Director Settle to not run for Mayor, will seek Board re-election

story by Ryan Saylor

Fort Smith City Director Kevin Settle announced Tuesday (April 22) that he would seek a third term on the city's Board of Directors. Settle, who serves as an at-large director and as vice mayor, so far has no announced opponent in his race.

And while rumors have been swirling for months that Settle had his eyes on the mayor's office, Settle said it just wasn't the right move for him.

"I was asked to look at a few things the last couple of years. I felt that with my experience and leadership as a city director, I could best serve the city in that capacity. I felt like that was best for me and my family and the citizens of Fort Smith."

A press release announcing Settle's re-election detailed some of the projects he said were highlights of his second term, which include "residential, industrial and I-49 growth in Chaffee Crossing; continued wet weather, drainage and street improvements; new job recruitment and existing job retention; sewer and water plant treatment expansions; fire station upgrades, expansion and new equipment; Vision 2025, including comprehensive plan updates; reduction in sanitation rates for all citizens, and the progress the City has made in developing regional economic relationships."

While Settle listed a wide range of highlights the city has experienced during his time on the Board, he told The City Wire that there was still a lot more to do.

"Continuing the wet weather improvements — we need to follow through on those and they are vital to our city. Continuation of the comprehensive plan updates — as we heard from the (former) Oklahoma City mayor (Kirk Humphreys on Tuesday, April 22), they put a plan together and stuck to the plan. We want to make sure that we stick with that plan."

He said improvements to the city's parks system, as well as completion of the Ben Geren Aquatics Center, are high priorities, as well.

Settle said improvements are also needed to make the city more business friendly, adding that one way to improve working relationships with businesses and the public at large would be adding a way to apply for business permits online.

As for how Settle has handled the added responsibilities of serving as vice mayor during his second term on the Board, he said it has been a seamless transition.

"It's just what the Board asked to me to take care of when (Mayor Sandy Sanders is) not there. It's just part of being a director, it's part of the city. I take it in stride with being a director. It was asked of me by the directors and I've done it."

Settle, a graduate of Southside HIgh School, WestArk Community College and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, works as an engineering manager at Exide Technologies. He and his wife, Terri, have two daughters.

Other announced candidates for Board positions this year include former City Director Don Hutchings, who is running to replace retiring City Director Philip Merry. Mayor Sandy Sanders is seeking a second term in office.

City Director Pam Weber's at-large position is also up for re-election this year, though she has not yet announced whether she plans to seek re-election.