Council to meet Friday, discuss fired collector’s appeal

A hearing on former city collector Albert Ridgell’s July 31 termination will continue in a special called Pine Bluff City Council meeting at 1 p.m. Friday in the civic center’s council chambers.

The council first considered Ridgell’s appeal in an 80-minute executive session during Monday night’s regular council session. With no decision being made, the matter was declared to be in “continuance” with Alderman George Stepps saying the panel needs to review additional information before possibly voting on Ridgell’s request for reinstatement. Six votes from the eight-member council would be required to return Ridgell to his former post.

Ridgell attended Monday’s council meeting but did not speak,.

Mayor Debe Hollingsworth announced Ridgell’s dismissal in an email in which she said her decision “did not come lightly. The mayor said Ridgell’s termination was based on “unsatisfactory work performance that has been documented for some time now.”

A Little Rock resident, Ridgell had been in the post since June 2007 and earned an annual salary of nearly $52,000. Currently handling the collector duties is Gina Devers, who formerly served as an internal auditor in the finance director’s office.

The announcement of the special called meeting — along with cancellation of a previously scheduled council administration committee meeting that was to have occurred at 1 p.m. today — was made Wednesday afternoon.

Hollingsworth was asked in her office if she wished to make a statement on Ridgell’s appeal.

“No,” the mayor said. “As I’ve said before, I will not have any additional comments on this matter until the appeal process is completed.”