We are excited to finally see a brand new official city website go live for the City of Hardy, Ar. It may have been seven years since we have been requesting and asking for a online source for city information and documents. It may have taken the resignation of the Mayor Nina and new Alderman too, but the current Mayor, Jason Jackson in under a weeks time made it happen.
We look forward to the open and transparency that we have asked for years and years ago, and seeing a new site go live even TWO years after the City Council approved in a council meeting to create a official city website, it happened.
Our very own marketing company, Mashuga Marketing was given the opportunity and task to build a site and we made it happen in under a week! Let’s keep moving Hardy forward finally and never take a step backwards again.
The new OFFICIAL WEBSITE ADDRESS IS: HTTPS://WWW.CITYOFHARDY.ORG <—— 🙂
Mayor Jackson gets a A+
This evening at the regular City Council meeting for the city of Hardy, AR., Mayor Nina Thornton first read a statement in regards to the resignation of the Recorder Treasurer, Carolyn Groves.
However, the bigger surprise was what she did next, as she verbally resigned as the Mayor of Hardy AR. After her verbal statement a motion was made to accept her verbal resignation with the notation that no written resignation would be provided. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. This follows concerns brought up at the prior Hardy City Council meeting where the Alderman were informed of an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) charge that is under investigation involving Mayor Nina Thornton.
The resignation of Carolyn Groves who is the elected Recorder/Treasurer had also been at the center of a long issue of council members not having access to a budget to actual expenditure report. It has been stated by Alderman Dale Maddox that it is the responsibility of council members to manage the city’s actions, but they can’t do that when it is unknown how
Hardy City Council learned of an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) charge that is under investigation involving Mayor Nina Thornton and Alderman Jason Jackson at its meeting Tuesday, June 8. In addition to the charge, council members voted to have missing city documents investigated by Hardy Police Chief Scott Rose. An ordinance was also passed for existing residences on Main Street to be legal living quarters. A plan was also put in place to sell the city van.
In the midst of the charge, ordinances being passed and issues being resolved…another Hardy City Council member also stepped down from his position at the meeting. Alderman Greg Bess waited until the end of the meeting to read his heartfelt letter of resignation from the council effective immediately citing, “While I feel my work here is not done, my career and family are pulling me in different directions.” Bess has been serving on the council since he was appointed in 2013 at the resignation of Amy Hussung. This is the second council resignation this year, as Liane Maddox stepped down a couple of months ago.
Bess will remain active in the community, but felt it best to step down as he is always traveling. He serves as the CASA Executive Director, as well as the Sharp County Community Foundation Executive Director. His presence at Hardy City Council meetings will be missed, but he has offered to assist recorder/treasurer Carolyn Groves in catching up city records. Hardy resident, Danny Eitel, who attends nearly every meeting, expressed his interest in taking over Bess’ position.
The council began its meeting two hours earlier at 4 p.m. to discuss a number of issues. Three hours into the meeting, Alderman Jackson began asking Thornton a series of questions, which led him to reveal to other council members he had filed an EEOC charge against the mayor as an employee of the city on April 28, before he was appointed to serve on the council.
“As far as myself,” said Jackson, which shifted the council from city business to something more personal. He asked Thornton if he had met all requirements and attended all mandatory classes to be on the fire department, to which she replied, “The chief does all of that.” He presented information that she questioned his certification hours and that members of Hardy Volunteer Fire Department have come to him questioning why she has an agenda against him and is trying to get him fired.
“You are saying you have never threatened me, never bullied me in any way?” asked Jackson. “No. When did I bully you?” answered Thornton. Jackson began to play recordings he had and said Thornton has been “bullying and threatening” for a year. He recalled going to a fire department meeting and receiving negativity from the mayor about wanting to create a committee to try and improve the fire department and again, as president of the WHPOA (Woodland Hills Property Owners Association). Jackson also made accusations of Thornton using the “N” word, which she strongly disagreed, but he said he had recordings of that also. “You want recordings? We can sit here and play them, but we are going to be here all night,” said Jackson. “I didn’t say not only that, but you better have a good lawyer,” responded Thornton.
