No more disruptive outbursts in Pine Bluff City Council meetings.
That’s the message of Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, who has grown tired of interruptions and loud cross-talk, not only by members of the audience, but by aldermen themselves.
Friday, she announced plans to hire a Sergeant-at-Arms and a Parliamentarian to be on duty during council meetings. She said at the meeting Friday she won’t hesitate to have someone removed if they’re disrupting the proceedings.
A few issues have prompted a lot of shouting and aggressive language lately, most notably the city ordinance that requires department heads to live inside the city limits of Pine Bluff.
Friday’s meeting itself offered an example of an escalating disagreement. Mayor Hollingsworth pounded her gavel to quell a side conversation between Aldermen Glen Brown and Thelma Walker. Brown objected to the Mayor treating him like a child, as he characterized it.
Hollingsworth has not yet found candidates for the Sergeant-at-Arms and Parliamentarian positions, and she says she plans to run it by Arkansas Municipal League attorney Mark Hayes before moving forward.