City announces hiring of Ussery as Director of Human Resources


February 28, 2011

Robin K. Ussery, SPHR, has been hired as the new Director of Humanresources[more] for the City of Bryant. Ms. Ussery, a native of North LittleRock, began her career in the Human resource field in 1991 working inthe airline industry for Southwest Airlines. Ms. Ussery earned her B.A.from the University of Arkansas at Little rock. In addition to a, Ms. Ussery boasts a long list of credentials in the HR fieldincluding:

* SPHR certification, SHRM, ASTD, CAHRA Member

* Many certifications including employee relations, labor law andarbitration, project management, creative training, diversity,specialized OSHA, FMLA, ADA, HIPAA, etc.

Ms. Ussery has extensive experience in HR management including; over 20years Human Resources and Operational Leadership Experience (includingFortune 500 companies Southwest Airlines and The Shaw Group, Inc. Handson, functional experience in all areas of HR including, employeerelations, staffing/recruiting, payroll, compensation, benefits, policydevelopment and regulatory compliance, performance management, trainingand development, project management, managing budgets, cost reduction,and quality assurance.

We are excited to have an individual of the caliber of Ms. Ussery tohead up our Human Resource Department. The experience she brings fromboth the private and government sectors will be a tremendous asset tothe employees and citizens of Bryant.

Shane Knight

Public Works/Public Information

City of Bryant


  1. joe

    Shane Knight is the PIO????

    The council denied her request to create the position of PIO.

    So what does Dabbs do??

    She hires him as a different position, then directs him to do press releases.

    The taxpayers are paying him a salary to do what the council refused. Is this an abuse of power by our new mayor?? At the least, it is defying the council who denied creating that position.

    Taxpayers should be outraged to pay a salary that the Checks and Balances of the council prevented.

  2. L.J.

    This is the VERY type of thing that she is doing….circumventing the Council. Her request for a PIO was denied at the first step in the process, through the Finance and Administration Committee. Now she has filled a different position, but changed the title. The title of Public Information Officer has NOT been approved by the Council, so she has violated policy with her actions. She is constantly having to divert attention from the real happenings at the city and a PIO probably helps her with damage control….kind of a "Personal Information Officer — PIO".

    As stated in a different post on this blog, the aldermen were elected by their wards to represent them. But she manipulates the system in order to leave them out. Some of the citizens are outraged by her blatant disregard of the system, the aldermen they elected to represent them,the employees, and the policies for which she pledged to follow. This is just one instance of her keeping the council out of the loop…time and again she doesn’t share information with them and they must request info via FOI requests to have any idea of what is happening in the city, how she is spending taxpayer’s money, and trying to uncover things such as this instance of hiring a PIO, although the request was denied. She campaigned against the "good old boy" system and accused officials of lack of transparency…..the VERY THINGS SHE IS GUILTY OF DOING: lack of transparency and having her own ‘good old boy’ system!

  3. joe

    Violation of policy is akin to violating ordinance; correct??

    She sued the city for the water rate issue; she could easily be sued over this.

    You can’t change a job description to fit what you want, when the council denied the creation of that very job description.

    The city council needs to call a special meeting. The problem is, Dabbs has a lot of buddies on the council.

    I predict that she will violate some BIG law soon, and she very well may be removed from office for it.

    Maybe this is just wishful thinking……but she is on thin ice, and she can’t keep toeing the line of legality without stepping across at some point.

  4. L.J.

    She IS on thin ice. It’s going to be very interesting in the next few weeks. I am just hoping the city (my tax dollars) aren’t going to spent getting the city out of some type of problem, or oversight, due to her firing knowledgeable employees, and being left in the lurch.

    She seems to have an elitist attitude that she is above following procedures, policies and ordinances. But you know, some people just have to learn things the hard way. She should have understood before she ran for the office of mayor that it is important to work with the council and disclose and share information on the day-to- day operations. It’s called being a "team player"….it’s not ‘all about her’. I’ve lived in Bryant a long time and attended many council meetings and can say that every mayor before has openly shared information with the council and the public….and not just through some "manufactured" press release. With this mayor the council finds out information via the media and then when they are asked questions by their constituents, they have to dig and dig to verify the information….or not. When I’ve requested info, I’ve had to wait to get an answer after an FOI was done.