Alderman Bess was stunned to learn that an EEOC charge had been filed nearly six weeks ago and the council was just now finding out about it. “I offered to go into mediation to talk with the mayor, but this went to the city of Hardy. She responded back as the city of Hardy saying that a volunteer fireman…” Jackson said as he was interrupted by Thornton correcting him saying she responded “as the mayor of Hardy.” “You responded back by saying none of the firemen are employees of the city,” said Jackson.
This statement contradicts what Thornton discussed in a previous council meeting on Tuesday, May 17. Mayor wanted council members to discuss the procedures to join the fire department, because she felt those procedures haven’t been followed. In the personnel handbook it states the process should be the same as hiring city employees. “It means that when you want to be on the fire department, you would fill out an application and etc. like a regular employee….Municipal league defines volunteer as an unpaid employee because they do get benefits,” said Thornton during the previous meeting’s discussion.
Thornton’s response to the EEOC was that Jackson is not a city employee. Jackson said Thornton refused mediation, which Thornton said was not true. Thornton said she believed the mediation was what took place on a phone conversation with a representative from EEOC, but that is not what official mediation is. Jackson was informed by EEOC that a mediation date was set for June 8. EEOC then notified him that they received a call from Thornton stating Jackson wasn’t an employee; therefore she wouldn’t be attending mediation.
“You are saying we have a federal EEOC charge against this city…that is a month old and the city wasn’t notified,” asked Bess. “The city isn’t supposed to be notified,” mumbled Thornton. “He says that I have discriminated against him some way as a fireman,” she continued. Bess also questioned if city attorney Hollie Greenway was notified about the charge. “I was not. I don’t have a copy of anything. Is the city being sued, or Nina?” asked Greenway. The charge is against the city of Hardy, naming the mayor in the charge.
Thornton said the council members were not notified because “there isn’t a case.” “This is something the council needs to know about it. I’m not trying to hide it,” said Jackson. Jackson didn’t want the charge to turn into a lawsuit. He wanted the mediation meeting to come to an agreement with Thornton and get the bullying to stop, but he didn’t receive the opportunity to try and make that happen. Greenway said she needs to see what the mayor has received in order to decide further action for the city. Bess made a motion for Greenway to review the documents and respond back to council members about what needs to be done regarding the issue.
Earlier in the meeting it had been established that ordinances and possibly other important city documents were missing from recorder/treasurer Carolyn Groves’ office. She stated when she leaves, she always locks the door. Thornton stated she had taken some ordinances to “white out” notes she had made on them. Ordinances from 2015 and 2016 are missing and Ordinance 2016-2, which repealed Ordinance 2015-2, was never published.
Ordinance 2015-2 was the controversial retro-active ordinance that would have made it legal for Thornton, Groves and Groves’ husband to receive payment from state funds allocated for a summer feeding program for children. The “reimbursement” as Thornton called the payment was discovered in an audit report and passing the retro-active ordinance would make it so Thornton would not face serious consequences. Thornton used her power to vote on passing the ordinance when there were three yes votes, two no votes and one abstain. Thornton said she would make sure it was published.
Aldermen Bess was concerned enough about the missing documents to make a motion to create a resolution to have Hardy Police Chief Scott Rose investigate where the documents were going. “Something goes missing from our city offices, we should investigate whether the chief as the authority to do that or the chief needs to bring in Arkansas State Police. I think it needs to be taken care of,” said Bess. Rose said that he can file the initial complaint, but then turn it over to ASP.
In March, it was brought before a select few residents, who are also council members, living on Main Street, that they were living in their place of businesses along Main Street, illegally. Maddox and his wife Liane (who was then a council member) and Alderwoman Vicki Rice received notices that their living quarters had actually been illegal for decades, according to an existing ordinance the city has. Maddox presented an amendment to Ordinance 96-6 which would allow the use of preexisting residential quarters on the historical Main Street. The amendment makes living in an existing residence on Main Street legal.
