January 16, 2011 by wcobserver
By Steve Winkler
West Fork- Three hours after new West Fork Mayor Frances Hime was sworn in at the court house she was standing before the Parks Commission at their regular noon meeting Monday. “I’m here for education,” the mayor informed the seven members of the commission. She shared with members information she had gathered regarding the commission and solicited information she said she was unable to locate, among which was the ordinance that established the commission. Other questions arose about the park bond, details of the sales tax ordinance that helps support the parks and the uncertainty of the number of commissioners and their terms as required by law.
Hime emphasized the need for the city to establish clear policies that comply with Municipal Code and State Law. She said she will be working with all department heads to establish policy and create performance evaluations.
“All cities should have policies for how the commissions and committees function,” she said. The city will be working closely with the Arkansas Municipal League on the codification of ordinances and resolutions. She informed the commission that they will be expected to submit a quarterly report to the mayor and council in order to help in planning for expected budget shortfalls.
“Ninety percent of the mayor’s job is managing the budget,” she told them, adding that she would inform them of the format and kinds of information she will be expecting. But until then, she suggested they, “Continue what you are doing, we’ll work it out.”
Hime also stressed her seriousness about any city body informing the media about meetings. The Freedom of Information Act is the law she said.
Finally, the mayor said “I’m Quaker,” and briefly related some of the tenets of the faith, noting there are many kinds of Quakers just as there are many kinds of Baptists or other religions. Her faith, she said, prohibits proselytizing or defending oneself and stresses living a simple and frugal life. “I’m a penny pincher,” she said with a grin.
The commission proceeded with their agenda, approving previous minutes and the financial report. Parks Director Roebke reported on the tree decorating activity. All agreed the tree lighting contest was a success again this year.
The commission discussed several aspects of the upcoming baseball and softball season including fees, umpire clinic, options for operating the concession stand and operational details concerning field maintenance and preparation. Also discussed was continuation of the hiking trail in Carter Park and possible park activities other than those involving balls, such as a Frisbee course and skateboard facility.
Commissioner Bobbie Harrington noted that visitors to West Fork form their opinion of the town based on their impression of the facilities, particularly the restrooms which she suggested needed more attention. Member Vicky Mesplay suggested the strom damage to the Bank of Fayetteville logo on the score board be repaired before the season begins.
Meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m. Present were: Chair John Selph, members, Brian Bowerman, Bobbi Henington, Vicky Mesplay, Doug Pope, Russell Ogle, Granville Wynn and Parks Director David Roebke.