by Max Brantley
By a vote of 5-0, the state Ethics Commission ruled Friday that Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs had violated state ethics rules by giving herself a pay raise, from $65,000 to $71,000, without the approval of the city council. She'll receive a letter of caution for using her office for special personal privilege.
A large crowd was on hand for the hearing involving the controversial Republican mayor, and a number of witnesses — present and former city employees, a member of the city council — testified. The Ethics Commission staff had previously found Dabbs in violation, but she appealed to the Commission for a public hearing. Dabbs testified that she wasn’t interested in the amount of her salary and had only been trying to follow what she believed to be the letter of the law.
She said there had been a lot of negativity in the mayoral campaign, and that since her election, Council Member Danny Steele had been hateful to her. Steele brought the complaint against her and testified against her Friday. Dabbs said the election of a female mayor probably “set him back on his heels.”