Allen Scott doesn’t really consider himself a politician, and he never truly considered running for mayor. But last spring, the push to run finally came while Scott was serving on the Bryant City Council.
“There was tension between Mayor Jill Dabbs and the council,” Scott said.
“The council had asked for some information, and they weren’t getting it like they thought they should,” he said. “The mayor had called me and asked what was going on, and I told her what she needed to do, but it didn’t seem like she was taking my advice to heart.
“That was really the last bit to make me want to run. That, and several other people were saying I needed to run, so that played a factor in it as well. They had the confidence and faith that I could do it and do a good job.”
Scott was recently elected the new mayor for the city of Bryant. He will be officially sworn in at 2 p.m. Jan. 1 at the Bryant City Hall.
Brenda Miller, who serves on the City Council with Scott, said she is excited for him.
“He is very honest and caring, and as a teacher, he cares about his students,” Miller said. “I have a real soft spot for people who are teachers because they care deeply about people.
“I think he will do a fine job as mayor. He will definitely make a progressive impact on the city and its economic development.”
Miler said she and Scott go to the same church, Bryant United Methodist Church. She said Scott is a very caring person, and she looks forward to working with him on the council in a different aspect.
“I believe Bryant will respond well to the change,” Miller said. “I am very excited about him becoming mayor and working with him on our projects that we have and the many others to come.”
Scott was born in Fort Hood, Texas, but he considers Dover, Arkansas, his hometown. He graduated from Dover High School in 1980 and earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
His family moved to Bryant in 1997 after spending the previous six years in Atlanta. Scott found a job with a company in Little Rock, and he said he just fell in love with the city of Bryant. Scott said he decided to run for mayor because he felt “the city wasn’t communicating to the citizens as well as I thought they should be.
“I have known the current mayor for years, well before she was mayor, but I felt like the communication between the city and the mayor, and the citizens themselves, wasn’t very strong.”
He also said he felt his background was a lot more diverse than Dabbs’.
“I worked in environmental consulting before becoming a teacher in 2000,” Scott said. “As a professional geologist, I worked all over the United States and have interacted with a variety of people and organizations.
“I got exposed to a lot of situations, and it allowed me to develop some pretty-good problem-solving skills.”
Scott has been a teacher for the Bryant School District since 2003. He started at the middle school, and after two years, he moved to the high school. He currently teaches physical science and physics but has also taught geology, astronomy and biology.
“Since coming to Bryant five years ago, I have worked closely with Allen Scott in his role as chairman of the Personnel Policies Committee,” said Karen Walters, Bryant School District superintendent. “He has always shown great ability to weigh both sides of an issue and work with all parties to bring compromise.
“His influence in the district will be greatly missed, but I look forward to working with Allen in his new role as a leader in our community.”
Scott said he made the decision to become a teacher because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
“When I was a geologist, I would travel, and I would be missing some stuff,” Scott said. “I had considered it before, and I knew it was the right time to do it so I could spend more time with my family.
“It allowed me to do Boy Scouts, church events and other activities that my kids were involved in.”
Scott will continue to teach till the end of the semester.
“I am excited,” he said. “I have started meeting with some of the department heads, but I have known them over the years by being on the City Council. That makes it a little bit easier.
“Everybody has been positive and real helpful. I think it is going to be a really good thing.”
Scott said he expected to win the mayoral race.
“It was probably a little naive on my part, but I honestly expected to win,” Scott said. “I think some people were honestly ready for a change, and I think some people think I can make that difference.
“All the kids and parents who have known me over the years, they know I am pretty level-headed and stay calm most of the time.”
He said everybody gets upset every once in a while, but he “doesn’t let it cloud my judgment.”
“I vowed that I was going to run a campaign that wasn’t a personal attack on anybody, and I honestly think, by the pre-election, people had made up their minds,” he said. “They were either going to support me or support her.”
Scott said some of his goals as mayor are for more economic growth and doing a better job communicating between the city and its citizens.
“I’d like to bring businesses in here that are substantial, and I think the Career and Technical Education center, or CTE, will help with that,” Scott said. “We need some businesses that are cutting-edge.”
Scott said the city’s biggest employer is the Bryant School District; therefore, it is imperative that the city maintains a good relationship with the district, as well as the Bryant Area Chamber of Commerce.
One of his other goals is to be financially responsible with the city’s budget.
“We need to make sure that when we have projects, we can afford the projects and not have to scurry to find the money that we need to complete them,” Scott said.
One of the projects that Dabbs and the council accomplished together was the all-inclusive playground at Mills Park. Scott said he is grateful for that because his stepdaughter, Abigail Wayley, is handicapped, and the park gives her a place to swing. Wayley was born with Rett syndrome and also has a seizure disorder, Scott said.
“That is one of her favorite things to do, is swing,” Scott said. “She loves to be outside, as long as it is not cold.
“Another good thing has been the opening of the two new fire stations.”
Scott said he doesn’t plan on making any big staff changes initially.
“Anytime a new mayor comes in, there is some change, but overall, I think we have a really good team,” Scott said. “For the most part, I think [Dabbs] got the right people for the right job.”
Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 399-3693 or firstname.lastname@example.org.