A 92-page report compiling recommendations from Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s transition team, described as a "playbook" for improving the city during the mayor's time in office, was released Tuesday.
It's a culmination of work from eight resident-led subcommittees the mayor convened during his first months in office. The document is available online at littlerock.gov/scottscript.
"Moving this city forward requires an all-hands-on-deck approach that reflects our values," Scott said in a tweet Tuesday. "'Real change' requires an open, clear and transparent transition."
Among the recommendations are raising an additional $17 million in sales-tax revenue if needed after reorganizing the city's operations, tackling school truancy, establishing a diversity program for city contracts and working with the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney to create a court that can quickly process gun crimes in the city.
An introduction to the report says the recommendations are "just that" and have not yet been studied from a budgetary, staffing or legal standpoint.
The report includes a list of initiatives that the team members said they hope can be in place by year's end. They include a summer reading program in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System, a plan for reinvigorating the city's Intergovernmental Relations Office and Grants Management Division, a Red Tape Commission to help small businesses, an e-scooter ordinance, an office of "equity, diversity and inclusion," a rebranding of the Little Rock Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission as the Little Rock Human Rights Commission, and the addition to the Little Rock Police Department of a liaison to the gay and transgender community.
That list includes some initiatives that are already in process, such as the city's Master Plan for Children, Youth and Families, the sidewalk replacement program, and Fire Station No. 24, which is under construction on Stagecoach Road.
The report isn't a "be all, end all" of the mayor's agenda, said Antwan Phillips, an attorney and campaign adviser to Scott who co-chaired the transition team's board of directors alongside Will Rockefeller, vice president of Winrock Farms.
For instance, Scott called for one school district south of the Arkansas River under city oversight in his State of the City speech, a measure Phillips said was outside the scope of what the education subcommittee discussed. Currently, the state-controlled Little Rock School District is one of four traditional districts in Pulaski County along with about a dozen publicly funded charter systems.
Some of the recommendations echoed Scott's campaign points, such as calling for local control to be returned to the Little Rock district.
Others offered nuance. The city contributes $300,000 annually to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce for an economic-development contract, and the mayor said during his campaign that he wanted to move economic development in-house with the chamber as a partner. The economic development transition subcommittee said it didn't believe the city could replicate the chamber's efforts at the time but called for "stronger coordination, accountability and transparency" in the city's relationship with the chamber.
The transition team spread more than 100 Little Rock residents across its eight subcommittees. Members included teachers, attorneys, faith leaders, policy wonks, activists, agency directors and business people. Their meetings weren't open to the public, though Phillips said a town hall-style event might be planned to solicit public input.
While meeting reporters at his office Tuesday, Phillips was asked if he thought all the recommendations in the report could be implemented in four years. Phillips paused and took a deep breath before answering yes.
"I believe Little Rock can be whatever we want it to be, even in a short amount of time," he said.
The report released Tuesday by Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (shown) isn’t a “be all, end all” of the mayor’s agenda, adviser Antwan Phillips said.
Metro on 04/24/2019
Print Headline: Mayor's group offers Little Rock ideas; report styled as ‘playbook’ for Scott’s 4-year time frame