    This mayor is bad news and has got to go! There are several ways she can be removed from office, including actions by the voters. And it’s not that difficult of a process.

  5. joe

    I think we need a recall.

    Im also intetested in knowing about all the people that have applied for police chief. Funny they dont talk too much about all the qualified candidates.

    Maybe its because their resumes glow next to Kizers and too much transparency will cost his job.

  6. L.J.

    Joe, contact the City Attorney to see if that info can be FOI’d. If so, then you would need to put in your Freedom of Information request through the HR department, with a copy to go to the City Attorney. You would also need to furnish them details on where to send you the information. But, first call the City Attorney to be sure that info can be provided. We DO all need to stay on top of this to make sure the MOST qualified applicant is hired.

    And FYI, a recall is not all that difficult….very achievable. Most people don’t know the low number of signatures it takes to get a recall started.

    Will: you need to get your hearing checked. What you are mistaking for so called ‘whining’ is intelligent discussion. Some citizens want to be informed so if you don’t want to read the blog, just don’t sign in.

  7. Harold Stephens

    So what are you wishing to FOI now? Have any of you stopped by city hall to ask to visit with Mr. Knight and talk with him concerning his experience and/or back ground?

  8. L.J.

    Knight’s experience and background are well known. He had posted his own facebook and blogs everywhere. I actually have copies of some of his comments before he pulled his blogs off line. I also personally know someone who attended the church where he used to pastor. He may have experience in communications, but that is not the position that was approved by the council. I have to note though, if he is indeed writing the press releases, it seems he should use spell check, which would catch all those errors in his press release. I would not make a comment about this, except that it would be an important aspect of a ‘public information’ position.

    When Dabbs fired the Public Works department head, the department is now left in a vulnerable position. Someone with technical knowledge, certifications and engineering experience is what is needed in Public Works. The Public Information part of the job was NOT approved by the council. I was at the council meeting when the council gave the directives and timelines to Richard Penn for some VERY important projects. Dabbs pulled the rug out from under him before he could get the projects completed in March….thus another instance of a way that she circumvented the directives of the council. So, my biggest concern is in the more important position of Public Works department head.

    Gee, I haven’t heard the phrase "cry babies" used since junior high school! That’s most comical! Not intelligent, but yes comical.

  9. L.J.

    Clarification, when I said Knight’s background is in communications, I meant he has worked with the media. I am well aware of his degree in theology….which is unrelated to the position. Regarding going by to visit with him, I can see no reason to do so because he is technically working under an unauthorized job description at this time.

  10. joe

    He is not an engineer, yet he is over the engineering department?

    4 department heads gone, and people still spinning that she is doing well. How do you assess a person’s job in less than 60 days?

    Keep in mind, these people that have left, were working here in the years the city got all those awards…..
    How do you justify firing staff that helped the city with these accolades?

    Did Mark Kizer go to college?

    Job description for Police Chief. Check education; 4 years college required.

    Why do we have these requirements if no one follows them? Why do we pass ordinances if they are just optional? Why are there job descriptions, if the mayor can hire you as an engineer, and tell you to do something completely unrelated to your position? Do you hire an IT guy to fix engines?

    FOI is for qualifications of all the police chief candidates Harold. I think these have been FOI’d, but it seems papers are reluctant to print anything that paints Dabbs less than favorable.

    The Council denied the position of PIO, yet Shane Knight is being paid to do PIO stuff. How is that ok?

    If you are ok paying someone to do something the elected council decided wasn’t needed, then you have no regard for the constitutional process.

  11. L.J.

    You are correct…his degree is in psychology. His diploma is sitting on his desk (if it’s still there).

