Fort Smith City Directors Pass Resolution Asking Commission To Overturn Decision

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A local police chief is wanting to make changes to his department, but the civil service commission is standing in his way. Fort Smith city directors talked about a non-binding resolution on Tuesday (June 6) that asks the commission to step out of the way.

The non-binding resolution asks for the civil service commission to overturn a decision it made to deny Fort Smith Police Chief Nathaniel Clark's request to hire external applicants.

It passed with four directors voting in favor.

The resolution appears to send a message, but some directors feel it doesn't mean a thing.

George Catsavis said, "It's a non-binding resolution, which doesn't mean squat to me. It doesn't mean anything. The civil service commission is free to do what they want."

"But," said Andre Good, "at least it does send a clear message that the board of directors and city administrators support Clark's decision."

Good is one of the four board members who voted in favor of the resolution.

"I think some things were done out of order and it will give them a chance to go back and address voting more properly for this measure," said Good.

But Catsavis doesn't understand why the board is getting involved to begin with.

"I didn't want to get involved. I would never have done it the way it was done. I don't think we should be involved."

He thinks the involved parties should get together and discuss the matter before anything is decided.

Some members believe in promoting from within. Others feel it's best to find the most qualified people from all over. With a non-binding resolution passed, now attention turns to what, if anything, happens next.

But regardless of what does end up happening, Good feels the future of the police department is secure. He says the special kind of person it takes to serve will always come when needed.

"If people don't want to follow the chief's lead or the board's lead as we've seen for whatever reasons, people are leaving department -- those positions will be filled by people who do want to serve the city of Fort Smith."

Clark was at the meeting but had no comment on what was discussed tonight.