Judge adds mayoral candidates to Redus lawsuit


A Pulaski County judge will allow the remaining seven candidates for mayor of Pine Bluff to be parties in a lawsuit filed by incumbent Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. seeking to halt the Nov. 6 general election.

Judge Jay Moody signed an order joining Clarence Davis, Tim Wisenhunt, Thelma Walker, Steven Mays, John James Jr., Peter Daniels Jr. and Kent Broughton to the suit as “necessary and indispensable parties in that they are all candidates for the office of Mayor of the City of Pine Bluff.”

Previously, Moody had allowed Debe Hollingsworth, who is also a candidate, to intervene in the lawsuit, which Redus filed Sept. 5.

The lawsuit initially named Gov. Mike Beebe, Secretary of State Mark Martin, Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson and the three members of the Jefferson County Election Commission: Trey Ashcraft, Stuart Soffer and Shara Williams.

The judge’s order adding the other candidates followed a motion filed by Redus’ attorney, Gene McKissic, who said all the candidates “have an interest in this action.

“They are so situated that the disposition of the action in their absence may, as a practical matter, impair or impede their ability to protect their interest,” McKissic said in the filing.

In her motion to intervene, Hollingsworth said she had a recognized interest in the case because she is a registered voter as well as a candidate for the office and her interest would be impaired by the outcome of the suit because it “seeks to halt the Nov. 6, 2012, mayoral election.

“Further, Hollingsworth’s interest are not adequately protected by the existing parties in this litigation because there is no one currently involved in this litigation who is a mayoral candidate and who desires the have the Nov. 6, 2012 mayoral election to take place and have all the votes cast in said mayoral election to be counted and certified,” said the court filing prepared by attorney Chrishauna Clark, who is representing Hollingsworth.

Pine Bluff attorney Terry Wynne, who is representing Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson and the three members of the Jefferson County Election Commission, filed a motion last week asking Redus to include the other candidates, based on Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Wynne said that the city of Pine Bluff and the three candidates for treasurer of the city of Pine Bluff should also be included and “this matter should not proceed until all necessary parties are joined and given an opportunity to participate.”

Neither the filing by Redus’ attorney nor the latest court order from Moody mention the city nor the three candidates for city treasurer.

An order dismissing Gov. Mike Beebe and Secretary of State Mark Martin from the lawsuit has also been signed by Moody in response to a motion McKissic filed earlier in the week.

The governor was initially named because he is the chief executive of the state and the secretary of state because of his role in certifying the final election results, and McKissic said that the governor’s interest would be protected by the secretary of state, who could be added back to the lawsuit if Moody allows the election to proceed.

The crux of Redus’ lawsuit hinges on questions about then drop in Pine Bluff’s population, Arkansas law and what the changes mean for when mayoral elections should be held in Pine Bluff going forward.

Under Arkansas law, cities with populations of more than 50,000 conduct elections in the same year as presidential elections,and cities with populations of less than 50,000 conduct mayoral elections in the off-year of a presidential election.

The population of Pine Bluff was listed as 49,083 in the 2010 census, and Redus wants the judge to declare that the next mayoral election for the city would be in 2014, thereby giving him a six-year term.

The same law would apply to the positions of city treasurer and city clerk, where Loretta Whitfield is currently running unopposed for another four-year term. Chris Castoro is currently city treasurer. Running for the office of city treasurer are Greg Gustek, Janice Roberts and Lloyd A. Franklin Sr.

A hearing on the lawsuit that had been set for Tuesday was cancelled and Moody has not set another date as yet. Several of the attorneys in the case have said that hearing will take place before the Nov. 6 general election.

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Documents
Click here for the order appointing a special judge to the case, filed Sept. 11
Click here for the Secretary of State's response, filed Sept. 10 — Part 1
• Click here for the Secretary of State's response, filed Sept. 10 — Part 2
Click here for Hollingsworth's motion to intervene, filed Sept. 10
Click here for the the local circuit judges' recusal document, filed Sept. 10
Click here for the full text of Redus' initial complaint, filed Sept. 5

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The full text of the Arkansas Codes mentioned in this article are below. Search other Arkansas laws by clicking here.

