The Little Rock Board of Directors held a special-called meeting on Tuesday before its regularly scheduled session to set the agenda for next week’s meeting and immediately went into executive session and remained there for more than two hours. Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said the session was in regards to “personnel issue that requires immediate attention.” When the board returned, Scott said it had taken no action.
The discussion reportedly concerned City Attorney Tom Carpenter. (The board only has two employees, the city attorney and the city manager, to potentially discuss.) After the meeting, KATV reported that the city’s Chief People Officer Stacey Witherell wrote a memo to the mayor and City Manager Bruce Moore relaying accusations of Carpenter using racial slurs. Witherell said one employee had alleged that Carpenter had used a slur that was witnessed by another employee. Both employee’s names were redacted in KATV’s reporting. Witherell said that Carpenter denied doing so.
Witherell also reported that a major in the city’s police training division confirmed that there was a incident where Carpenter gave police recruits an example of something that was offensive that they could not say. “The example was offensive and inappropriate and derogatory toward African Americans,” KATV reports Witherell writing.
The Arkansas Times has requested, but not yet received, a copy of Witherell’s memo. We have reached out to Carpenter for his comment on the allegations.
After the special meeting’s adjournment, the board continued with its regular agenda setting meeting, but that, too, was quickly adjourned. The board talked very little publicly on Tuesday.
No commotion during the executive session was heard through the doors from the hallway. No updates were given during the wait. Director BJ Wyrick did leave after about an hour and a half, reason unknown. When the public was allowed back in, Director Capi Peck was hugging other directors.
The board will meet on an adjusted schedule next week to accommodate for National Night Out, a community and police building campaign. The next meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 3 and 6 p.m.