    Joe, unless she’s pulled another one, I don’t know that she has moved him (yet) to department head. But still the department is left vulnerable without any engineer. Knight is the ONLY person working in that department now. Not a good situation at all for a community that is growing and has so many projects on the calendar for the VERY NEAR FUTURE. It makes NO SENSE that she would fire the department head, unless of course she has a plan and needed to make a vacancy. My BIG question regarding Knight is this….Milligan couldn’t get a high enough salary for Knight, so Dabbs moved him into this position. So, why in the world would he work for this salary, unless he is in line to move into a higher paying position with the city? With her, qualifications are secondary to hiring her friends, party affiliates, and those she has promised things during the campaign.

    As I said….she has and is making some very stupid decisions.

    I haven’t opened the attachment as yet for the position of Police Chief. Thanks Joe for sending this. The ironic thing is this….Dabbs did not follow the council’s directive on the timeline for filling the position of Police Chief (another show of her lack of respect for the council). My guess is that she wanted to have him in there as interim to give him time to look good (as her glowing reports show in her press releases). But it’s probably going to come back on her (and him) because now there’s been enough time for more applicants to apply for the job. And those applicants should have been given information regarding educational experience required….so I’m sure there are some good applicants in the pile. Her strategy of stretching out the application process may well come back on her.

  12. L.J.

    Joe, the attachment has been removed.

    Harold, I was in HR and also Administration for years. Although it is convenient to use the phrase "other job duties….", it is assumed the job duties are related to the position. The phrase is often used to enable "lumping on" extra duties, but it can also leave an organization open for a lawsuit. If you expect good performance from an employee under the category ‘other job duties’ it assumes those job duties are secondary…not deserving full detail in the job description. If the employee’s main duties are hidden under "other job duties", then it lessens the expectations to meet certain criteria. If an employee were terminated due to weak performance under "other job duties" then I think they could have a case to take to court. If the job duty is significant enough to evaluate on a performance evaluation, then it should be included in the body of the job description. In the case of the Public Information officer, it would be THE job duties he is performing as he is not otherwise qualified, nor certified, to work in the public works department.

    Because the council DID NOT approve the combination position of Public Works/Public Information Officer, this is a blatant show of disrespect for the council. It’s her way again of circumventing the council. Heck, why did the citizens of Bryant bother electing aldermen, if they are stripped of participation in the constitutional process? This is really a bad slight to Bryant citizens and it’s going to come back on her big time. And when it does all come back on her, I’ll have the same sympathy for her that she has shown to all the employees with whom she has fired and/or made their lives miserable. Because part of my work experience was in the field of HR I can tell you that you just don’t treat employees with the disrespect that she has. She demands respect from them through intimidation, but she gives no respect. She was still whining in one of her recent press releases about how far she has come, even though she was not given a transition from the former mayor. Yet, after the election employees began calling her in hopes of discussing employment, all the while she refused to return calls to some of them. Respect begets respect in my book. Employees under my supervision were treated with real respect…not fear.

  13. joe

    Other duties does not include violating what the city council authorizes.

    Under your definition, then Mark Kizer could be assigned to mow yards in Dabbs neighborhood.

    I thought these people were proud conservatives. Not much conservative about them.

  14. joe

    The link is still there for now. Go to the bryant city website, then HR, then look at the Chief of Police posting.

    Not sure why it didn’t work when I copied the link.

    At least it is there for now.

  15. L.J.

    That’s sure not my definition. I’ve never been a fan of using "other job duties". In this case, it’s not a case of "other job duties", but the ONLY job duties.

    Regarding proud conservatives: it’s been my experience some candidates hide behind buzz words and group together with a party to get elected. What happened to good old running on your own merits and thinking independently?

    And, there’s no place for politics to play a part in a city race. And now we are stuck with her using politics and friends to fill positions. I want my good old homespun community back where parties didn’t enter into running the city. City issues have more to do with infrastructure, growth, etc. and her lack of true experience is showing.

