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Mayor assigns day

to honor Fortson

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. saluted outgoing City Director Gene Fortson by declaring Dec. 31, 2020, Fortson's final day as an at-large member of the Little Rock Board of Directors, "Gene Fortson Day."

"Gene has spent his life as a devoted civic and business leader committed to making things better," Scott wrote Thursday on Twittery. "Thanks for your service and commitment to our city."

During Fortson's last board meeting Tuesday, Scott praised him as "a breath of wisdom and understanding and counsel that has instilled hope and love in our city for many years."

Fortson was appointed to the board in 2006 and declined to run for another term this fall.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Fortson compared the members of the board to a family bound together by a dedication to the city. He said the city was blessed with "very loyal, hardworking, competent employees."

He was replaced by the newest member of the board, Antwan Phillips, who defeated six other candidates for the at-large seat in Position 9 during the November general election. Phillips was sworn in Friday.

Carpenter, Moore

get glowing marks

After a lengthy executive session during Tuesday's Little Rock Board of Directors meeting, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. returned to report that City Attorney Tom Carpenter and City Manager Bruce Moore both "exceeded expectations" after an evaluation of the officials by the board.

Under Little Rock's municipal government structure, the mayor has the power to hire and fire the city attorney and city manager, but any decision is subject to the approval of a majority of the city board members.

Since his election in December 2018, Scott has adopted a more assertive role as mayor. After his inauguration, he announced a move to use his powers as the city's chief executive officer to oversee six department heads who had traditionally reported to the city manager.

Last year, a proposed ordinance was presented to the board that would have allowed the mayor to hire the city manager unilaterally, with veto power reserved to a two-thirds majority of the city board. However, the ordinance was ultimately withdrawn in February.

The annual evaluation of Carpenter and Moore during Tuesday's meeting had been deferred from a Dec. 15 meeting.

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