FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Petitions will soon start to circulate for the removal of Fort Smith city directors.
The Fort Smith Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 39 and the Fort Smith Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 33 said they are uniting to recall members of the Fort Smith board of directors.
The two groups said they will begin with Ward 3 director Mike Lorenz. It would take a little under 3,000 signatures from voters in that ward to remove him from the board, which is 35 percent of those who voted him into office. They will need 2,500 signatures certified by the county clerk to remove him.
Lorenz said he feels pay and equipment are the reasons why the groups would create a petition to remove him from office.
"All fire and police nationwide are underpaid," he said. "That's a problem we can't solve at the local level. We can try to make improvements to that. Can a city ever afford to pay what they are worth, no. Those guys are worth way more than anybody can afford to pay them."
The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Anthony Parkinson agrees with Lorenz, and said it's leading them to be understaffed and lose good employees to higher paying jobs.
"Some feel the board have not listened to the concerns and needs that the police chief has brought to them, the previous chief and the F.O.P has brought to them," Parkinson said.
The president of the Professional Firefighters said all but six members decided to move forward with the petition.
"My members want it known that they are fed up," Darrell Clark said. "There's even some guys talking about being offered signing bonuses from other cities in central Arkansas. Hard to compete with that when fire department had one cent cola and one step raise in four years."
Both groups said they will no longer sit by and tolerate city directors who refuse to do the the right thing, and that the time is right for new leadership. They said the next step will be gathering the signatures, and said they will go door to door in a grassroots effort to do so.