New Bryant mayor issues statement; tabs Kizer as interim chief of police

Mayor Jill Dabbs released the following statement:

I am both honored and humbled by the responsibility the citizens of Bryant have granted me to serve as their Mayor. We should all be encouraged by the potential our city has to become a model city[more] within the state of Arkansas. I realize as your Mayor that in order for this to come to fruition, it is imperative that we cultivate a community of teamwork based upon the cooperative involvement of government, businesses, schools, community organizations, and residents.

Based upon community input, I have targeted three areas that require immediate attention, the first of which is the assessment of each facet of our city government including all departments and personnel. This assessment is to insure that there is a positive culture of cooperation among all city employees to serve the citizens, much as if they were striving for a five star rating. In this assessment, we will identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to implement the proper improvements needed to better serve the citizens of Bryant.

Second, I will work diligently with each department head to examine our current budget. This will help us gain insight as to where the city can cut spending and increase productivity, resulting in a more fiscally responsible local government.

Third, I will address the retirement of the Chief of Police. As of 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan.. 1, 2011, I am appointing Mark Kizer interim Chief of Police for the City of Bryant. Kizer is a nine-year resident of Bryant. He brings 17 years of law enforcement experience to the office, four years of which has been served protecting the citizens of Bryant. In addition to Chief Kizer’s law enforcement experience, he offers the citizens of Bryant strong administrative, personnel, and community skills.

It is my intention to conduct a thorough search for a permanent Chief of Police within six months of my administration. Until a permanent Chief is installed, I have the utmost confidence and trust that Interim Chief Kizer will serve the citizens of Bryant with the sound leadership that is expected from this office.

Therefore, as we look forward to 2011, along with your City Council, I am eager to provide the kind of city government you have asked for with your votes. It is my hope that we will embrace improvements and new ideas, and cooperate with each other to the fullest extent possible to better serve you. Bryant is still moving in a positive direction and is still growing. As we meet the challenge of whatever future problems might be facing us, we will dedicate ourselves to making Bryant the city of choice in which to work, live, and raise our families.


  1. joe

    In other words.

    1. Fire all the people that don’t agree with her, and appoint those who won’t say no, and who she promised a Job to in the campaign.

    2. Use all the extra money from the rise in water/sewer rates to pad her budget.

    3. See number 1. She promised this to Mr. Kizer before being elected. Looks like she is keeping those promises. Hope you are in her tribe, or else start looking for a job.

  2. Steve Smith

    I find this statement funny. Mark Kizer has not been a police officer in Bryant for years. Why could the Captain Newcomb not fullfill this position until a proper search was done? Why bring in your best friends husband and pay him? Mark is the husband of her best friend and now City clerk which also helped run her campaign. Sounds to me that she is no better than the people she said she was going to replace. Their is no transparency here.. only deception.

    I would like to know what people she asked how the city should run ? Did they say they wanted the water rate increase she provided to them too. So far she has done nothing but cost taxpayers more…ie

    2 Lawsuits our tax dollars payed for to entertain her election.
    More tax money, cause of ethic probe into her Finacials she said she filed wrong
    Water increase of 9% because of a study she sued for.
    Paying Chief wages when we had a captain to fullfill the dutys until we hired a qualified chief.

    So far i dont see where conservative should be associated with this lady ….shes cost us plenty already before her first day.

  3. Steve Smith

    What a interesting article…

    Why would you appoint your best friends husband to a position that pays 80k a year when you had someone that already worked in the police department filling in at no extra cost? This guy did not even work for the bryant police in the past couple years. I guess this is part of Mayor Dabbs saving money approach, unless her friends need that money?

    So far her choices have been awful.. she lost two lawsuits and are costing the tax payers more with higher water bills. Not to mention she is still being investigated for ethics violations in her campaign.(she cant grab the right checkbook she says)

    Im sure there is going to be more as time goes on ……

  4. Randy Releford

    Ms. Dabbs,

    As a newly elected mayor for the first time I think it wise to bring to your attention that the voting public looks VERY UNFAVORABLY upon a politician that appoints a friend’s husband to an important post. This is a sure way to limit your political career to one-term.

    Rest assured, a lot of voters will remember this come the next election.

