LITTLE ROCK — Pulaski County municipalities are holding swearingin ceremonies for new and returning elected officials beginning today.
North Little Rock and Sherwood will hold the first ceremonies today at 10 a.m.
In North Little Rock, Steve Baxter will be sworn in as the new Ward 3 alderman. Baxter defeated Alderman Jimmy Phillips in a November runoff election. Phillips was appointed to replace Cary Gaines, who was indicted on federal charges of public corruption and pleaded guilty in December in a plea bargain.
Gaines resigned a year ago after his pending indictment over a kickback scheme to defraud the city with George Wylie Thompson of Cabot came to light. On Dec. 6, Gaines pleaded guilty to a wire-fraud conspiracy charge and admitted that he plotted with Thompson to try to rig two city construction bids to repay gambling debts. The scheme never materialized.
North Little Rock incumbents being sworn in are: Ward 1 Alderman Debi Ross; Ward 2 Alderman Linda Robinson; Ward 4 Alderman Murry Witcher; City Attorney Jason Carter; and City Treasurer Mary Ruth Morgan.
After defeating Alderman Sheila Sulcer in a runoff, Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman will be sworn in today with four aldermen, thecity attorney, city clerk/treasurer.
Only one alderman, Tim McMinn of Ward 4, ran for re-election. He bested Drew Crawford for the seat. Ken Keplinger beat Robert Gregory to become the Ward 1 alderman. City Clerk/Treasurer Angela Nicholson and City Attorney Stephen Cobb ran unopposed, as did newcomers Mary Jo Heye for Ward 2 alderman and Toni Butler for Ward 3 alderman.
Little Rock will hold its swearing-in ceremony Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. at City Hall. A reception will follow at 3 p.m.
Mayor Mark Stodola and six ward directors will be sworn in with Lance Hines as the newcomer in the Ward 5 seat. Hines replaces Michael Keck, who chose not to run for re-election after representing west Little Rock for 17 years.
Pulaski County will swear in several new faces on Monday at 6 p.m. and hold a reception afterward.
Larry Crane will join the county’s executive branch as the new circuit county clerk after defeating Steve Walden for the seat vacated by Pat O’Brien, who failed in his bid to become secretary of state.
County Judge Buddy Villines, county Treasurer Debra Buckner, Sheriff Doc Holladay and County Assessor Janet Ward will also be sworn after being re-elected. Holladay defeated challenger Patrick Mulligan. The other officials ran unopposed.
New justices of the peace to be sworn in are: Jim Sorvillo, District 3; Teresa Coney, District 7; Judy Green, District 9; Paul Elliott, District 14; and Shane Stacks, District 15.
Stacks defeated Brad Hughes for the District 15 seat being vacated by Steve Goss, who is retiring. Sorvillo defeated incumbent Kathy Lewison, who has vowed to return for a rematch in two years. Coney defeated incumbent Patricia Dicker in the May primary, then routed challenger Pamela Barker. Elliott outpaced incumbent Charles Roberson and Green ran unopposed for the District 9 seat being vacated by Mary Louise Williams, who is retiring.
Jacksonville elected officials will be sworn in Thursday at 7 p.m. during the first City Council meeting of 2011. Newly elected aldermen are Mike Traylor, Ward 4, and Aaron Robinson, Ward 5.
Mayor Gary Fletcher, City Clerk/Treasurer Susan Davitt, City Attorney Robert Bamburg and Ward 2 Alderman Kevin McCleary ran unopposed. Other Jacksonville incumbents being sworn in are: aldermen Kenny Elliot, Ward 1, and Reedie Ray, Ward 3.
Information for this article was contributed by Jake Sandlin, Kristin Netterstrom and Aprille Hanson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.