The Pine Bluff City Council had a 41-minute executive session during a called Friday afternoon meeting, after which Mayor Debe Hollingsworth announced that “no decision was made” on “appointment of an interim chief of police.”
Approximately 80 persons — including at least 25 uniformed and plain-clothes police officers — packed the council chambers for the 1:30 meeting. After formalities, council members agreed to the executive session, conducted in a conference room adjacent to the council chambers.
The group returned to the chambers at 2:16. After the mayor’s announcement, the meeting was adjourned with no further discussion.
Hollingsworth said little to reporters who surrounded her and asked questions. She attempted to return to her office via an elevator when a television reporter and cameraman entered behind her and continued questioning. The elevator door remained open as the cameraman stood at the entrance.
Eventually, the mayor departed the elevator and spoke to a plain-clothes police officer who positioned himself between her and the TV news crew. Hollingsworth than left by stepping into a side stairwell.
Alderman Wayne Easterly, briefly addressing a couple of newspaper reporters, said that Jeff Hubanks is still serving as the interim police chief. Hubanks, a retired Pine Bluff Police Department lieutenant, was appointed to the post by Hollingsworth on Tuesday afternoon after she fired former chief Brenda Davis-Jones.
According to a printed agenda for the called council meeting, two old ordinances on residency requirements for city department heads were to be included in the discussion. Easterly wasn’t specific on matters addressed during the executive session, but described the talking points as “just technical questions.”
In requesting the special meeting, Hollingsworth said Thursday that she thought the discussion might help in providing some clarification to Hubanks’ appointment.
Alderman Charles Boyd, who earlier accused the mayor of not maintaining a promise to communicate with council members “on the new chief,” did not attend the the meeting.