  5. Steve

    Lets review……

    You run a campaign against the "good ole boy" system only to win and put in place your "good ole boys".

    Sounds like a one-term Mayor to me.

  6. Will

    Well I guess you could be right thats exactly what Mitchell done, so you may very well be right but I have to have faith in the system until I am proven wrong! How do you know he is a good ole boy or are you saying that because people say Kizer is Friends with the family? I dont believe Kizer is a good ole boy as you put it, seen him stand up to much for what was right.

  7. Steve

    "I am sorry but all of you are not remebering when other Mayors have done this! Halley did it to a wonderful Chief, Mitchell done it to Gonzalez and passed Newcomb during that appointment."

    Im sorry Will, Is this suppost to make it alright that she did it? Thought we were getting New and improved ideas in office but sounds like the same old stuff to me. Makes me sorry i ever voted for her and Kizer.

  8. Julie Coffman

    Tony and I knew about all of this right after Mayor Dabbs was elected. It was confirmed in our eyes when she wouldn’t return Tony’s or my emails and phone calls. Plus, Mark Kizer was calling around other agencies and introducing hisself as the new Bryant Police Chief. Tony and I both agreed that it would be better on us and our children to cut all ties with this new, uncertain Administration. What really caught my eye in a picture I saw of the swearing in was Mark’s uniform. How does a regular citizen get a Bryant Police Chief’s uniform made up? That is amazing to me! I wonder how long he has had it?

  9. L.J.

    The newest firing is the Human Resources Director, Shayne King…as of this morning at 7:50 a.m.

    Mrs. Dabbs has conveniently forgotten that Bryant was already rated as one of the top communities in the United States, and I believe a big part of this high rating was due to the efforts of dedicated employees and staff. This is a heartless, vindictive thing to do….a political payoff for her friends and followers. The talk about town has been that she will be appointing the wife of Robbie Young, one of her political allies.

    It’s sad to see employees treated this way. These are real people, who have made a difference, and are now being replaced by Mrs. Dabbs’ friends and those in her alliance. Hang on folks, because it’s only going to get worse. I’m glad to see others have picked up on the fact that this is the "good old boy" system at work….a system that she campaigned against! I’m hoping that the real "good old boys" behind many of her actions will come to light in the next few weeks and months. This is truly a case of the "Emperor’s New Clothes" and eventually she will be found out.

    Regarding other mayors who have replaced employees, I don’t see any widespread occurrence of that happening. Mr. Gonzales resigned, and I’m sure his personal problems at the time probably had a lot to do with his decision. On the citywide level, it is not necessary to go in and totally replace employees. Munincipal government is not the place to put emphasis on any particular party….there are enough political promises, paybacks and schemes done on the national level! It has no place in city government.

    One last point is this: Many people attend the City Council meetings on a regular basis, but up until Mrs. Dabbs began runnning for mayor, she was not one to attend those meetings. For someone so new to city issues, employees, etc. it is not right that she go in firing and replacing employees. But then again, there are those in the background who are giving her advice and pulling strings….pay back time they call it!

  10. jj

    Wow!!! first Tony now the HR department head. what is wrong here? These people gave years for this city. Seems like people are fixing to drop like flies around bryant, no one who is hard working and wanting to do good for the city has a chance. I wonder also if the bryant police department is fixing to have alot of people leave, do they even want Kizer and does he really have all this said experince. It would have been just better to leave Captin Newcomb in charge till a more suitable person was found through a application process there was no need to rush into this.

  11. L.J.

    My background has been in Human Resources and administration and I can tell you one of the worst things that could happen would be that a "hostile work environment" could be set up. I cannot imagine the fear and distrust that our city employees are having or will have in the future. The environment is "ripe" for that type of scenario to happen. JJ, your comment about whether the police department wants Kizer as Chief and that they may be fixing to have a lot of people leave is a real point! Your insight is "right on".
    Mr. Kizer previously worked in the Bryant P.D. so there well may be some ill feelings there.

    Mrs. Dabbs claims to have administrative experience, however, there is a big difference in working in your husband’s office as office manager/COO, and running a city government with all the complexities involved, including personnel issues. During the election her bio stated she also worked for her father. Both of her work experiences (according to her bio) are within a small realm and scope.

