City Council Fired: What the City of Turrell Does Next

TURRELL, AR (KAIT) -- It was last week that the six members of the Turrell City Council got a letter in the mail from the mayor saying that their positions are considered "null and void".  The city's mayor says this is something he feels he has to do.

"They are supposed to be in wards.  That is the law.  That is the statute.  That's what the statute says for them to do and when they failed to do what the statute says do they are out of order," said Turrell Mayor Franklin Lockhart, Sr.

Lockhart said the city of Turrell has never had wards, which are boundaries that divide the city up into sections so that the citizens are equally represented.  He said that's why he fired the city council.

"The reason I want wards is I feel the people are not getting their money's worth out of the city council," said Lockhart.

City Councilwoman Mamie Mosley said she was surprised when she got a letter from the mayor's office that considered her position "null and void".

"He's saying this is his town and he can run the town by himself.  By him coming in and firing us it's not right and it's not the law and he can't do that," said Mosley.

In fact, Attorney Mark Hayes from the Arkansas Municipal League told Region 8 News that he doesn't know of any state law in Arkansas that allows a mayor to fire the city council members from their elected positions.

"If I can get somebody that can tell me different, I'll do different," said Lockhart.

However, Hayes said the statute for a "Second Class City", which is defined as having a population of between 500 and less than 2,500 people, requires that the city be divided up into wards.  He said until Turrell does that they are in violation of the state statute.

"When you don't have proper representation, you don't feel good about your city.  You feel good about your city when you've got people that are out there fighting for you doing all that they can do to help your city," said Lockhart.

Mosley said she and the other 5 council members are still the Turrell City Council and will hold their next meeting on the second Tuesday of October.

A meeting is being held on Friday night at the Turrell Municipal Building.  Mayor Lockhart told Region 8 News they will be working on dividing the city's land up by wards.