Saturday, January 31, 2009

City link below offers wide range of information to help cope with ice-storm problems

Fayetteville city Web site offers information on ice-storm related concerns, debris pickup, shelters, other services
Working Together;
Meeting the Challenges
Mayor Lioneld Jordan
January 30, 2009

My central message today is this: No one in Fayetteville should have to suffer unduly from the effects of this ice storm. It doesn't matter whether you're poor or unemployed, a renter or homeless, a student or a corporate executive- you should be able to stay safe and warm, and the City is doing and will continue to do everything in its power to help you.

I want to recognize the outstanding work of our city employees in all divisions and departments. It is an honor for me to work with such dedicated people who are committed to serving our citizens at all times and under such difficult conditions. I also appreciate the work of the Red Cross to establish an emergency shelter and the ongoing efforts of the private utility companies –SWEPCO and Ozarks Electric Cooperative – to restore electrical power to our homes and businesses.

Our citizens have responded with compassion and concern. Many have called my office to report conditions and alert us to the needs of their neighbors, and the number offering to volunteer to help has been heartwarming. I thank you for everything you do for our community.

I am grateful that President Barack Obama has issued an emergency disaster declaration allowing us to avail ourselves of federal resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and funding, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act. Governor Mike Beebe has declared a state of emergency allowing state agencies to more easily coordinate with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mayor Lioneld Jordan's 2009 state-of-the-city address to the city council

Partners in Progress

Mayor Lioneld Jordan

State of the City
January 20, 2009

I am privileged to serve as Mayor of our wonderful city, and I am humbled by the
responsibility that the people have entrusted to me. I am honored to be your servant, and I
will work every day to make our community better for every citizen. That is my solemn
pledge to you.

Thanks to the vision of Mayor Dan Coody, the dedicated effort of our fine Aldermen, the
hard work of our outstanding city employees, and the contributions of many individual
residents who share our civic concerns, I am pleased to report to the City Council and to
my fellow citizens that the State of our City is sound.

We begin the year with a balanced city budget, solid progress on improving our
infrastructure, dedicated police officers and fire fighters who assure our safety, and a
commitment to institutional and individual partnerships to nurture and sustain the things
we love about this great community.

We also begin the year facing many new challenges and we must be prepared to face
those together with resolve. We are not immune from the problems of a faltering national
economy, and we must anticipate and be prepared for the consequences of any revenue
shortfall. We must be responsible stewards of our tax dollars, and we must maintain
essential city services for our citizens. Toward that end, I have already begun to identify
potential cost savings and have implemented a more effective management structure to
improve efficiency and control costs. Our staff already has offered many good solutions,
and we will institute an ongoing, frequent, consistent review of cost/benefit analysis of
operations and projects to assure the services and quality of life that our citizens expect
and deserve.

I believe in leadership by example, and I have proposed to cut the mayor’s salary and roll
it back to last year’s level. I have signed an affidavit that I will not avail myself of the
special lifetime retirement plan funded from general revenues. I have asked to return the
$5,000 annual car allowance formerly paid to the mayor and instead, to use a vehicle
from the city fleet when necessary to travel on city business. We have already achieved
some savings in the salaries of top staff, and I will continue to look for savings in all
areas of city operations. My staff and I are partners in this effort.

Even in uncertain economic times, we must be bold in our efforts to develop and
implement a strategic economic development plan for our city. Not only can this lead to
increased revenues without a tax increase, but more importantly, it can help assure green
jobs, good jobs that pay a living wage, allowing individuals and working families to have
the basic necessities and a better life. We already know that we need greater efficiency in
the development approval process, a workforce trained for the jobs of the future, and
better methods to accurately measure the results of our efforts. We can draw on the
suggestions of recent studies and the work of my outstanding Transition Team to craft a
plan that is consistent with Governor Mike Beebe’s long-term strategic plan to help
achieve economic improvement for our state through collaboration and cooperation.

To that end, know that I am serious, and within six weeks I will host a Community
Summit on the Future of Fayetteville that will be open to every citizen and I will consider
all views in forging our own economic and community development strategy. We must
have the participation of the business community and advocates for working families,
students and retirees, public institutions and private citizens, as partners in our shared
progress. We will have, within 90 days, an economic and community development
strategy that considers support for existing small businesses as well as nurturing new
opportunities, and together we will work to make it a reality. A slow national economy is
no excuse for inaction but an opportunity for us to move quickly and prepare now for our
shared future.

