Council OKs revamped parks commission

The Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commission was expanded from five to nine members in a unanimous decision by the city council Monday night.

The realignment ordinance was introduced at the council’s May 6 session but put on the calendar after several aldermen said language within the measure needed to be fine-tuned. The dissatisfaction had vanished by Monday night, when the legislation was given its scheduled second reading and then unanimously expedited to its third and final reading.

Composing the commission are:

Position 1 — Kami Mays Hunt.

Position 2 — Krandon Henry.

Position 3 — Roy Tolson.

Position 4 — Jeffrey Pulliam.

Position 5 — Fabian Fontenot.

Position 6 — Duke Fakouri.

Position 7 — Jonathan Frazier.

Position 8 — Christopher Blunt.

Position 9 — Carson Fields.

Blunt, Fields, Hunt and Pulliam are re-appointees. The others are new members.

The terms of Henry, Hunt and Tolson will expire May 31, 2014. Pulliam’s term will end May 31, 2015. Fakouri, Fields, Fontenot and Frazier will serve through May 31, 2017. All the new terms will commence on June 1.

Alderwoman Thelma Walker had asked that the commission assignments be listed by position numbers to be in accordance with council policy on such appointments.

The commission came under fire in late 2012 after a financial shortfall within the department for a second consecutive year. Following disclosure of the problem, Parks and Recreation Department Director Angela Parker and Community Centers Director Laura Hildreth were suspended and then terminated before being reinstated and placed on probation.

Shortly after Mayor Debe Hollingsworth took office on Jan. 1, she expressed interest in dissolving the commission and bringing the department under direct charge of the mayor’s office. Several council members objected to and blocked that move.

Hollingsworth then spoke of a 13-member commission, but that number was whittled to 11 and finally nine.