By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer
Bill Cypert, who won the runoff election for Cabot mayor last week against former Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, is getting ready for his new job.
He has resigned as the minister of music at Mountain Springs Baptist Church and he is officially off the Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission on Jan. 1, when he will be sworn in as mayor.
“I’m clearing my calendar and commitments so I can be a full-time mayor,” Cypert said Monday night.
Cypert left for deer camp to relax after the election, but he was back in Cabot to meet with Mayor Eddie Joe Williams on Sunday afternoon. Cypert said he will continue to work on projects that Williams won’t have time to complete before he starts his new job as state senator: a new fire station in the Greystone-Magness Creek area and a right-turn lane on Willie Ray Drive at Hwy. 89.
He has asked Williams for a copy of the proposed 2011 budget as well as the latest 2010 financial report and budget variance. From what he has heard from attending budget and personnel committe meetings, Cypert said he sees no reason the 2011 budget can’t be passed during the December council meeting.
Now 68 years old, Cypert retired from Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield as head of planning for technology strategy and procurement.
He said he is humbled by the unexpected 71 percent of the votes he received in the runoff two days before Thanksgiving in which almost 3,000 votes were cast.
“I wasn’t expecting that much in total and I wasn’t expecting that margin,” Cypert said. “I am humbled and thankful.
“I think the voters set the tone for what they expect in the next four years and I’m ready. As you know, I love a challenge,” he said.
Cypert said he wants information about all the various departments such as how many employees, a copy of the employee handbook and policies. With those in hand, he will begin meeting with department heads.
Cypert said he will keep all the department heads: Jackie Davis in the police department, Phil Robinson in the fire department and Jerrel Maxwell in public works, but he will need two new employees in the mayor’s office, an administrative assistant and an operations director.
Kay Waters, the interim operations director, will be replaced, and Lisa Wilson, Williams’ assistant, is transferring to the clerk-treasurer’s office.
“I’ll probably upgrade both positions,” Cypert said. “I’ll add responsibilities and expectations.”
Williams has advertised the position of operations director and taken several resumes. Cypert said after he completes his job description for the position, he will go through the resumes and decide if anyone is qualified. He may choose from those applications or he may not, he said.
Aside from filling those two positions, the incoming mayor said there will be few changes when he takes over – at least for a while.
“I will take office in a quiet fashion,” he said. “After the first quarter I may make some changes. There will be no surprises.”
As with Williams, traffic will be a priority with Cypert who said he will use the 2007 traffic study as a basis for a long-range plan (hopefully adopted by the council) to build new roads over the next 25 to 50 years to keep the traffic moving.
“I would hope by July, I would have a strategic plan that everyone could buy into,” he said.
Drainage also will be a priority, he said. He would like to identify all the drainage basins, pinpoint the problems in each and address the problems.
He said he wants the city to be run like a business the same way Cabot WaterWorks is run.
Although the mayor has no control over Cabot WaterWorks, parks or the planning commission, Cypert said he believes the mayor does have influence. And he will encourage the planning commission and parks to develop long range plans like Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission has developed for Cabot WaterWorks.