Russellville city clerk gets statewide honor

By Tammy Keith Published July 16, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: William Harvey

Kathy Collins holds her award for Arkansas Municipal Clerk of the Year. She was appointed in 2001 as Russellville city clerk-treasurer and has been re-elected since then. “If I can help someone, I’m going to,” Collins said. Mayor Randy Horton described her as a “conscientious hard worker.”

RUSSELLVILLE — Kathy Collins of Russellville has nominated city clerks for awards, but this time, she was on the receiving end.

The Russellville city clerk-treasurer was named in June as Arkansas Municipal Clerk of the Year for 2017.

“It was a total surprise,” Collins said.

The 62-year-old received the honor from the Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders and Treasurers Association during the Arkansas Municipal League convention in Little Rock.

“It’s a once-a-year thing; names are submitted of clerks across the state, and there is a committee that chooses from what information has been sent to them,”

Collins said. “I have nominated clerks before. My co-workers here, the mayor and his secretary, and some different people — the finance director — apparently, they submitted my name this year, and I didn’t know I was going to be surprised and honored.”

The award is presented each year to an association member who has made “significant contributions to the objectives of the municipal clerk’s profession, to the improvement of municipal government and to the clerk’s own community,” the association’s website states.

Russellville Mayor Randy Horton said it’s a well-deserved honor for Collins.

“She’s got the experience, and she’s active in the clerks association. She’s got all the knowledge that she needs, and she’s just a conscientious hard worker, and you can depend on her — in that clerk’s position, you’ve got to have that,” Horton said.

“Several of us wrote letters in support of that nomination. We were just really proud to see her get it this year,” he said.

Collins said she was in banking before she started working for the city in 1996 as administrative assistant in Community Development, which issues building permits. She was appointed city clerk-treasurer in 2001, when the former clerk retired, and she has been re-elected since. She also still serves as administrative assistant. Although city clerk is supposed to be a part-time job, that’s a misnomer, she said.

“I do the minutes for all the meetings, the agenda for the City Council, agenda meetings — meetings to set the agendas for the City Council — special called meetings, committee meetings — anything that has to do with the council or city government. I keep the minutes for those meetings, the city attorney writes resolutions and ordinances, and I compile it in a packet every month for the council.

“I have sole responsibility of those records; they have to be published in the paper, recorded at the courthouse. Of course, you have to get all the necessary documents signed,” she said.

As treasurer, Collins said, she works with the finance director, Jerry McKaughan, “who does a wonderful job.”

“I work with Jerry when he needs me to, on appropriations; otherwise, he handles the finance, the payroll, the checking accounts — all that goes with the finance part of it.”

Her favorite part of what can be a tedious job?

“I really enjoy working with the mayors, and I’ve worked through, I think this is my fifth mayor. The aldermen are like brothers. That’s just me; I tend to mother everybody,” she said. “I enjoy meeting people and helping people. If I can help someone, I’m going to. That’s my enjoyment. I’m not too good at receiving, but I love giving.”

Collins, who grew up in Dover, and her husband, Gwenn, have three grown sons, Mike Hottinger, Brad Hottinger and Jamey Collins; two grandsons, James Collins and Brandon Hottinger; and a granddaughter, Carsyn Hottinger.

“My husband has already retired; he beat me to the punch,” she said. He worked for Coulson Oil Co. in North Little Rock.

“I don’t want to retire, but I would just like to be city clerk and not have the other job,” she said, referring to being an administrative assistant. “I’d like to run again for city clerk-treasurer.”

Collins is a certified municipal clerk and is working toward becoming a master municipal clerk.

“I would like to run for [the Russellville] City Council at some point,” she said. “When I retire, I still want to be a part, whether it’s City Council or the Planning Commission or the Board of Adjustment. I still want to be involved with the city and, hopefully, have more time to volunteer at my church, Russellville First Assembly of God, or Saint Mary’s [Regional Medical Center].

“I have a 2-year-old granddaughter that my husband and I get the pleasure of seeing every Saturday, and that’s a motivation for both of us to be home more,” she said.

But for now, the Arkansas Municipal Clerk of the Year has plenty of work to do.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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