  12. L.J.

    Why would she need to go through an application process when she has already promised positions? Some people in town have been going around bragging that they will be given this job or that job. That was even happening before the election!

    I wonder also how the current employees in the P.D. feel about Mark Kizer, given that he had previously worked for a short time at the Bryant P.D.

    I cannot imagine the fear and uneasiness for Bryant city employees. First her good friend Heather Kizer was elected, now Heather Kizer’s husband has been appointed as Police Chief. My background is in Human Resources and Administration and I can tell you the environment is "ripe" for a hostile workforce to be set into place. When "insiders" (such as Mayor’s friends) come into a hiring situation there is usually a tone of uneasiness and fear. It’s similar to hiring your own relative and putting them in supervisory position. Employees just do not feel comfortable in speaking their mind or conscience….it’s more a matter of not upsetting the "boss’s friend" (or in this case the chief and mayor).

  13. joe

    All I can say is, 45% chose Larry Mitchell, and 55% chose Jill Dabbs. It is a shame that people believed all the baloney before Nov 2. Day one in office down, and she fired the HR director. Now who makes sure laws and policies are followed when new hires come on board? She just fired the expert without even allowing her a chance to keep her job. Tell me how the HR director is a threat to the mayor?? They are going to end up violating a labor law in the hire of new employees and get sued….again.

  14. P.M.

    per Joe…
    ‘and she fired the HR director. Now who makes sure laws and policies are followed when new hires come on board? She just fired the expert… They are going to end up violating a labor law in the hire of new employees and get sued….again.

    So now I’m curious… just who was making sure laws and policies were followed when we the city got sued for violating a labor law the 1st time? Was it this expert you speak of?

  15. Julie Coffman

    Oh……What a shame! Shane King was a very nice woman! What is happening here is Jill is getting rid of all the law-abiding, stickler to rules, people that keep the city government on the up and up. Pretty soon our town name will be changed to Meyers, Kizers & Dabbs township. When she first announced she was running, she asked Tony to join her group and he said "no". We r just lucky we were able to stay one step ahead of them. I am so sad for these people who r going to lose their jobs, just because they have followed the rules and done their jobs to the beat of their ability. I guess u can say I’m just bitter, but, Tony was one of those people. He would have been right beside Shane King, being escorted off the premises by an Officer as if she were a criminal. Jill Dabbs just smiled at her…….

  16. jj

    Im just disgusted about this whole thing. I think she will start having big problems now with groups of city employees and citizens gripping about the way things are being run!! It would also deserve her right for her to be the one sued this time…lol!

  17. P.M.

    Joe… I’m not up to snuff on all the scuttlebutt in town and I wasnt citing any particular lawsuit…

    Your comment was (and she fired the HR director. Now who makes sure laws and policies are followed when new hires come on board? She just fired the expert… They are going to end up violating a labor law in the hire of new employees and get sued….again"

    The comment "They are going to end up violating a labor law in the hire of new employees and get sued….again. " Seems to imply that we’ve already been sued for violating a labor law.

    My comment was "just who was making sure laws and policies were followed when we the city got sued for violating a labor law the 1st time?" Who was in charge then?

  18. joe

    The comment "They are going to end up violating a labor law in the hire of new employees and get sued….again. " Seems to imply that we’ve already been sued for violating a labor law.

    I am not talking about a labor lawsuit, I am referring to lawsuit in general.

    Sued over Huge Ditch in Ed Collins yard that never got fixed.

    Sued by Jill Dabbs over water rates.

    Potentially being sued about Bishop park causing flooding.

    May be sued by other home owners in Forrest Cove over Flooding.

    As far as I know, there was never a "labor" lawsuit.

    Forgive me for not being more concise with my comments.

  19. P.M.

    So Joe since you seem to be in the KNOW! Can you clear this up for me ?

    WHO WAS IN CHARGE when we the city got hit with these lawsuits and WHO’s been making the decisions that are causing these potential lawsuits?

    WHY was the huge ditch in Mr. Collins yard never fixed?
    WHY did Ms. Dabbs sue the city over water rates?
    WHY are we potentially being sued over Bishop park causing flooding?
    And WHY may we be sued by other home owners in Forrest Cove over flooding?

  20. joe

    The city council is in charge. The Mayor does not vote unless there is a tie.