An existing issue of council members not having access to a budget to actual expenditure report was addressed by alderman Maddox. He said it is the responsibility of council members to manage the city’s actions, but they can’t do that when it is unknown how much money is in the accounts. Alderman Bess agreed with him, by adding they don’t have the proper tools to correctly and functionally operate the city’s budget.
The city van has been a much discussed topic since Jackson, who has since became a member of the council, presented the possibility to make the city some extra cash, earlier this year. The council passed an ordinance which called for the sale of the van. That ordinance was then vetoed by Thornton and then overturned by the council.
Thornton told the council that sealed bids would be opened in August, which the council found unacceptable. The resolution to sell the van was passed in April, therefore the majority of the council felt August was too far away to sell the van. “Is there a reason why we are going so far out?” asked Alderman Jackson. Thornton said she was putting it in City and Town and other papers to advertise, but Jackson said the longer they wait to sell the van, the more it depreciates in value.
Thornton was unsure about selling the van, as it is property purchased with grant money. “I wanted to be sure we got it right. I don’t want it to come back…mayor didn’t do it right this time. I’ve been accused of that by this council before and I want to be proper,” said Thornton. After much discussion and disagreement between council members and Thornton, a motion was made to advertise that the city would be accepting sealed bids to be read at the next meeting in Areawide Media and The Jonesboro Sun for one week. The bids will be opened Tuesday, June 21. “I want to be absolved from anything to do with the van and selling it and that’s not plausible for me because I’m the mayor and that’s not fair that you are going to make the choice to do it and then I’m going to have to take the repercussions for it,” said Thornton before the motion was passed.
A decision will be made on what to use the money for, once the van has been sold.
Hardy Advertising and Promotions Commissioner Freda Mae Gamblin informed council members that Hardy A and P would be purchasing 32 street signs to replace existing signs with the council’s approval. She also requested that Johnson Street, next to Hardy Pottery, be changed to Johnston Street, as that is the actual name of the street, the “T” had been left out of the spelling for several years. Council approved A and P’s request to replace the signs. Gamblin also informed the council that A and P was budgeting $5,000 for the renovations that will be taking place in Hardy Park.
Hardy City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at city hall.
Reprinted With Permission by © Copyright 2016, Area Wide News
Story URL: http://www.areawidenews.com/story/2313934.html
Have you ever been asked or even offered to “volunteer” for something? We would assume its common knowledge that when you volunteer, your offering to do something for FREE!. Well it appears that if you work for the City Of Hardy, some who volunteer actually get PAID for the work.
Our city Mayor and even her family members have regularly over the years received payments for volunteer work. This was verified during a audit of the financials of the City of Hardy. Once again, rules and procedure have simply been ignored under the guide of ignorance by our Mayor who simply apologized to the city alderman at the Sept. 1, 2015 meeting.
It was kind that our Alderman voted to basically turn a blind eye and give the Mayor a pass, or what could be called a free “get out of jail card” for this incident. Forgiveness is one thing, but at what cost to our trust?
What lessons does this teach those watching? That you can take funds without authority, pay yourself and others and have no consequences for your actions. Let’s hope the ethics committee will be more stern when they get a chance to review these actions and rule on them.
Here we go again…..good ole boy’s and dirty politics rear their ugly head! Just when things in Hardy were finally starting to appear to be moving in a positive direction this sign on this truck was left parked in the public parking lot in Hardy, Arkansas. We all know who owns this truck. Will these spoiled haters of progress and good honest hard working people ever go away?
