Wednesday, January 05, 2011

TOP STORY > >For Cabot, new team at city hall

Leader staff writer

Bill Cypert, Cabot’s new mayor, has chosen one of his opponents as his second in command.

Former Alderman Eddie Cook is Cypert’s director of operations. Cook came in third in November in a three-way race for mayor and then supported Cypert in his runoff against former Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, who came in second.

As director of operations, Cook will deal directly with the heads of police, fire and public works.

The position had already been advertised in November before the election, but Cypert changed the job description after he was elected and had Brian Higgins, the head of human resources, to advertise it again. Cypert said before choosing Cook that he needed to be able to delegate some of his responsibilities because being mayor “is now a 24/7 job.”

He said in a press release after making his selection that Cook was the right choice for many reasons.

“Eddie was chosen from the top five finalists based on his broad-based knowledge of the city operations, statutes, budget and personnel, very high level of computer and technology understanding and experience, communication skills, and strengths in additional qualifications,” Cypert said.

Cook, who had tickets for the Sugar Bowl in Louisiana before he was chosen, will start his new job tomorrow. Cypert said he was among 84 applicants. Of that number, 21 met the minimum qualifications for the job, Cypert said.

Cypert also has filled the position of operations-administrative assistant, which is an upgraded version of the assistant to the mayor. She is Deborah Oglesby, the former Lonoke circuit clerk who lost her office to Republican Denise Brown in November.

Cypert said during an interview following a council-committee meeting Monday evening that Oglesby was highly qualified and immediately available to go to work.

“I am excited about the operations team that is now in place and look forward to a very progressive new year,” he said in a press release Monday morning.

Cook’s salary will be $50,330. Oglesby will be paid $30,973. Cypert said both are the middle range for the position.

Cypert’s salary as mayor is $86,944. Higgins, who provided salary information at The Leader’s request, said Cypert will be paid the same amount as former Mayor Eddie Joe Williams, who was paid the same amount for about three years.

In addition to filling his office, Cypert has assigned council members to committees that will meet to discuss in advance the business that will go before the full council. Williams started the committees four years ago when he became mayor.

Cypert said in making the assignments, he tried to keep the experienced council members on their old committees.

Committee meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the city annex every Monday except the third Monday, which is reserved for the full council meeting at 7 p.m.

Alderman Ed Long was chosen as vice mayor and will chair meetings if Cypert is absent.

These are the committee assignments:

Public Works Committee meeting on the first Monday. Chairman Ed Long, Kevin Davis, Angie Hoschouer, Jon Moore, Patrick Hutton and Ron Craig from the planning commission.

The parks commission and the water and wastewater commission also will select members for the public-works committee.

Budget and Personnel Committee meeting on the second Monday. Chairman Ann Gilliam, Kevin Davis, Ryan Flynn, Jon Moore and Rick Prentice.

Fire and Police Committee meeting fourth Monday. Chair-man Rick Prentice, Ryan Flynn, Ann Gilliam, Angie Hoschouer and Patrick Hutton.