New Mayor Joins Short List of City Civil Servants

With the special mayoral election runoff less than a week away now, likely not too many voters realize that whichever candidate they choose will join a short list of people who have served the city on multiple occasions.

Both Democrat David Anderson and Independent Joe Rogers already grace that list, Anderson having served from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2006 and again since Jan. 17 as interim mayor, and Rogers following him in offi ce from Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2010 and as in 2014 to fi ll out the remainder of the late Alan Maxwell’s term, from July 24 to Dec. 31.

But the man who wins next Tuesday’s special election will become only the third three-time mayor of Monticello.

According to the list of mayors found on the city’s website (www. monticelloar.org) and city records, eight people have occupied the mayor’s offi ce at least twice. Only V.B. McCloy and J.G. Williamson have gone beyond that, though— until next Tuesday, that is.

McCloy was Monticello’s longest- running mayor, serving four times from 1916 to 1956. His first two terms were as acting mayor when he was the city clerk (from November 1916 to March 31, 1918 and from September 1919 to March 31, 1920). He was appointed both times to serve out former mayors’ terms.

Then on April 1, 1926, McCloy began serving a term for which he was elected and didn’t leave the mayor’s offi ce until Dec. 31, 1950. McCloy Street, forming one side of the downtown square, as well as McCloy City Park still serve to remind Monticellonians of the memory of the man who guided the city for a total of 30 years, four months.

Williamson served Monticello for nine years around the turn of the 20th century—from April 1, 1886 to March 31, 1893; from April 1, 1901 to March 31, 1902; and from April 1, 1906 to March 31, 1907. A total of 30 people (including current City Clerk Andrea Chambers, who has twice served as acting mayor for a total of 11 days—the shortest tenure of any Monticello mayor) have sat behind the mayor’s desk in City Hall, and either Anderson or Rogers will become Monticello’s 42nd head of the city, the eighth since 2014.

The other multiple mayors of Monticello include the fi rst man elected to that offi ce, James A. Jackson. He took offi ce in 1873 (the exact date is unknown) and served until March 31, 1876. As city clerk, he was appointed acting mayor again in September 1877 and served until March 31, 1878.

R.L. Hyatt was the second twotime mayor of Monticello. The man for whom Hyatt Street and Hyatt Field (the Monticello Billies’ home football fi eld and soccer pitch) is named was in offi ce from April 1, 1884 to March 31, 1886 and again from April 1, 1897 to March 31, 1901.

Patrick Henry, obviously named for the American attorney and politician famous for the “Give me liberty or give me death” cry that partially fueled the American Revolutionary War effort, served from April 1, 1902 to March 31, 1906 and from April 1, 1907 to March 31, 1910.

McCloy is by far the man who has had the longest tenure in the mayor’s offi ce but four men have served the city for 10 years or more. Monticello’s second-longest serving mayor has—to now—been Harold West, who occupied the offi ce from Jan. 1, 1987 to Dec. 31, 2002, a total of 16 years.

James T. Jordan served almost that long, 15 years, 10 months (from March 1, 1970 to Dec. 31, 1986). In the offi ce for 10 years was Henry L. Ross (from Jan. 1, 1959 to Jan. 3, 1970, when he resigned).

West and Jordan are memorialized by having parks named in their honor. Harold West Park at Lake Monticello has hosted many outdoor activities as has Jordan Park on the city’s east side, including the Cal Ripken Baseball Major/60 World Series in 2015. Ross has a street near Drew Memorial Health System—H.L. Ross Drive—named in his memory.

Aside from Chambers, the shortest mayoral terms on record are the two months in 1970 former City Clerk Frank Sharp served as acting mayor between Ross and Jordan, and the fourth months Z.C. “Jimmie” Tucker was in offi ce in 1951 before he was called to military service and was forced to resign, giving way to McCloy’s final stint in the mayor’s offi ce.

Only nine people who have been elected or appointed as Monticello’s mayor have served less than two years on the job, including the man whose resignation set in motion this special election, Zack Tucker.

Zack Tucker left the post in January after being charged with abuse of office and tampering with public records. As an aside, only three Monticello mayors have resigned while still in offi ce, including “Jimmie” Tucker, the only mayor on record to have left offi ce to serve in the military. Maxwell is the only Monticello mayor who died in office.

Early voting for the mayoral runoff began at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the club room downstairs in the Drew County Courthouse and will continue through Friday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Because of the Memorial Day holiday next Monday, no early voting will be held on that day. Polls throughout the city will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on next Tuesday at regular polling places.

The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325
Fax: 870-367-6612

www.mymonticellonews.net

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