by Max Brantley
The Little Rock City Board will meet at 4 p.m. today to consider the reappointment of Rose Firm lawyer Jane Dickey to the Central Arkansas Water Commission. City directors have been hearing from people on both sides, I've been told. Defenders of the Lake Maumelle watershed make the case that Dickey has been too friendly to would-be developers -- and potential despoilers -- of the watershed and note her law firm's past work for Deltic Timber, the biggest landowner in the watershed.
Knock me over with a feather if the special interest-controlled city board votes down an appointee so closely tied to LR's power structure.
The agenda says the discussion on the reappointment will be in executive session. A note on the Freedom of Information Act: Though the board is within its rights to hold this discussion in secret, the law DOES NOT REQUIRE that it hold reappointment discussions in secret.
The public deserves to hear from each city board member his or her reasoning for voting for or against this hotly debated appointment. They shouldn't hide in executive session.
UPDATE: Somebody find a humongous feather. Dickey has withdrawn from seeking reappointment. Here's her letter.
The CAW board will now take applications for a replacement to send to the North Little Rock Council and City Board for confirmation. One certain applicant, who has already written the LR City Board, is former CAW CEO Jim Harvey. His application would receive warm encouragement from the group that fought Dickey's reappointment.
There was little discussion at the Little Rock Board meeting about the matter, but the board did approve a resolution that will have Mayor Stodola meet with NLR Mayor Hays about changing the procedure for appointing water commissioners. Now they are chosen by the water commission, subject to city ratification.