GOULD, AR -- The mayor of the Lincoln County town of Gould has resigned.
Earnest Nash, Jr. made the announcement in a State of the City address Thursday night at Gould City Hall.
Nash says he and the city council are "not on the same page", he has business opportunities elsewhere, and that it is simply "time to move on".
The mayor and the city council have been at odds over a number of issues, including how to pay almost $300,000.00 in back taxes owed to the IRS from 2011.
That debt was later forgiven.
Nash says he plans to work for a company called Medical Academies of Arkansas.
The following is a statement from Earnest Nash regarding the resignation:
The following is a copy of the Gould State of the City address:
"In Ecclesiastes, chapter 9 I have found words of comfort, understanding, strength and guidance. When reading it I have concluded that the righteous, and the wise, and what they do are in God’s hands, but no matter how righteous or how wise, no one knows whether they will be received with love or hate, even with those whom they try to help.
We all share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who stand as a stumbling block. As it is with the good, so is it with the sinful, one or the other actions determines the end result of the fate of all involved.
Those who take an oath to serve should do so with a mind to work with clean hands, openly to the eyes of both friends and adversaries, so that those who are afraid to do so, or desire to one day do the same, can take their density on without reservations or fear of retaliation. These are the beliefs I came into public service with and have worked hard to retain throughout my tenure.
While serving as your mayor I have seen and experienced some evil things that have attempted to alter the fate of this town. While there are some with evilness of heart, and madness of mind, there are far more with love and concern for each other and the town of Gould as a whole.
While many, some of whom are our own, sit back and gossip, laugh and wait for the demise of our town, I, along with many of you have traveled, negotiated, worked, and sacrificed personally because we live in hope of seeing this as a better place to live, raise our children and grandchildren, retire and enjoy; because we understand that even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
When considering this I and reminded of two particular truths. One, there is nothing new under the sun, so whatever we must endure to go forward has been before; and secondly, the race is not given to the swift nor the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise, nor wealth to men of understanding, nor favor to those with good skills; but time and chance happen to them all.
No one knows when their hour of chance will come. As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. Needless to say, I have often found myself and this city as a pawn in the game of chance. Yet, I have been greatly impress by the wisdom and kind acts, and encouragement of outsider who have minimize the harm that came about through the games people have played with the livelihood of me personally and the future of this town.
I am reminder of a story where there was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it, and built huge barricade around it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, who saved the city by using his wisdom. Once saved and able to move forward, nobody remembered the poor man or what he had done for them.
Although in reality, “Wisdom in most cases is better than strength,” the poor man was despised because of his wisdom, and his words were no longer heeded. The people of the saved town soon forgot the quiet words of the wise are more to be regarded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. They forgot that wisdom is better than great weapons of war, but one seeking revenge can destroys much good.
I came to this community at the age of six year old, and I grew into a man while developing a love rooted so deep in my heart I carried this community everywhere I went. From Pine Bluff to the east coast, to the west coast, from the north to the south, I wore my Panther pride on my chest.
I said in the ninth grade to my class mates, one day I would return and become mayor of this community. Not to line my pockets with great sums of money, there wasn’t any. Not so I could inflect pain and hardships as a pay back to all the people that I had to fight for the simple right to walk home after school without being beat up.
But I wanted to serve my community and return to the citizens a community that had been stolen from them. So I left and went out into the world to get the necessary experience and to become knowledgeable, and to practice how to wire myself into certain networks so that when the call came, I would be equipped to answer.
I did not just wake up one morning and decide that I wanted to be mayor. It was a journey that took me from serving as alderman, to working on the street department, to the fire department, to police department, to serving as court clerk, to serving as recording treasurer, to serving as mayor for the last six years.
*As recording treasurer I worked to bring honor, respect, accountability and transparency to you the people. *As acting mayor, I started with something as simple as obtaining trash cans with a new solid waste collection company, I heard your concerns, and I delivered.
*At that time we were placed into bankruptcy, and I begin to negotiate with creditors to settle our debts for pennies on the dollars, and many of our creditors forgave the debts completely.
