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Hearing set for Dabbs

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Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs will go before the Arkansas Ethics Commission on Friday to fight a preliminary finding that she improperly increased her mayoral salary without City Council approval.

A Commission investigation found probable cause to believe Dabbs' action violated ethical rules and made an offer to settle the issue. Dabbs declined the offer and opted for a public hearing before the commission.

According to the public notice of the hearing: "Upon taking office in January of 2011, Ms. Dabbs instructed another employee to increase her starting salary of $65,604 to $71,032, which is the full amount budgeted for the position of Mayor, without obtaining approval from the City Council. The benefit of the salary increase to Ms. Dabbs constituted special privileges or exemptions in violation of the prohibitions contained in [the Arkansas code]."

Dabbs can be represented by counsel before the commission and present witnesses and other evidence to defend herself. Since her pay raise was discovered, she's defended the raise (since rescinded and refunded) despite a finding by the Saline County prosecutor that it wasn't authorized by law. He didn't prosecute, however.

An ethics violation could carry punishment from a warning to a fine of $2,0000. It is a civil proceeding.

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