My first and immediate goal will be to do everything possible to secure and support the
establishment of a Satellite Campus of the University of Arkansas Medical School and a
Regional Trauma Center in Fayetteville. In the longer view, we should also develop a
close relationship with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and seek a regional presence for that
institution. This commitment clearly illustrates the close connection between economic
development and our quality of life.

The University of Arkansas is a priceless resource, and it is one that helps define
Fayetteville. We must be active partners in progress with the University, drawing on the
vast local resources of knowledge and expertise as we grow together and achieve our
mutual goals. From the development of knowledge-based industry, to community design
plans, to solving social service needs, to collaborating on support for a vibrant arts
culture, the possibilities are limitless. I will actively reach out and pursue this partnership.

The economic, environmental, and cultural aspects of Fayetteville’s advancement are
deeply interconnected. For example, any consideration of transportation policy must
consider getting to work, moving goods, access to cultural resources, and environmental
impact, requiring an integrated and connected system of streets, mass transit, multi-use
trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and parking, along with a revised transportation impact fee
to help growth pay for itself. We will pursue the development of each of these elements,
and we will urge the Regional Mobility Authority to support a feasibility study and
planning for a future light rail system.

As we consider infrastructure development, we must seize the same opportunities. My
administration will go beyond the current recycling program to implementation of a
comprehensive waste minimization program for our entire community. We are pursuing
the idea of solar greenhouses to kill pathogens and reduce the volume of bio-solids now
going to landfills. We are investigating an effective Hillside Development Ordinance and
a storm water utility to better control the primary transmitter of pollutants into our water
supply, and we will implement and enforce a better plan for the protection of riparian
zones. We will be active partners with the “Green Infrastructure” project being developed
with the help of the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, Arkansas Forestry
Commission, the city’s Urban Forestry program, the Tree and Landscape Committee, and
citizen volunteers. Our ongoing city sustainability efforts can also be expanded and
shared to benefit the entire community, evidenced by our new initiative to provide and
exchange CFL light bulbs in the apartments at Hillcrest Towers. In each instance, we will
be partners in progress.

One major change that will be implemented is a reorganization of our Parks and
Recreation Department. While much attention in the past has been focused on sports
playing fields, we know that our outdoor public spaces can serve other essential
functions. I will propose a new division, to be implemented without additional costs, that
emphasizes our community heritage and citizen participation. Examples to be considered
will be increasing the number of way-finding signs and local historical markers, planting
of native trees and grasses in portions of the parks, establishing a community garden
program in appropriate neighborhood parks, opening a convenient dog park, and
partnering with the University, the County, the Fayetteville School District, the
Washington County Historical Society, and private citizens to identify, preserve, and
promote our historic buildings and other cultural resources. In conjunction with these
changes, I will appoint a volunteer citizen task force on Festivals and Community Events
to seek a closer partnership with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to identify needs
and opportunities, and we will promote the “creative economy” in Fayetteville by
developing a comprehensive Cultural Plan, in partnership with the Fayetteville Arts
Council, the University, local artists, entertainment businesses, and concerned local

Finally, I want to reiterate and make clear my unwavering commitment to Open
Government. This administration is dedicated to access, transparency, inclusion, timely
responses, personal recognition, and exceptional customer service for our citizens, and
we will be held accountable to those we serve. From Town Hall Meetings to an improved
interactive city website to information on civic literacy to empowered Neighborhood
Associations, we are preparing to implement real changes to better provide information to
our citizens and, more importantly, to seek and consider ways for citizens to
communicate their ideas, arguments, suggestions, and problems to their city government.
My Transition Team has listened to your ideas and has made a series of steps we will be
implementing to assure an effective community conversation. We must be partners in the
progress of our community, and every citizen must have a voice and be treated with the
respect and dignity that they deserve. You have heard my ideas, I now ask our City
Council to help me work toward these goals and I look forward to hearing their input and
the input of citizens, especially how I can be a better mayor and do a better job for our

Thank you for your patience in listening as I share my plans and thank you for the
opportunity to serve you and our city.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Virgil Neuroth, who is retiring from his post as vice-president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, and Gary Dumas, Fayetteville's highest-paid city employee, on December 30, 2008. Links to related stories below photo.