There are a number of things wrong with this. But the one that stands out is the high level of hatred that is being demonstrated by who we believe the truck owner is (Bobby Guilliland). This has got to be the meanest and most unkind thing I’ve ever seen by an adult in all my life. It’s adolescent at its best and hateful at its worst. It’s a mean and cruel act that needs to quickly be undone and should be apologized for. But that would need to come from a humane person. Through this choice of actions that Bobby lacks is that quality. There are sources to Bobby’s feelings and choices. They too are mean and hateful and also demonstrate a degree of in-humanity and meanness.
The folks over at Mashuga Marketing have created a demo site idea for a NEW City Of Hardy Arkansas. The visual look is clean and simple. Feel free to explore the DEMO site at this link: http://www.mashugahosting.com/demo2/ .
The City Of Hardy has never had an OFFICIAL CITY WEBSITE, one specifically dedicated to providing City specific information on services, contacts, and most importantly Council meeting information such as online copies of the meetings and documents.
Being able to easily reach your Alderman with questions is a basic need of any city and having a professional online presence for the community and especially those thinking about relocating to the area is always a POSITIVE.
If this is something you think the City needs to look into, please let them know! Ours is ready to GO LIVE today!
We are happy to announce that a new alderman was appointed on Aug. 19, at the Hardy City Council meeting to fill the vacant position left from the resignation of Council member Amy Hussung. Greg Bess who is the owner of Words Afterwords in Hardy, was chosen from among three candidates who had applied for the position.
Greg Bess was sworn in by Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton afterwards, Bess was seated and was able to begin serving on the council immediately. Bess said he is happy to serve the city of Hardy as a council member. “I sought political office for a couple years and so I was happy to finally get to be able to contribute on the council, but at the same time, I know there is a lot of work to be done and we are in a planning phase so I’m looking forward to it.”
The council passed the first reading of ordinance 2013 – 2, an ordinance setting the fee for a water tap plus costs involved for any additional work. The ordinance would increase the fee for installing a tap should the installation require work outside of what is normally required. Once the ordinance is passed the fee for tapping a water line for service to a resident or business customer inside the city limits will be $350 plus actual cost of any additional work including but not limited to road bores, street cutting or extra deep trenching. Any tap larger than three quarters of an inch will be actual cost to the city plus the additional costs of road bores, street cutting or extra deep trenching.
The need for a city attorney was brought up once again by Alderman Liane Maddox who petitioned the council to consider approaching John Able to serve as city attorney. Council added an extra $1,000 to the original allotted amount of $2,500 making for a total of $3,500 to offer Able as a retainer for his services beginning Sept. 1, through Dec. 31. More information will be available at the next Hardy City Council meeting. Alderman Dale Maddox proposed a resolution to change control of the appointed members with ability to sign checks for the Hardy Advertising and Promotion Commission. According to the resolution, Mayor Thornton and Billy Gilbreath would be replaced by Dale Maddox and Alderman Vickie Rice. City Treasurer Carolyn Groves would retain her authority to sign. The resolution was passed.
The issue of Health Insurance for the Mayor and her family was brought up for discussion, but the Mayor quickly shut that down by speaking out of order which apparently worked because it appeared to cause the issue getting a second motion by her actions. This issue was decided to be brought up in the budget meetings in the future.
One final issue covered by council was the possibility of moving the placement of some of the city trash cans to make them more user accessible. Council discussed putting them in more strategic locations such as on Main Street in downtown Hardy in hopes that changing the placement would help reduce trash on the street. Bess spoke with the gallery during the council comment portion of the meeting stating that he will have an open door policy. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve and I serve the will of the people. My door is open and so is my phone,” he said. “If I’m not doing the job you think I should be doing I would love to hear about it and if I am than I’d like to hear that also.”
Once again the Mayor of Hardy has used her VETO power to hold back progress! In a vote by the city council at the last meeting on May 7th. At the end of the NO vote which effectively removed two of the current A&P commissioners from their seats due to illegal procedure in the past of failing to get City Council approval.
The Mayor stated
“Well why fight about it? Why not just get rid of A and P Committee all together?” Mayor Thornton responded.
