Texarkana Gazette Comments & Criticisms - February 1, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007 9:57 AM CST

Former Fouke city official wants to tell her side

I am the former secretary for the City of Fouke. I held this position for more than seven years and I enjoyed serving the residents of the City of Fouke while I held it.

I believe that the time has come for the entire truth to be known concerning the new mayor in the City of Fouke. Mr. Purvis made statements in an article in your newspaper on Sunday, Jan. 21, concerning the disrepair of the city equipment, the nastiness of city hall, the unwillingness of former employees and the former mayor to assist in the transition. I would like to tell you the rest of the story.

Mr. Purvis did not mention any of the reasons why things are the way they are. For instance he did not mention that I, along with 2 or 3 other city employees, had been threatened with our jobs for months. I wonder why this conveniently slipped his mind? This was all done to make him look as if he were just up there winging it because he has had no help to make this transition.

First of all, everything that could have possibly been done to close out the final book work for 2006 was done, completed and sealed when I left City Hall after working 13 hours on Saturday, Dec. 30, along with Renee Williams and Wanda Harris. As a matter of fact, we worked for several nights prior to the change in administration to complete everything that we could so that the transition would not be so hard on Mr. Purvis. We did the final billing for the utility systems, we completed the end of the year payroll, filled out the 1099 and W-2s and I even came back after the New Year and closed the bank statements out for December so that the City Council would have a complete set of financial statements. He also did not mention that I, personally, have been to City Hall several times to aid both him and the new secretary, Tammy, so as to help them to learn at least one of the software programs in the computer. Neither did he mention that he has not hesitated to call me for assistance—even when I have been on my job. He calls my cell phone, not the city’s cell phone, but my personal cell phone to inquire about different things and I have yet to tell him not to call me back, nor have I refused to help in any way.

Another thing that he failed to mention was the water and sewer. I continue to hold the operating license for both—at least for now. Awfully funny that everyone is still drinking the water (and they have not died from it yet) and flushing their commodes just fine, considering how no one has helped poor Mr. Purvis.

As for the status of the city equipment, to my knowledge, there were two trucks that were not running when I left the city full-time in November. But that really is not that important of an issue. This is because Mr. Purvis also failed to tell in his article that the city laborers worked diligently for the most part of the last month of 2006 to complete several large jobs that we had going. He never mentioned in his article a single thing positive that had been done to assist in this transition.

I have offered my services and experience to the city in an offer to help train the new secretary. After the article that appeared in the paper, I feel that there needs to be an apology printed and the truth to be told concerning what Mr. Purvis told in his article.

One good example of offering to help was the first payroll period of this New Year. I offered to go and help the new secretary. Mr. Purvis made the statement that he believed they could do it. Well, apparently, he doesn’t know much concerning tax revenues and utility revenues because he paid the city employees for work they had done in water for that week out of the street fund. This is a big time no-no.

A lot of you think that Terry has done such an excellent job since Jan. 1. Tell me one thing that you can actually see that has been done. Just one. The secretary is still handwriting receipts. Why? The computer does this for you and if she learned the computer so quickly, why isn’t she posting the payments when someone brings their payment in? What have you seen done outside? Not much of anything but a lot of riding around town and burning up gas. I have noticed several places that need patching in the streets from all of the water that we have had recently. I cannot see where these city employees are doing a whole lot to keep the city in good physical condition.

The comments that Mr. Purvis made concerning members of the community volunteering to help find the water meters so that they can be read are not correct. A former city employee, Brady Lewis, is reading the meters for the billing as I write this letter to you.

As for the comments concerning the cleaning of City Hall, that entire building had been cleaned from top to bottom before we left there. So, you have actually only done routine cleaning to keep City Hall clean, nothing major, like you have made out to people.

As for the former mayor, I cannot speak for him. But if I were him, I wouldn’t help Mr. Purvis either. You do not know the things that have been said about him and his family by Mr. Purvis and his supporters.

A lot of people do not realize the harsh things that have been done and said to some of us and the newspaper has only painted one side of this picture. So, I believe that it is time for the entire picture to be completed. They drug my husband, my 17-year-old daughter and my three year-old son into this like a bunch of vultures waiting for a dying deer to take its last breath.

During the time when Mr. Purvis was running for office, he had quite a few supporters. My only problem with any of this was the fact that he involved a lot of people who do not even own property, live, pay taxes or own a business in Fouke, rallied on his side. Then, the influence of these people set in and began to take its effect on a large portion of the residents that do live here, own property here, pay their taxes or operate a business here. These people ran this campaign like they were out to get blood—like a pack of wild dogs. Plain and simple, if you do not have a right to voice your opinion concerning the status of the City of Fouke, meaning that you do not have anything that ties you to Fouke, stay out of our business and find another bandwagon to get on.

This election was handled in a very tacky way. People who were innocent, that were not even running for a political seat, and their families have been dragged through this like this were a big-time presidential election and all of the stops had been pulled out to make sure that the right person won this election. Well, Citizens for a Good Community, you have gotten the change that you so badly wanted and, Terry, you have gotten what you wanted. So, let’s see what kind of change this is really going to be. It probably is not going to be what you expected.

Well, you didn’t have a chance to get rid of me because I left on my own accord. The city marshal has resigned as of Jan. 31; I wonder what caused that? Maybe some of this back-biting has finally gotten to him, too. And as for the Alamo Ministries, you guys had better put on your waders because I think you are going to need them.

Yes, Fouke is definitely changed now. I believe that the downfall is upon us. We now have a mayor and a group that wants to control who can live within our community. Way to regress, Fouke. This type of thing makes me ashamed to say that I live in this community.

It is time for the people who don’t have any ties to Fouke to move on and stay out of business before we end up in court and broke.

Melanie N. Bottoms

Fouke, Ark.


The link where this article can be found: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2007/02/01/local_news/opinion/opinions02.txt

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