NWAT report on Lioneld Jordan's first day as mayor
NWAT report on retirement of Virgil Neuroth

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lioneld Jordan sworn in as mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Mayor Lioneld Jordan a few minutes after being sworn in by Judge Mark Lindsay on Friday, January 2, 2009, being congratulated by admirers and supporters in the Washington County Courthouse.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

NWAT editorial on Jordan's rise to mayor's office

Times Editorial : Heir Jordan
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2009
Each New Year's Day the editorial page discusses the reasons behind the newspaper

staff's decision to name one person, usually, who through news developments locally can rightly be named as the year's top newsmaker.

The decision, reached through voting among the newsroom staff members, isn't a judgment about good or bad or an evaluation of the person's performance or anything of the like. Instead, it's a reflection of the impact the person had during the year or, one might say, the significance of the news that person played a role in making.

Heck, at least once, the newsmaker was an inanimate object.

Developer John Nock, former Fayetteville Alderman Don Marr, local parent-advocate Laurie Taylor, the high-arching crane that once stood above the intersection of Mountain Street and College Avenue atop a development that has yet to develop, are among our notables in recent years.

Sure, 2008 brings us a variety of notables. Washington County Judge-to-be Marilyn Edwards is a big change for the face of county government. Arkansas amendments (yes to a state lottery, yes to annual state legislative session, yes to barring unmarried adults from adopting children) might have been a unique choice. Or simply change in general (goodbyes - from Razorback track coach John McDonnell and UA Chancellor John A. White to any number of local officials - were the order of the day in 2008.) And the list goes on and on.

But, just as it was a foregone conclusion that Time magazine would name President-elect Barack Obama its Person of the Year, there was never any doubt in our minds who the Northwest Arkansas Times' 2008 newsmaker of the year had to be.

Who else, of course, but Fayetteville Mayor-elect Lioneld Jordan?

A council member for the last eight years, the Ward 4 alderman was a well-known commodity to residents long before announcing his intention to follow Dan Coody as the city's mayor. From day one, too, it was obvious that his resume would make him a formidable candidate. As chairman of the Fayetteville Street Committee, Jordan has steadily evolved into the city's defacto point man on a variety of transportation issues; his beliefs about which roads are most deserving of expansion will likely shape our city for several years to come.

During his 26 years with the University of Arkansas, he probably gained more knowledge of what makes the Fayetteville institution tick than most local residents have. Again, that type of knowledge will mean something whenever the city and university visit. Then there's his relationship with organized labor. Some business proponents see this as a negative. At a bare minimum, though, it gives him an opening with working men and women all over town.

But there's more. Fayetteville residents for 35 years, Lioneld and Diana Jordan have witnessed the incredible changes that have come to Northwest Arkansas. The Jordans probably "get" what it is that makes Fayetteville tick as well as anybody. That's no little thing to bring to the table.

But his designation as newsmaker really stems from the scenario from which he earned the city's top administrative role, some would say against the odds. When he announced intentions to run a full year before the election, neither Jordan nor anyone else could have predicted how intense the mayor's race would become. He joined a race that already had businessman Jeff Koenig and consultant Walt Eilers in it. Before it was over, Koenig dropped out for health reasons, former Attorney General Steve Clark shocked everyone by getting into the race, and Coody himself reneged on plans to step down and filed for re-election.

In that amazing circumstance, Jordan survived in the general election then came around in the runoff to beat the incumbent. It is a testament to Jordan himself and the political machine of supporters he put together. Working with less money, they nonetheless changed the direction of Fayetteville. Just how much and exactly how will have to be reported over the next four years of Jordan's term.

Every town is the sum of all its parts, so the election of one man won't determine its future. But Lioneld Jordan certainly made the news in 2008 and deserves notice for having done so.

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NWAT news-maker of the year

From Ward 4 to mayor's chair: Jordan is newsmaker of 2008
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2009
For Mayor-elect Lioneld Jordan, 2008 was a year of choices.

Should he recommend the city of Fayetteville enter an interlocal ambulance agreement? Should he vote to support SouthPass? Does the city need a property tax increase? Should he run to hold onto his Ward 4 alderman seat or run one step higher for the mayor's seat?

The decision made on that last question was the difference between being just another Fayetteville politician and being named the Northwest Arkansas Times' newsmaker of the year.

"I had been considering running for mayor since early 2007," Jordan said. "We went through just such a turbulent time in 2007."

Jordan said the year prior, he dealt once again with property tax increase proposals and he worked hard to see an ordinance on road impact fees pass, only to see it voted down.