    # 1 & 4 come down to money. They claim there is not enough money to fix this. The flooding issue spanned decades, so lots of city councils were in charge as well as planning commissions. A grant was secured for funding to fix this while Larry Mitchell was Mayor. Dabbs will get to spend it, but really did nothing in acquiring it. I bet she will try to take credit for it though.

    #2 Politics. This lawsuit was filed less than 2 weeks before the election. It effectively forced the city to do a study based on a 20 year growth plan (the plan was set up by a previous council based on city growth during the early 2000’s–before the housing bust) to see if water revenue would account for projects in the growth plan. It looked at rates vs. growth only, and ignored the $700,000 "extra" in the budget. The study pretty much brings revenue to a level to keep up with projects from 2000s to fund growth that is not now occurring. The city however can use all that money however they see fit, and isn’t bound by anything to use it to support growth.

    Short story is, it raised water and sewer rates 9% and probably will again this summer. The actual bond payments don’t start till 2014, but there will be a lot of money in the budget that the new administration can use for whatever.

    #3 A study was not done prior to building Bishop Park in regards to runoff. If you notice, Reynolds Road runs downhill in that direction; so does water. The big park displaces water to the houses next door. I guess the parks people and commission were in charge of that. Some of which you will find donate to, or are very close associates with Ms. Dabbs.

  21. joe

    Ms. Dabbs is all about parks; nothing wrong with parks.

    But is seems irresponsible to build multimillion dollar parks, while subdivisions are surrounded by water. The same subdivisions that were approved by city officials.

  22. P.M.

    so Joe… are you saying that our previous City Council members and our previous Mayors have all played a part in getting us in this mess?

  23. joe

    I am saying government is complicated. Some previous officials did contribute to this mess, but they also helped get Bryant all the awards it has acquired over the years.

    Change does not always equal good. Dabbs doesn’t understand that. She thinks that since she owns a business, she can run a government. You can’t run a public office like a business. There are different rules, and she is borderline breaking them.

    Let me ask you this.

    Is it fair to fire someone on your first day without letting them explain what it is they do, or tell you why they should keep their job?

    Is it fair to fire someone because they liked their previous boss?

    If she wants to fix the mess we are in, she needs to start by evaluating what exactly is the cause of the mess, rather than firing people she doesn’t like, and replacing them with friends or family.

  24. Clemtack

    I think it is a shame on the New Mayor to go in and start Clearing House of employees without cause. To Fire Shane King, who has worked for the City 12 years, Goes by the Rules, a Cancer Survivor, sole provider (disabled husband), has Done A Professional Job and kick her to the Curb with NO Insurance is Just WRONG. This was done for Personal Gain. Who is next to be Replaced?

  25. P.M.

    Joe are you saying that it’s okay to make messes if you acquire some awards along the way?

    She hasn’t been in office a full week yet. What makes you certain that the change(s)she made won’t help to get us out of this mess we are in?

    Your right… govt is complicated.
    Life is never fair.
    Change is rarely welcomed.

  26. shanmar

    I agree with Clemtack & Joe. Government is complicated but from what I understand the City Council must vote on all issues. The city had already gained accolades prior to this election. Therefore, I do not see how "firing" the HR Director and the interim Police Chief are gonna fix all of Bryant’s "problems" and not consider all the good things the City has already accomplished. I do not know the interim Police Chief but I can say that you will not find anyone that worked as hard as Shayne King and is as honest and loyal to the City of Bryant. I believe Ms. Dabbs has done a great injustice to the City by "firing" Shayne King and not giving her a chance. A real "leader" leads with the personnel given them not with the people they bring in to "elevate" themselves.

  27. L.J.

    I agree with you Shanmar. Shayne King deserved a chance and an interview. It seems more than coincidence that the people being chosen as replacements and the people being replaced are the very same people who have been targeted by a former alderman who holds a grudge to anyone who did not agree with him. Since he was not reelected by his constituents he has set about targeting employees and councilmen who did not always agree with him. She ran on a platform of transparency and against the ‘good old boy’ system, but what is happening is the "good old boy system" has found a new low…one of pay back time. She can deny all she wants, but her picks for who’s in and who’s out coincide with his picks. And keep in mind that he and his wife are very good friends with Mrs. Dabbs and were involved with her campaign. It appears this could be more than coincidence. Bryant is not the place to play "war games" and "seek and destroy" methods. I am hoping all this comes to light soon so there can be real transparency. The citizens of Bryant deserve to know the truth. Good government and good business practices always involve having the organization filled with diverse opinions, ideas and discussions. When people are taken out of the loop, lose their jobs, or are lowered to inconsequential positions because of differing opinions, there is stagnancy. Let’s see how many others are taken out of the loop.

