|Updated: 1/01 1:47 pm
||Published: 1/01 1:39 pm
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - For the first time since 1989, the city of North Little Rock has new leadership. Voters pushed Joe Smith to the mayor's office after a heated runoff to takeover for outgoing mayor Pat Hays.
It's a familiar walk down the city hall steps for Joe Smith. But on Tuesday, he did so as mayor of North Little Rock, a city he's worked in for more than 20 years.
In his first few minutes of mayor, Smith talked about the work ahead.
"I think it is going to be working closely with the alderman, trying to find out what they really want in their wards and what I can do to help make their wards a better place to live."
How does that happen in a city of more than 60,000? Smith says if the economy improves, it's about increased development.
"We're going to concentrate and I'm going to have a staff member that is going to work exclusively with merchants in other parts of town to try and create other great places, rather than just downtown," Smith says.
Smith takes over for Pat Hays who has served as North Little Rock's mayor since 1989. Many of those years, Smith worked closely right alongside Hays.
"We've had a tremendous amount of success over the last 24 years and that's been done by hard work,” Smith says. “Getting up everyday and trying to make something happen. That's not going to change."