Two seek Bentonville council's open seat

Posted: March 5, 2018 at 1 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Michelle Malashock and Aubrey Patterson are vying for the open Ward 3 Bentonville City Council seat in a March 13 special election.

Early voting begins Tuesday at the Benton County Clerk's Office at 215 E. Central Ave., suite 217 in Bentonville.

Michelle Malashock

Residency: Four years, lived in NWA since 2006

Employment: Communications at Walmart since 2010

Education: Journalism degree from University of Kansas, MBA from Webster University

Political Experience: Currently serving an appointed term on the city’s Parks & Recreation Board

Aubrey Patterson

Residency: Lived in Bentonville for 16 years

Employment: Wellness Instructor for the City of Bentonville

Education: Bachelor’s in Political Science from University of Central Arkansas. Currently pursuing Master’s in Teaching.

Political Experience: none

Both candidates said they are running to preserve Bentonville's history and culture and want to help the city continue to grow in a responsible manner.

Malashock works in Walmart's communications department and is a four-year Bentonville resident. She's lived in Northwest Arkansas since 2006.

Patterson is a wellness instructor for the Parks and Recreation Department. She'll need to resign if elected to the council. She's lived in Bentonville 16 years. She is also a volunteer at the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter.

"I would like to explore ways that city government can work with volunteer organizations and surrounding cities to address this issue," she said of homelessness.

Patterson would also like to see the city establish its own animal shelter.

Bentonville approved in January a three-year agreement to take its animals to the Centerton Animal Shelter since it doesn't have one. It previously took animals to the Rogers Animal Shelter. Animal rights advocates told the council the city should have its own shelter.

Malashock said she's excited to study and help the city move forward with implementing the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, adopting the Bentonville Community Plan -- a citywide master plan to guide growth for the next 20 years -- studying long-term options for animal control and finding a solution for Bella Vista Lake.

The failed dam at the north end of the lake has been a point of contention between the city and environmental activists for years. The Parks and Recreation Department is developing a master plan that would include three possible long-term solutions for the lake and surrounding land.

"Beyond these issues, my commitment is to always keep the communication lines open and ensure our citizens feel heard," she said.

The seat has been empty since Tom Hoehn left the council in November for a job in Dallas.

Since there was more than a year left on Hoehn's term, the City Council had the option of either appointing someone to fill his seat or holding a special election. They agreed to hold a special election, which was a deviation from how they previously filled vacant seats.

A Ward 4 seat opened when Jim Webb resigned in February after moving out of the ward he was elected in. Since there was less than a year left on his term, the council had to appoint someone to fill the seat. They selected Jonathan Terlouw at their Feb. 27 meeting.

All eight of the council's seats will be up for grabs during the general election this November. Council members are elected at-large to represent the ward in which they live. They serve two-year terms since the city's population is less than 50,000.

Both Malashock and Patterson said they would seek re-election if they win the special election.

NW News on 03/05/2018