  28. L.J.

    I just read in today’s DemGaz where Mrs. Dabbs states she is not planning to fill the HR Director position because she believes the area can be served by the two existing employees. With no HR Director, who will the employees go to, to discuss a grievance…directly to Mrs. Dabbs. This is not good business practice! Running a municipality is not like your own personal business. Her lack of knowledge and experience with HR matters is quite obvious. All successful (and smart) organizational charts have a specific individual with an HR background to whom employees can go with their personnel issues and/or grievances. In fact, there are certain types of issues when the employee should report or file their grievance directly to the HR specialist….not to the supervisor, nor to the Director (or in this case mayor)because sometimes the grievance has to do with their superior. Without an HR specialist, employees would not feel comfortable addressing problems or grievances, for fear of losing their jobs. Also, the #1 area where organizations and businesses get caught in lawsuits is over personnel matters because they were not handled properly and to the letter of the law. The HR director or specialist in any organization is one of the very most important positions and for Mrs. Dabbs to attempt to leave the position unfilled is beyond belief!

  29. Randy Releford

    I hear on good authority that the former city councilman Rick Meyer might be the new Parks Director. He was very active and an outspoken advocate of the new facility on Boone Road and very close to the Dabbs family. You heard it here first.

  30. L.J.

    It would fall in line with her other decisions on who she wants to surround herself with….friends, family and political allies! Is this what we really want for the City of Bryant? He has been known to alienate MANY people in his ward and even in his political party. Some of his neighbors have stated he is a bully and it’s either his way, or the highway.

    Randy, have you read Mrs. Dabbs’ two most recent "news releases" on this site? They will make good bedtime reading because they are fairy tales.

  31. Bryant Mom

    LJ ~ "decisions on who she wants to surround herself with….friends, family and political allies! Is this what we really want for the City of Bryant?

    This is an extremely comical statment because I really can’t think of ANY elected official that would surround themselves with enemies! And your question "is this what we really want for the City of Bryant?" For crying out loud GET REAL. This is precisly what we already had in the City of Bryant? The names were just different.

  32. L.J.

    Bryant Mom, I’m surprised you just can’t get it! I did not say she should surround herself with enemies so please be more cleaver than that! Are you really saying she shoud go in and fire and hire personnel who are friends, family and political allies simply in order to surround herself with a comfort zone? The biggest majority of department heads have worked for two or three mayors before Jill Dabbs and there was never a problem with transitions. If after reading all these threads you still don’t get it, you are simply acting as a cheerleader without a cause. I still haven’t heard why you are so adamant that Mrs. Dabbs has made good hiring/firing decisions. An answer would be appreciated….stop with lightweight jabs. At least come back with an answer why you so strongly defend Mrs. Dabbs!

  33. Bryant Mom

    Oh LJ ~ I get it alright… you and I just have differing opinions on what the "it" is.

    I just don’t buy into your paranoid conspiracy theory.

  34. L.J.

    Bryant Mom, still no answer regarding "why do you defend Mrs. Dabbs’ firing/hiring practices". No answers from you….but plenty of accusations about conspiracy? I guess everyone who has been posting is part of a conspiracy? I’ve been following Bryant politics for 30 years, so don’t accuse me of being misinformed. Just sign out…tune out…close your eyes….whatever!

  35. jeff

    I sure would like to see Kizer’s qualifications. Dabbs states that he left Bryant to take a promotion w/ Saline County. Really???? He couldn’t get promoted at Bryant so he goes to a lesser department. Not to mention the 20 other jobs he’s had in the past 10 years. And the officers at Bryant can’t stand him. They couldnt when he workded there. And Mark a little advice, get in shape. You’re a disgrace to the uniform.

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