A.C.A. § 14-43-303

Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated Official Edition
© 1987-2012 by the State of Arkansas
All rights reserved.

*** Legislation is current through the 2012 Fiscal Session and updates ***
*** received from the Arkansas Code Revision Commission through ***
*** August 1, 2012. ***

Title 14  Local Government  
Subtitle 3.  Municipal Government  
Chapter 43  Government Of Cities Of The First Class  
Subchapter 3  -- Election of City Officials

A.C.A. § 14-43-303  (2012)


14-43-303.  Officials in mayor-council cities of 50,000 or more.

  (a)  (1)  (A) In the general election in the year 1960, and every four (4) years thereafter, cities of the first class that have a population of fifty thousand (50,000) persons or more, according to the latest decennial federal census or special federal census, and that also have the mayor-council form of government shall elect the following officials:

         (i) One (1) mayor;

         (ii) One (1) city clerk; and

         (iii) One (1) alderman from each ward of the city.

      (B) All of these officials shall hold office for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are elected and qualified.

   (2)  (A) At the general election in the year 1960, the city shall also elect:

         (i) One (1) city attorney;

         (ii) One (1) city treasurer; and

         (iii) One (1) alderman from each ward of the city.

      (B) All of these officials shall hold office for a term of two (2) years and until their successors are elected and qualified.

   (3)  (A) At the general election in the year 1962 and every four (4) years thereafter, the city shall elect:

         (i) One (1) city attorney;

         (ii) One (1) city treasurer; and

         (iii) One (1) alderman from each ward of the city.

      (B) All of these officials shall hold office for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are elected and qualified.

(b) In all primaries or general elections, the candidates for the office of alderman shall reside in their respective wards. However, all qualified electors residing in these cities and entitled to vote in the elections shall have the right to vote at their several voting precincts for each and every candidate so to be nominated or elected.

(c) All odd-year elections for municipal officials in the cities of the first class that have a population of fifty thousand (50,000) or more persons, according to the latest federal census, and that also have the mayor-council form of government are abolished.

(d) If a city first attains a population of fifty thousand (50,000) as shown in a decennial federal census or special federal census completed after January 1, 1997, and the mayor or other elected official of such city last elected before the census was elected to a four-year term and such term will expire two (2) years before the quadrennial general election year at which city officials are elected as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the terms of such officials shall be extended for a period of two (2) years in order that the terms will coincide with the next quadrennial general election year. At that quadrennial general election and at each quadrennial general election thereafter, the mayor and such other municipal officials shall be elected to terms of four (4) years as provided in this section. The provisions of this subsection shall not affect in any way the provisions of this section that provide for staggering the terms of office of aldermen so that one (1) alderman will be elected from each ward every two (2) years.

HISTORY: Acts 1959, No. 176, §§ 1, 2; A.S.A. 1947, §§ 19-1002.2, 19-1002.3; Acts 1997, No. 707, §§ 2, 3; 2003, No. 1185, § 25.

•••

A.C.A. § 14-43-305

Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated Official Edition
© 1987-2012 by the State of Arkansas
All rights reserved.

*** Legislation is current through the 2012 Fiscal Session and updates ***
*** received from the Arkansas Code Revision Commission through ***
*** August 1, 2012. ***

Title 14  Local Government  
Subtitle 3.  Municipal Government  
Chapter 43  Government Of Cities Of The First Class  
Subchapter 3  -- Election of City Officials

A.C.A. § 14-43-305  (2012)


14-43-305.  Mayors in mayor-council cities of less than 50,000.

  (a) The qualified voters of cities of the first class having a population of less than fifty thousand (50,000) and having the mayor-council form of government, on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of 1970 and every four (4) years thereafter, shall elect a mayor for four (4) years.

(b) Incumbent mayors shall continue in office until their successors are elected and qualified.

HISTORY: Acts 1965, No. 12, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, § 19-1002.4.