December 4, 2018 was a defining moment for Little Rock. Not just because of the historical significance of the Mayor’s race, but because of the clear direction given to us from Little Rock voters.
Fifty-eight percent of Little Rock voters expressed that they want a form of government that is directly accountable to them. That 58 percent want to live in a united city that has a jobs agenda that benefits everyone, a City Hall that puts our youth first, and a law enforcement agency that is just as focused on combatting violent crime as they are in respecting the rule of law and establishing meaningful citizen oversight of LRPD.
Little Rock, we heard you throughout our entire campaign. As Mayor, I will work tirelessly to transform your vision for a better Little Rock into reality.
Little Rock deserves a Mayor’s Office and City Hall that is more responsive to voters. Our campaign ran on the belief that decisions that make a city what it is – how we create jobs, how we respond to emergencies, how we manage our police and fire departments, how we support our youth – should be
made by the Mayor and the Board of Directors that you elect. Unfortunately, in Little Rock, the Mayor is accountable to the voters as the Chief Executive Officer, but has not been operating as the Chief Executive Officer. This must change.
Immediately following the inauguration, I will begin operating the Mayor’s Office as the Chief Executive Officer of the City. To be clear, the duties and powers of the City Manager will be at the discretion of the Mayor. This is consistent with the Ordinance No. 19,761 that was passed by Little Rock voters in 2007. We will operate under this form of government until we are able to work towards converting our current form of government to a true Mayor-Council form of government with all-ward representation.
The change in the operation of the Mayor’s Office is the significant step in creating a better Little Rock. The first step occurred a couple of weeks ago when I announced our Transition Board of Directors that will advise on the transition process that will produce a roadmap for our administration. The transition will consist of eight citizen-led subcommittees that will oversee the following matters: Finance and Administration; Education; Mobility; Economic Development; Public Safety; Inclusion; Quality of Life; and Transformation and Government Reform. With input from the public, these citizen-led subcommittees will review every facet of city government and each of my campaign agendas to produce a four-year plan for moving Little Rock forward.
How will this transition work?
The transition team will be charged with meeting city departments, boards, and commissions to determine current challenges and initiatives in order to implement the policies outlined during my mayoral campaign. Subcommittees will use this information, along with that of the outgoing Administration and City Manager’s Office, and input from public comments to make final recommendations. These recommendations will be included in the transition’s final report and ultimately produce a four-year plan.
An open, transparent transition is the first step in what I hope will be a clean break from the way City Hall has operated. The people shaped my campaign, and you will continue to shape the future of Little Rock, beginning with this transition and the operation of the Mayor’s Office. This transition and the report that it will produce will be a clear game plan for holding myself and the City Board accountable throughout my first term.
As a son of Little Rock, I vowed to run a campaign that would make you proud. Now as mayor-elect, I pledge to humbly lead this city in the same manner. This is leadership: embracing transparency, with your demands front of mind and your perspectives at the table, guiding the future of Little Rock.
The families, residents, and business owners of our beloved city deserve nothing less.
Little Rock, it’s time and let’s get to work.
Editor’s note: Frank Scott, Jr. was sworn in as Little Rock mayor on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The opinions expressed are those of the author.