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Pine Bluff Officials Now Must Live Within 12 Miles of City Limits

After nearly six months of discussions and debate, the City of Pine Bluff has settled on a residency requirement for city employees and department heads.
PINE BLUFF, AR -- After nearly six months of discussions and debate, the City of Pine Bluff has settled on a residency requirement for city employees and department heads.

The issue came up when Mayor Debe Hollingsworth took office, fired Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones and hired interim Chief Jeff Hubanks, who didn't live inside Pine Bluff city limits, which city ordinances had outlined was a requirement for the job.

Several tense city council meetings highlighted the city hadn't been following its own hiring policies for several years, and the city council determined a new resolution was needed.

The new requirement: city employees and department heads have to live within 12 miles of city limits to be eligible for employment. The other ordinances were repealed, and city attorney Althea Hadden Scott believes it should be a clear policy for future hirings.

"I think that it's a matter of cleaning it up, addressing all the issues. I think the mayor and city council worked together to come up with a solution agreeable to everyone," Scott says.

Employees and department heads who are already employed with the city are grandfathered in through this, meaning it only affects future hires.

The vote wasn't unanimous, however.

Mayor Hollingsworth had to cast the deciding vote in favor of the current ordinance.
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