"That took a lot out of me," Jordan said.

In October of 2007 Jordan said several friends approached him about running for mayor.

"I felt I could run for alderman again. I felt confident I could win that," Jordan said.

But he also thought there might be a lot of support for him if he decided to seek the mayor's seat. He and a few friends put out some feelers to confirm that thought. A month later Jordan started putting a campaign team together that included former Fayetteville Alderman Don Marr and University of Arkansas communication profes- sor Steve Smith, both longtime friends of Jordan's.

"We had determined in December that we would make an announcement [that Jordan was going to run for mayor] in February," Jordan said.

A few distractions popped up in January. Jordan, who chaired the Fayetteville Ambulance Committee, was pushed to make a recommendation to the City Council on an interlocal ambulance agreement proposed by Washington County and Central Emergency Medical Service Inc.

"I know people were impatient, but at the end of the day Fayetteville pretty much got the best ambulance service available," Jordan said about the agreement reviewed by his committee for almost two years.

By the time February rolled around, Jordan had collected a very diverse team to help him run his grassroots campaign. Jordan added that putting together diverse groups is one of his specialties. He made his official announcement in March.

And so the campaign had started. Jordan said the road wasn't easy.

"We had no money. We never had any money. The bulk of our money came from people giving us $25 and $50 donations," he said. "We did it on shoe leather determination."

Up until April Jordan only had two opponents, a couple of local businessmen, Jeff Koenig and Walt Eilers. But at the beginning of that month the competition got a bit stiffer when former Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark announced his intentions to run. Jordan said that after that announcement he told his team that they had their work cut out for them.

In May Jordan was out walking door to door working the campaign trail. He said it was not unusual to start campaigning at 5 a.m. and work till 11 p.m. By July Jordan and one of his best friends, Larry West, had contacted 3,000 voters via doorto-door campaigning.

But another twist to a bumpy year happened in July. Incumbent Mayor Dan Coody decided to seek a third term in the office. Jordan said he expected that to happen.

"I picked the month and the week (Coody would announce)," Jordan said.

Jordan said he wasn't worried. He said the doorto-door polling was showing that Fayetteville wanted a change in its highest office. In October the campaign got a gift when it received the endorsement of the Fayetteville Fire Fighters Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

"That was a tremendous lift for us," Jordan said.

The race got hotter when the candidates, six in all after Koenig dropped out and Sami Sutton and Adam Fire Cat jumped in, started debating. Jordan said he was unsure how well he would do in the debates but felt he had always been a good public speaker.

The campaign went on. More and more people started getting behind Jordan and his "citizen-oriented, transparent-government" ideals. College students, firefighters and police officers, even Jordan's wife and kids, were all going door to door. By the end of the campaign Jordan said his crew had contacted about 20,000 voters door to door.

"It wasn't any single group or any single person," Jordan said. "It was everybody helping out."

Push came to shove on the night of Nov. 3, the eve of the general election. With six candidates it was a near impossibility that any one candidate would acquire the 50-plus-1 percent needed to win the seat, Jordan said he was really hoping he would get into a runoff election.

When the results came in, Jordan trailed Coody by 9 percent. Coody had 37 percent of the votes; Jordan carried 28 percent. That gave the Jordan campaign a jolt of hope.

"We had seen that if an incumbent does not pull at least 45 percent in the general election that he does not win a runoff," Jordan said.

So the campaign was extended three weeks, till Nov. 25. Jordan took a vacation from his job at the UA to focus on the runoff. More debates were in store; this time Jordan spent nearly a full day preparing for each head-to-head run-in with Coody.

"We had to show a difference between myself and the mayor. We had to show there was a need for change," Jordan said. "I'm not a real politician, but I'm a real leader."

On Nov. 25, Jordan was on edge. He said he remembers watching Marr get a phone call from one of the campaign's representatives waiting for the results at the courthouse.

"He picked it up, said something and hung his head before telling me that they had delayed announcing the results for another half-hour," Jordan said.

When Marr got the actual results, he remained emotionless, Jordan said.

"He walked up to me and said very solemnly, 'Just take it easy, I'm going to announce the percentages ... Mr. Mayor,'" Jordan said with a laugh.

And so Lioneld Jordan went from being an alderman starting a grassroots movement to mayor in 2008.

"It was a mandate from the people for change," Jordan said.

The change officially comes at 9 a.m. Friday in the Washington County Courthouse, where Jordan will be sworn into office.

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