Fort Smith Director candidate reverses course

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 89 views 

Salvatore Salamone was in and is now out before he was ever officially in.

The Ward 3 Fort Smith City Director post is now without an announced candidate less than a month from the beginning of the city’s filing period.

Salamone, vice president-taxes for Golden Living, announced Feb. 1 he was running for the Ward 3 position now held by Director Don Hutchings. Hutchings, a pastor at Evangel Temple, is not seeking re-election to a second, four-year term.

Elections will be held for Fort Smith’s four wards in 2012. Directors serve four-year terms. The city filing period is May 16 through June 5. If needed, a municipal primary will be held Aug. 14.

Three primary issues initially driving Salamone to seek a director’s post were to improve civility between the board and citizens, increase fiscal responsibility and oversight, and do more to support job growth.

Now, his primary motivation is elsewhere. Salamone announced Monday (April 23) he would not be a candidate for the city board.

“I had every intention in the world of running, winning and going in and doing the best job I could do for the city,” Salamone said during an interview.

But after several conversations with current and former directors, Salamone said it became clear the time required for the elected job “was way beyond the amount that I can give.”

In his statement, Salamone noted: “My daughter will be entering the 8th grade in the fall and I would like to be able to enjoy time with my wife Marcie and daughter over the next 4-5 years before our daughter goes off to college or to pursue her career. Family is always my number one priority and I cherish our time together. In addition, I serve on several non-profit boards in Fort Smith, such as the Fort Smith Symphony and the Marshals Museum and I would like to keep my commitment to them as they serve important and worthwhile missions in our community.”

He said he was not pressured by his employer — Plano, Texas-based Golden Living — or anyone else to get out of the race. He said the company was “very supportive” of his pursuit, including making a donation to his campaign.

Salamone would not disclose the level of financial support for his campaign, but did note that city board candidates could spend up to $12,000 on an effective campaign.

“To those who contributed to my campaign, I thank you for sending me your hard-earned money and for being fully committed to my campaign. I will personally pay all campaign costs incurred to date and every dollar donated will be returned to you with my sincere thanks,” Salamone noted in his statement.

Following are the list of incumbents and candidates who have announced for the Ward races.
Liz Berry-Armstrong
Keith Lau
Kenneth Pevehouse

Fort Smith City Director Andre Good

(none announced)

Fort Smith City Director George Catsavis
John Cooley