    I hear the BAA are quite upset. She tried to get them to pay for the safety items needed to complete the ball fields, but the COUNCIL came to the rescue and passed it anyway. All this while she was spending money to decorate Heather Kizer’s office. Now, which is more important…safety measures or decorating your friend’s office? The previous City Clerk, Brenda Cockerham, seemed to be quite content with the furniture….so why couldn’t Kizer be content as well?

  16. joe

    She wanted accountability. I don’t think she realized that the electorate was capable of thinking, and evaluating her actions, and that we can actually read.

    It is that elitist attitude of hers.

  17. Harold Stephens

    Now, how would one know the location of items in a persons office at city hall? Makes one wonder if you guys are there now?

  18. L.J.

    Nope not there….don’t work there. It’s turned into an unhealthy workplace, so I sure wouldn’t work there at this time. But perhaps I’ve visited previously.

    But, "Harold" it sounds like you do work there. You’re too full of curiosity and trying to figure how how people know things. If so, why are you spending time on the computer blogging while on the job? You do know that computer history and info can be FOI’d?

    If I were on the job I would not be blogging, I’d be performing my job duties….otherwise why would there even be a ‘job description’ if I could spend my day in blogging? There’s much more info out there for the public than you know.

  19. Harold Stephens

    I just thought section was about the HR Director not some poor guy named shane knight. But, I do see yall’s point! Take care and have a great day!

  20. L.J.

    The reason for the comments about Knight are because he is filling an unauthorized position. His name is at the bottom of the press release. I feel sure you know this though.

    I do wonder, however, if he is working in an unauthorized position, is it "legal" for him to be drawing a paycheck performing in that capacity? Sure hope he doesn’t end up having to pay it back. This is a legal issue that needs to go outside the scope of the city.

    If I were Knight, I’d be considering these things. I’m wondering because of his previous work as a pastor, how he can justify working in a position which clearly was not approved by the council.
    I’d be running the other way as fast as I could knowing I was filling a position under false pretenses, and hiding behind "other job duties…..".

  21. Will

    I really do not understand you people!! This is like really sad that you people have nothing better to do and the sad thing is every time something happens it’s the exact same people that post Here and if I see it then I know everyone else sees the same thing.

    The few people that post here attack everything that Dabbs does regardless whether it’s good or bad, it reminds me of councilman Henley and Miller. It is no secret that the majority of the council was against Dabbs way before she even won and no matter what these select few people even including those on this board will not be supportive of any decision Dabbs makes regardless and well all see it!! So you people attack everything Dabbs does but why don’t you look at Mitchells and Halleys expenditures on Office Furniture and other expenditures when they were there but it wasn’t new worthy then was it?? I heard the other day from someone on the council that Dabbs had the HR director picked before the election and I think LJ said it was going to be a ex council
    members wife but that wasn’t true was it? I then heard Meyer was going to be the new parks director!! LOL, what happens when that don’t happen?? Maybe you people see where there really was faults within the city
    and you are able to guess where the changes need to be? Is that a possibility, it is possible in my eyes

    I just wonder what happens when she hires these positions? I guess regardless you select few will think there was someone more qualified and just keep filing those FOI’S I mean it is your tax dollars that pays for those filings so why not get your money’s worth, I am sure those people have nothing else better to do.
    I looked at the Police Chief Job link LJ and it doesn’t say 4 year degree it says equivalent to a 4 year degree. I don’t think Bryant has ever had a chief that had a 4 year degree but I may be wrong I didn’t see anyone bashing Coffman when he was selected and he had no experience to make him Chief other then just a Luietenant.

    So again you people are just trying to stir things up and for the most part you have just enough knowledge to make you look really smart until people start digging in your backyard. I also love the part about getting a new election because that really shows how little you do know. That is placed by legislature and a mayor can only be removed if they committ a felony and that has to be done by a judge not by citizens or by council. I for one am glad that the ones who always made decisions in Bryant have no more connections and this is eating you people alive from the inside out!!!