* I exceeded the promise that I made to lead the community out of bankruptcy within one year, and we were out in six and a half months.
*One of our biggest hurdles to overcome was to deal with more than three hundred thousand dollars in back payroll taxes which went back for over a decade. I promise you that in 2011 we would not go into 2012 with that dark cloud hang over our head. Thanks’ be to God, in November of 2011 we received the news that the federal payroll taxes were deemed uncollectable and forgiven, which meant the city could now begin to move forward.
*From 2009 to present, as your mayor, I have saved the city over one million dollars. From my time as court clerk to present, I have made over three million dollars for the city, with more than two million being made during the last six years while serving you as mayor.
*Under my leadership this town has in place a new trash contract without an increase to the citizens in five years, and the lowest trash pickup contract rate in the entire county.
*We have solved the drainage problem on the east side of town, which stopped the flooding of homes, and citizens no longer have to spend sleepless nights worrying or having to move when it rains.
*We have fixed three streets that had not been repaired or maintained in over sixty years. *We were successful in securing the donating of property to the city valued at an estimated $200,000 to create a community resource center.
*We have replaced a 60 year old aging and badly deteriorating sewer system at the price tag of over eight hundred thousand dollars at 100% no cost to the citizen of this city.
*This was the first time we received funds for a water sewer project 100% free. We did it with no loan, no rate increase, no expense passed on to you.
*We did this while having to deal with interior interference, by traveling the state while being honest and professional, to improve our relationship with funders, and regain our dignity and respect.
We, and I say we because I represent we not me, moved forward while I stood up to a city council that violated your freedom of speech, and your freedom to assemble, both of which are the basic human right afforded to all Americans.
This city made advancements even when the city was basically shout down. Without the approval to pay city employers, I went out and mowed the grass, cleaned the ditches, filled the pot holes, cleaned the bath rooms, mopped the floors, and yet kept the city government properly functioning while being attacked in the street, unjustly locked in jail, and dragged through court fueled with lies and deceit on the part of council members and their community friends. Why? Because as mayor it was my duty, my call, my density, to hold the reign; and I did it at a tremendous cost to myself and my entire family.
*Last week after speaking with the Arkansas Withholding Office about the state payroll back taxes owed by Gould for more than $39,000, that office agreed with me to settled for 14,000.00, saving the city $25,000 plus interest.
Paul stated in II Timothy 4:6-7, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.
Through all the injustice while trying to fulfill my dream and promise to return to Gould and work to improve it, I have kept the faith. I have been offered up by some while others stood with me. I have fought the good fight while having my hands cuff and my rights taken.
I have finished the race and my departure is at hand from the City of Mayor’s office. My departure will take effect at 12 midnight February 21, 2014.
There are many people I must thank for the success of this administration. First I thank those of you who elected me and stood with me to the end. I thank our funders for trusting me to administer funds to the city.
I thank them for professionally reviewing and giving the excellent ratings for not one but every grant we have received.
I thank my grant writing team for working with me the last six years.
I thank attorneys Hank Bates, Bruce McMath, Jessica Yarbrough, and Gene McKissic for their hard work and dedication.
I thank my many adopted grandmothers of the quilting club for the prayer meeting they held.
I thank the many supporters around the state and even the nation. And my deepest thanks go to the many citizens of this community who truly care and support the work of the office of Gould Mayor.
Thank each of you my friends and supporters from out of town that came to stand with me on this sad yet happy occasion.
And a very special thanks to Alderwoman Essie Cabbaltion for her guidance, and friendship. Thanks to my wife Marsha, my children Jazzman, Julia, Jhansi, and Jeremiah; my mother Cora Nash, and my sisters Marcie Nash and Rachel Pointer. I even want to thank those who stood openly against me and the ones who plotted against my efforts behind my back. I am stronger, smarter, and more graceful for the experience.
I have even grown to love those of you who worked against me personal and the projects for the betterment of the city. May God bless the City of Gould, May God bless America."
Earnest Nash, Jr.
Resigning Mayor of Gould, Arkansas