The motion to reappoint Martin and Gilliland failed with four “no” votes, one “yes” and one “abstain.” After the vote took place, Mayor Thornton said,
in her opinion, despite the vote the two were still on the A and P.
Maddox said the vote put the two off the commission. However, it does now appear that the Mayor verified that she did use her POWER to VETO. Thus nothing appears to be moving forward as the TOURIST SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHES.
The City Council was duly elected by the people to be the voice of the people to do what is best for Hardy, Ar., yet the Mayor continues to abuse her power to attempt to “dictate” her views over those of the people.
Great work MAYOR !!! NOT !!!!!
All that is happening is once again NOTHING. A stagnated A&P right at the most important time of the year. If everyone would just realize that the all the energy used to fight about being on or off the commission only hurts it more. Grow up and stop acting like spoiled children.
At the May 7th City Council meeting one thing became very clear, the constant interruptions by the Mayor over those in the city council who have the floor.
The mayor, as presiding officer, has the primary responsibility of ensuring that the council’s rules of procedure are followed and for maintaining the dignity of council meetings. The mayor calls the meeting to order and confines the discussion to the agreed order of business. He or she recognizes councilmembers for motions and statements and allows audience participation at appropriate times. The mayor sees to it that speakers limit their remarks to the item being considered and, as necessary, calls down people who are out of order.
Proper performance of these functions requires that the mayor know parliamentary procedure and how to apply it. The mayor must recognize that parliamentary procedure is a tool, not a bludgeon—that is used to ensure that the will of the majority prevails while the right of the minority to be heard is protected.
Presiding effectively at a council meeting is an art that no book can fully teach. The tactful presiding officer knows how to courteously discourage councilmembers who talk too much or too often, and how to encourage shy councilmembers who are hesitant to speak at all.
After attending the most recent City Council meeting, one thing became very clear. “A chairperson must be fair, impartial and lead by example while displaying respect for their colleagues and the public. This mayor does neither and thus is the result of a dysfunctional Hardy city council.”
Rules, regulations, policy, procedure are all important in order for a government to function properly. It is when the system fails to operate under said rules that it then becomes impossible for those that care to try to offer ideas, input, help for the good of the community. In the past FOHA has been called a “Liability to our tourist trade as well as the community” individually we have been told we are “dragging down” programs. We have been called “adversary” that we have a “cruel, spiteful nature” “trash talking” and personally compared to a “hit and run driver leaving devastation in its path” all from the Mayor of Hardy.
Yet, our rights as Americans to question the actions of our elected officials is something each and everyone of us needs to remember is something that those that try to STOP it are usually the ones that have the most to hide! What is the fear of listening, working together and having input from others? We have been told that the Mayor does not have to answer to us, but in reality as a elected official, by the people, it would seem prudent to learn to listen, invite, respect and care for those around you.
Now, here we are once again, trying to move forward with positive actions. Actions in regards to things that should have been done already by the local government, yet we can not get any formal response to our request. In the past we have offered to donate our time, our services, and monies to help but only to fall on deaf ears from CITY HALL! As we seem to once again be doing. However, this time, we will NOT STOP, we will push forward following the proper process and procedures and will do what is needed and right for Hardy, Arkansas. As stated so well by John Boehner so very eloquently:
What they want is a government that is honest, accountable and responsive to their needs. A government that respects individual liberty, honors our heritage, and bows before the public it serves.- John Boehner Speaker Of The House
We will be heard, we will have a accountable government and we will succeed regardless of those that try to put up roadblock at every turn. Friends of Hardy Arkansas plans to be at the next City Council meeting on May 7th, we have requested through email, and fax to be put on the agenda and requested confirmation to this with no response. We will attend and we plan to present a gift of signage for the (8) empty poles that have been left empty for well over 975 days and counting. All we are asking is for permission and authorization to put these up at NO COST to the City of Hardy.
City Hall, are you listening? Are you reading this post? Do you care? WE DO ! We will see you on May 7th. GOD BLESS AMERICA !!