Formon Shares Thoughts On First Two Years In Office

March 29, 2007 -- Posted at 1:30 p.m.

JONESBORO -- The man holding the reigns as Jonesboro grows both economically and in population is Mayor Doug Formon.

Formon was the first mayor elected following Hubert Brodell's nearly 18 years in office.

"Whenever you are trying to have seven meetings a day, you get so tied down to a table that you don't actually get to go out and help the community, and do what you were elected to do," said Formon.

Formon faced a daunting task not only because it's a new job, it's a new style of management everyone in the city had to adjust to.

"I want the department heads to go out there and be free thinkers, and to be able to go out there and do their jobs. We're paying them a good salary to run a department, and I want them to do that.  For the most part they were doing that, but we had some people that had problems with the changeover and I wish I would have made some changes quicker," said Formon.

One change we will all see very soon is an addition to the industrial community.

Formon cites the acquisition as one of the biggest accomplishments for the city since he's been in office.

"Although I didn't personally bring Alberto Culver here, I was a small part of the puzzle that helped put that together.....myself, my staff, and the city," said Formon.

The prospect of landing a multi-million dollar convention center also circulated around the city; however, those plans never came to fruition.

"Ultimately, it was never up to us to either have it here or not to have it here under that particular plan that we had. It's up to that particular developer.   John Q. Hammonds bought property here and then he chose to leave. It was unfortunate. We always wanted, myself and the council, the people of Jonesboro to have the opportunity to vote on that.  It never got to that point," said Formon.

Formon doesn't dwell on what we lost, he celebrates what we have, and concentrates his efforts on the city's potential for so much more.

"When you go down the road and you see companies like Frito Lay, Post Cereal, Nestle and now Alberto Culver coming in..... it is really impressive," said Formon.

"It's a collaborative effort between Forman and council members to make sure the city runs in a smooth and effective manner.......recognizing that they won't always see eye to eye.

"Anytime you bring in 13 personalities, they're never going to be all on the same page.  I  really don't think we should be on the same page all of the time. I think it's an injustice to everyone,  even the mayor's office and especially the citizens if they just rubber stamp everything. If they're  lethargic in their job, there not doing us any good at all.....we don't need that," said Formon.

Long time Jonesboro resident, alderman, and business man Harold Perrin compares how a city is run to how you run a business.

"The only way for a company to be highly successful is, number one, you have to work on your communication daily. It's not something you just talk about, it's something you do. The second thing is, give me the information. The only way I know how to make a decision is to get all of the facts," said Perrin.

Council member Ann Williams says the implementation of the bus system in Jonesboro is a viable source of transportation for residents.

She says it's a service that not only the people need, it's something they deserve.

"They need to be able to get to their job, to get to the grocery store, and the students in Jonesboro need to get to classes on campus," said Williams.

Like any city, there is room for improvement.

John Street deals daily with the issue of infrastructure and accommodating the thousands of drivers on the Jonesboro streets each day.

"We're dealing with those issues in a manner where we're looking ahead ten years to do things in a prioritized manner that will accommodate future growth as well," said Street.

"In the first two years, the mayor has really been looking for his administrative staff.  It takes time to get people in place before you can move forward.  I think we're at a place where we need to go forward," said Perrin.

Gone are the days of quiet streets and empty farming fields.....most would agree Jonesboro is in a transition period going from a quaint bedroom community to a major economic center for the region.