Fort Smith director’s bid to alter agenda fails
FORT SMITH — Discussing removal of the Civil Service Commission chairman will create another uproar Fort Smith doesn’t need, a city director said Thursday in his unsuccessful attempt to remove the executive session item from Tuesday’s meeting agenda.
George Catsavis contacted City Clerk Sherri Gard on Thursday afternoon and requested the discussion over removing commission Chairman Chip Sexton be dropped from the agenda, Gard wrote in an email she sent out at 4:18 p.m. Thursday.
“I think it’s ridiculous to even consider removing Chip Sexton,” Catsavis said.
He said Sexton did a good job on the commission and is well-respected within the city. Catsavis also said the directors just weathered a controversy over recycling and they need to move on with the work of the city and not create another dispute.
Gard wrote city ordinances require consent of four directors to add or remove an agenda item. She contacted all but one of the other directors, Kevin Settle. Of the others, she wrote, City Director Don Hutchings wanted the executive session item removed, but City Directors Keith Lau, Andre Good, Mike Lorenz
and Tracy Pennartz wanted the item to remain on the agenda.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Fort Smith Public Schools Service Center at 3205 Jenny Lind Road.
Lau requested at the June 27 meeting the item be on Tuesday’s agenda. He said he wanted to discuss whether it
was a conflict of interest for Sexton to remain on the commission when his law partner Joey McCutchen is suing the city.
McCutchen is representing Bruce Wade in a Sebastian County Circuit Court lawsuit charging directors violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by circulating email among themselves calling for the dissolution of the commission because it failed to act on a request from Police Chief Nathaniel Clark to change the commission rules to allow people from outside the department to apply for supervisory positions on the force.
Sexton has said he didn’t believe there was a conflict of interest to justify his removal, and the directors wouldn’t muster the five votes to remove him.
He also said he wasn’t McCutchen’s law partner but they shared offices as a cost-saving measure.