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story.lead_photo.caption Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (left) is shown next to a file photo of Little Rock City Hall.

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.

Photo by John Sykes Jr.
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

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Comments

  • RBear
    April 24, 2019 at 6:35 a.m.

    Some good recommendations offered up by the group of leaders in the city. The list is a good starting point to help shape the long term plans for the city and provide the board and mayor with goals to target over the next four years and possibly beyond. This is something the city has needed for a LONG time and I'm glad Mayor Scott tasked this group with working on these.
    ...
    Some continue existing programs or projects which is an affirmation of the initiative. Others question some initial ideas floated by Scott such as changing the relationship between the City and the Chamber. Regarding the single school district south of the river, that idea needs to be studied further before any action is taken. It shouldn't have been one of the recommendations as the research and analysis would have exceeded the time frame of the committee.
    ...
    With regards to a restructure of city government, the report highlighted several options. However, I believe Mayor Scott has tasked another group to continue that study this summer to come up with a solid recommendation for the board and city to consider. If it goes to a vote of the city, that will be a real test of the mayor to rally support for citywide initiatives.

  • MBAIV
    April 24, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.

    We shall see. As a LR resident for over 60 years, I have little confidence or trust in city hall to do be a good steward of my tax dollars.
    .
    I will certainly not be voting for a tax increase. There was a 1% increase voted in 2011 (5/8 operating, 3/8 capital improvements). When I pay more for new tires or for a gallon of paint, the city collects an increased amount of sales tax. The city's cost of living has not gone up any more than mine -- yet they can't seem make it work even with tax rate increases. It is time to re-evaluate the basic services the city MUST provide and dump some of the feel good fluff that I'm sure gives some a warm fuzzy feeling but is not required to run the city.
    .
    The school district is NOT a city entity and shouldn't be. A single district south of the river is a good idea, but attempting to have the city run the school district is a horrible idea. The city has more than enough on its plate and is doing a fairly poor job of running itself. The school district needs its own board dedicated to schools.
    .
    Public Safety, Public Works, Parks -- the TOP priorities for the citizens of LR. Keep us safe, pave the streets (and fill the potholes), pick up the garbage and maintain the parks. Almost everything else is down the list. City hall long ago lost sight of those priorities.

  • NoUserName
    April 24, 2019 at 8:10 a.m.

    Did I miss a link to the report? I don't know how we can say anything about it without reading it. As for the 2011 sales tax increase, the unfilled police and 911 positions it funded simply add to the city general revenue. I think some of it also went to the waste that is the tech park.

  • RBear
    April 24, 2019 at 8:28 a.m.

    NUN it's at the city's website under the mayor's page. I read through it last night when he released the link.

  • MBAIV
    April 24, 2019 at 8:33 a.m.

    Well - - the DemGaz won't let me post the link -- you can go to the littlerock website, click on City Hall at the top, click Mayor's Office and go to the bottom for the link.

  • Skeptic1
    April 24, 2019 at 8:48 a.m.

    Yawn.

  • punk47
    April 24, 2019 at 9:46 a.m.

    Can't believe you nuts in Little Rock voted this nut in well I guess nuts or nuts or maybe not to many white people left in LR glad I move from the area 30 years ago.

  • MBAIV
    April 24, 2019 at 9:58 a.m.

    Skeptic1 - I would mostly agree - except that no matter what parts of the 'plan' are finally attempted, I will just about guarantee that they will want a tax increase to waste. The usual misdirection will be to promise something to everyone -- and thus miss the mark on basic services which is why we have a city government.

  • Moonglowalso
    April 24, 2019 at 10:20 a.m.

    This report has inaccuracies. On page 16 -- "Further, the City must build structure to support minority and women-owned business contracting. We recommend creating the Minority and Women-Owned Commission that identifies and certifies credible minority and women-owned businesses in the city and makes certified businesses eligible for city contract procurement (reference Department of Commerce SBA minority and women-owned business program)." There is no such agency as Department of Commerce SBA. SBA is the U.S. Small Business Administration, an independent federal agency. SBA does have a certification program. Also the State of Arkansas has a certification program. Why are we going to spend time and money to create a new program instead of directing small businesses to the existing ones? Furthermore I see no mention of the Arkansas PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center). The PTAC is part of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. The Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center's mission is to assist Arkansas small businesses to succeed in obtaining government contracts. And giving businesses the "right of first refusal to women and minorities for 20-40% of city contracts? Uh-uh! This sounds like it was written by a group of people who didn't do their homework and just brainstormed whatever came into their heads. Oh, yes, there are people who don't fit into the "women and minorities" group. Are we going to ignore them? (By the way -- I am a woman.)

  • Murphy01
    April 24, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    The "scottscript"

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