|Updated: 1/07 11:26 pm
||Published: 1/07 11:22 pm
PINE BLUFF, AR – The Pine Bluff city council met for its first regularly scheduled meeting with Debe Hollingsworth as mayor Monday night. The council was in executive session for 30 minutes discussing what to do with the appointment of interim chief of police Jeff Hubanks, without resolution.
The problem lies with Hubanks’ residency. Hubanks lives in neither Pine Bluff nor Jefferson County.
"There are two ordinances that govern the hiring and firing of the police chief and we need to establish which one is the governing body," said Hollingsworth.
The decision will now go to an administrative committee involving legal council.
The meeting was standing room only and several of those in attendance shared their view that the New Year’s Day firing of Brenda Davis-Jones and the appointment of Hubanks was motivated by race.
During public comment, one person said that Davis-Jones was fired because “she is black and she is a woman.” Another insinuated that only white males were considered for the interim position.
Hollingsworth replied that Davis-Jones’ services were no longer needed. As for the interim candidates, Hollingsworth would not comment on the race of those considered for the interim position, only that five people applied for the job.
The mayor did take exception to the idea that the position of police chief is a black-and-white issue.
"We campaigned for 19 months to say that race is not an issue here. Our campaign is based on trust and that's the way I still believe. Some people seem to want to focus on race, but not us,” said Hollingsworth.
After the city council meeting, Hollingsworth did say she will host a town hall meeting at the convention center on January 14th at 5:30pm to make herself available to the public and hear their concerns.