The tumultuous reign of Bryant Mayor Jill “Republican” Dabbs is spread in fullness here by the Saline Courier in a report on the FOI lawsuit I mentioned earlier this week and a heated City Council meeting that followed.
Several city employees have complained about Dabbs’ aggressive management style and one has said he believes she was racially motivated in objecting to
A new wrinkle in the story is the release of information about Dabb’s run-in with a Parks Department employee, Spencer McCorkel, who said he’d had previous conflicts with the mayor.
On Aug. 27, McCorkel met with Human Resource Director Charlotte Rue to discuss an incident involving himself and Dabbs.
“During a meeting regarding the improvements being made to the inside of the center at Bishop Park, Mayor Dabbs approached Spencer McCorkel, placed her hands around his neck area and stated ‘I could ring your neck.’ McCorkel reported that he calmly put his hands up and stepped back from her,” Rue wrote in a statement prepared after meeting with McCorkel.
McCorkel said he “did not feel physically threatened or assaulted, in that moment,” but Dabbs did “publicly humiliate him.”
“McCorkel stated that he wanted it known that information was provided about all of the topics discussed in that meeting. Mayor Dabbs’ reaction to him and the way she handled the situation was inappropriate. He didn’t feel physically threatened, but feels threatened as an employee,” Rue wrote.
Dabbs later apologized, though according to other notes she said she didn’t remember placing hands on
At the subsequent Council meeting this week, member Brenda Miller mentioned hearing in court about a case of “inappropriate touching.” That set off a hullabaloo with Dabbs. Danny Steele, a plaintiff in the FOI lawsuit and a foe of Dabbs, says the events have led to a complaint by Dabbs against Miller with the local prosecutor. This appears to be the back story:
Other documents indicate an employee complaint about being enlisted in testimonials to Dabbs for her re-election. Chris Madison, the city attorney who answers to Dabbs, objected to Brenda Miller gathering information, including perhaps photographs of cars at Dabbs’ house, pertaining to this. He wrote the city human resources officer:
“I have serious concerns about a council member taking photos of employees’ vehicles at Ms. Dabbs residence during off-duty hours in an apparent attempt to identify those who are supporting Ms. Dabbs. This behavior raises serious concerns regarding freedom of association and the free exercise of election activities on an employee’s off-duty hours. Ms. Miller’s behavior is troublesome as it can have a significant chilling effect on employees who wish to support the candidate of their choosing. If this is true or she has indeed stated to others that she has taken photographs of employees or their vehicles at Ms. Dabbs’ residence during their off-duty hours, then we may have a duty to refer to election officials, the prosecutor’s office or election ethics office.”
Well, who knows. I think Brenda Miller has the ability to gather information in public, just as employees have a right to support Republican Dabbs in public or elsewhere. Are they protected from exposure for joining in an effort to help the person at the top of the city personnel chain? I’d be interested in a statutory citation from Madison.
More FOIs to come, unless Tuesday’s election results in a victory by Alderman Allen Scott. If he upsets the two-term mayor, I don’t think I”d like to be around Republican Dabbs that day.
And people say they move to Bryant because it seems so much more peaceful than Little Rock.