PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - A Pine Bluff alderman has collected enough signatures to bring to the ballot a question that will determine whether the mayor can hire and fire the city's police and fire chiefs.
City Clerk Loretta Whitfield on Thursday said Alderman Bill Brumett's drive brought in 3,331 signatures. He needed 2,803 to force the vote.
"We felt that this was an issue on which the people needed to decide," Brumett said. "I'm relieved that we finally accomplished that."
Mayor Carl Redus broke a 4-4 tie on May 1 to pass a proposal to give him power to hire and fire the chiefs. Brumett came up short in an initial attempt to put the measure on the ballot but his second batch of signatures was certified Thursday.
Redus said he will campaign to keep his authority to hire and fire the chiefs. Pine Bluff took that authority away from the mayor's office in 1999, when the city council transferred that power to the Civil Service Commission.
The petition called for the question to be decided in the Nov. 4, 2008, when Redus will be up for re-election. But state law calls for special elections to be held within 120 days of certification. That could mean the issue will be on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.ardemgaz.com
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