Less than a week after taking the oath of office, Little Rock's new mayor gathered his transition directors and advisers Monday to begin mapping a strategy to carry out his policies.
The organizational meeting Monday morning marked the first time Frank Scott Jr.'s transition board of directors, 11 individuals whom he named in December, had formally convened since he was sworn in.
Will Rockefeller, vice president of Winrock Farms, and Antwan Phillips, an attorney who worked on Scott's campaign, were named the co-chairmen of Scott's transition board. The group also decided which transition board members will serve on different subcommittees.
The group is also inviting residents to apply for positions on the eight subcommittees via frankscottjr.com. The application period closes Monday.
In an interview, Scott said the process would help guide him in implementing his policies and campaign promises.
"Any time a new elected leader goes into office, it's prudent that they transition with a very smooth and productive process as they move forward," he said. "One of the things that I learned as a senior adviser to [former] Gov. Mike Beebe was that you always work your best to fulfill campaign promises or die trying."
Members of the transition board of directors will chair and participate on the eight subcommittees. Scott released information on Monday outlining the functions of each group.
Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, will chair the education subcommittee, on which board member John Rutledge will also serve. The group will lay the framework to implement an "opportunity agenda" that Scott outlined during his campaign, which includes implementing literacy and enrichment programs, expanding the number of pre-kindergarten slots, and appointing a chief education officer to ensure better coordination between the city and its schools.
Gus Blass III will chair the economic-development subcommittee, on which Rutledge will also serve. The group will develop a plan for the formation of a city economic-development corporation. Scott said during his campaign that Little Rock should bring economic development in-house. The city currently contracts with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Kathryn Hazelett will chair the finance and administration subcommittee, serving with Baker Kurrus. The group will review internal and external financial operations of the city and assess the adequacy of the city's revenue streams.
Dr. Sara Tariq will chair the inclusion subcommittee, serving with Cristina Monterrey. The group's goal will be to shape how Little Rock can improve and welcome all residents, regardless of their background, social status or what part of the city they live in.
Tamika Edwards will chair the mobility subcommittee on which Hazelett will also serve. The group's aims will be to ensure that residents who use all forms of transportation can travel across the city and to modernize the city's infrastructure.
Edwards will also chair the public-safety subcommittee, on which Monterrey will also serve. The group will create recommendations for the city's public-safety services, entities and organizations.
Jay Barth will chair the quality-of-life subcommittee, serving with Elliott. The group will shape how city leadership can better the lives of residents all over the city.
The transformation and government reform subcommittee will be chaired by Phillips. Rockefeller and Kurrus will also serve on that subcommittee, which will build the framework of how Scott's administration will operate and determine a future structure of city leadership.
Three of Scott's transition advisers -- Rep. Charles Blake, D-Little Rock; Harriett Phillips; and Kendra Pruitt -- were also present at Monday's meeting.
Scott said Bryan Day, executive director of the Little Rock Port Authority and a former assistant city manager in Little Rock, is also serving as an adviser, as is Phyllis Dickerson, former Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola's chief of staff.
The transition members are all volunteers.
The meeting was closed to the media after Scott's introductory remarks to the board and advisers.
Scott told reporters that he was excited to be working with a diverse and qualified group of city leaders. He said he chose individuals outside City Hall in order to bring a new perspective.
"We have to make certain that we have a fresh set of eyes," he said.
Antwan Phillips said in an interview that the meeting also consisted of answering questions that transition board members had about the process. He said the group selected which transition board member would serve on which subcommittee based on each person's expertise, availability and particular interest.
"Everyone on the board has expressed that they're all in," he said.
When asked whether any transition members would seek permanent employment with the city, he said it was unlikely because they already have their own careers.
Scott has said the roughly 60-day transition process will allow him to familiarize himself with the city's departments, boards and commissions, determine their effects and form a plan to implement policy.
He said his advisers will request reports or information from different city departments and agencies, focusing especially on the city's police, fire, public works, planning and finance departments.
Scott is the first popularly elected black mayor of Arkansas' capital city. Stodola, his predecessor, had his last day in office on Dec. 31 after serving for 12 years.
A Section on 01/08/2019
Print Headline: New Little Rock mayor's transition panel meets