of both the city's proposed "strategic technology plan" and 2015 departmental service objectives. The study session begins at noon Tuesday at the Elm Grove Community Center, 1901 N. Greenwood Road.

Brainstorming Session Monday On the evening prior, the board will take part in a "brainstorming" meeting at the Sanitation Department administration building, 5900 Commerce Road. It begins at 6 p.m. Monday.

The board began holding quarterly brainstorming meetings in February. Directors initially proposed them during a two-day retreat at Mount Magazine State Park in July 2013. According to a set of rules established to govern the meetings, "The discussion should be about the 'what' and 'why' questions." The rules also state they are designed to "allow the mayor and board members to engage in free-flowing discussion on matters of importance to the elected officials." The objective is to "identify new, creative, innovative, breakthrough ways to view and solve problems, issues and concerns." At the last session in late May, directors tackled 15 topics that included expansion of the rail trolley, the same governance policy, economic development and the downtown area. The next brainstorming meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27.

___ (c)2014 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.) Visit Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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