    Mayor Dabbs I for one hope you don’t read this crap but if you do scroll up and look at the same ole people who constantly gripe and complain! There are people who support you and your changes and I voted for you to oversee the City and make changes that you see that needs to be changed. I also think everyone forgets how much money our great engineering department cost us in lawsuits and overage on projects, why don’t y’all FOI that and report back to us!! I will be waiting for the answers………… You can start by reading the courier and seeing where the ex engineer admitted to signing contracts on behalf of the city under Mitchell. Waiting……..

  22. will

    From one will to another. Can’t you see that these folks are either those who have been fired or friends of theirs. Hey, that’s politics. To the winner goes the spoils. And bitterness over being turned out is not pretty.

  23. L.J.

    She DID let it slip that Robbie Young’s wife had declined the position. She stated one thing in a manufactured press release, and then let it slip elsewhere.

    I am not friends nor family of those who have been fired. Some of us are involved because of interest in good government…not in "spoils".

    I didn’t post regarding the degree requirement, my comment stated that because she disregarded the timeline set by the council at a city council meeting, there is now also enough time for more qualified applicants to get their apps into the pile. You have to admit that that’s quite comical that her extension of the timeframe has also given enough time to get more and/or better qualified applications into the pile. But, given your "position" I can see where you would not like that. Your slip is showing!

    Regarding FOI…that IS one right that she can’t take away from the citizens. Afterall she campaigned on transparency and accountability so some of us are holding her to it.

    And the comment ‘to the winner goes the spoils’ is SO appropriate here. That is exactly what the campaign was about and now there are plenty of her friends and political buddies getting their "spoils". You said it, not me. But it’s not supposed to be about winning and getting spoils, but rather good government. I am not aligned with any party, but do expect honesty and good representation no matter who is elected. So don’t try to tell me that I am bitter because being ‘turned out’ is not pretty. You folks who were involved in this well orchestrated campaign to gain control just don’t understand that good government, and especially at the local level, is NOT about parties, affiliations, winning at all costs, and "spoils".

    You had also made the "spoils" comments weeks back on another thread, so it’s clear now that the word "spoils" has significance in your vocabulary. It was the PERFECT phrase for you to use as it is exactly what is happening to our city. So Thank You So Much for sharing that little insight about "to the victor goes the spoils".

  24. joe

    I dont know if Tony Coffman had a degree or not; before i came here.

    The point is, people as qualified as Mark Kizer arent applying when the see the college requirement, when in fact, it isn’t really a requirement.

    Not a level playing field.

  25. Paul

    Will ,

    Sounds to me like you have alot of knowledge of whats going on up there also. Im sure your one of Dabbs friends and you feel you are superior to the other applicatns. Instead of telling other people to dig for the information why dont you bring your own on here and show that what she is doing it right. All i have heard is accusations on how the city is so much better now, but we recieved multiple awards for our city before she came. Citys can always be fine tuned from mayor to mayor, but she is tearing it down now. You do not go in a fire the very people that know what is going on in this city. She has only be a part of the city for two months and these employees have been here many years devoting thier time and care to the city. She is a spoiled brat that thinks because she won she can do what she wants whether the council will let her or not. She still have to obey the law no matter if you elected her or not. Im sure everyone can see who you are friends with to on here, so instead of whinning why dont you bring proof that her decisions are making this city better?

  26. L.J.

    Joe, did you read the Courier today? It quotes "Public Works/Public Information Director" Shane Knight. His position as Public Information Officer wasn’t approved, and now he’s been moved to a director in that department? Tell me it just isn’t so. How could he serve as Director in that department…he has no engineering background, certifications, etc. If she reorganizes and puts an engineer under him, then he would be working as a figurehead only. That’s a very techical area, so the expertise is needed most in the department head, who makes the decisions, and gets compensated for having the knowledge. Her decisions are so far "out there" that it’s getting scary. I’ve also heard through the grapevine that her campaign manager’s son is wanting to work in the parks department. So evidently, it sounds like for her it IS all about "to the winner goes the spoils" as Will said above. It still amazes me that when we are emphasizing good government, her team is saying "to the winner goes to the spoils". Unbelieveable disrepect for the city.

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