Carlisle Mayor Ray Glover on Tuesday night replaced parks director Matt Fuller by appointing Ronnie Ashmore, civic center director, to fill the open position.
Although there appears to be some disagreement on exactly how Fuller’s employment was terminated, he left the job July 11.
Glover named Ashmore to the parks director position Tuesday night during a meeting of the City Council.
After going into an 18-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues, the council returned to the regular meeting. Glover said parks director Fuller resigned from his position, effective immediately. He gave no indication as to why Fuller has resigned.
According to Glover, city employees have the first opportunity to positions that become available within the city. He said Ashmore had requested to assume the park director position along with his current Civic Center duties. Glover said Ashmore will be on a probationary period and will not assume any additional pay at this time.
Glover said on Wednesday he asked former parks director Fuller to resign because of insubordination on Fuller’s part. There were times he told Fuller to do things, and Fuller didn’t do them, the mayor said. He said that was his reason for asking Fuller to step down.
"He is a good coach," Glover said. "He just didn’t have time to be the parks director. We just need to make a switch."
Glover said Fuller’s involvement with former coach Brian Wicklund wasn’t a factor. Wicklund was asked to step down from his coaching position by Fuller after he was found to have a sexual assault record with a minor in Prairie County.
"I assure you, it has nothing to do with that other mess," he said. "It was strictly insubordination"
Fuller said Wednesday the accusations against him are false.
"It’s bull—-t," Fuller said. "I didn’t resign; he fired me. I refused to resign."
Fuller said Glover asked him to resign because he did not attend the Carlisle Day Celebration on July 7.
The Tuesday before the Carlisle Day Celebration, Fuller said he asked Glover what needed to be done for the Carlisle Day event. He said Glover told him the stage needed to be painted and the bathroom in the gym needed to be cleaned. Fuller said he completed both tasks in preparation for the event.
Although he was not asked to attend, he was already obligated to coaching his team that day in the 10-and-under state tournament in Lonoke, he said.
Fuller said last week he was told by Glover that it was very important to him that Fuller attend the event. He said because of that, Glover asked him to resign.
"I was never asked to be at Carlisle Day, "Fuller said. "If it was so important, why wasn’t he there."
Fuller said on Friday, when he went to pick his check up, there was a resignation letter for him to sign. He said he didn’t sign the letter.
"I refuse to resign for false accusations," he said.
He has no intention of going before the council to seek reappointment. Fuller said if he was asked to take the position again, he would decline. Otherwise, he said he plans to pursue his medical career.
"I wouldn’t take it," Fuller said. "I will not be subject to politics."
Despite Fuller’s disagreement with Glover, he said he loved the job he still hopes the best for the department.
"I just hope they get someone in there who is going to do it right and make it better for the kids," Fuller said
In other city business at the Tuesday council meeting, Glover said the city park stage is almost complete. He said the railing is being made to enclose the stage to keep people from falling off. He asked the council to thank Gary Wilson when they see him for putting the roof on the stage at no charge to the city. He said has already received many compliments on the stage.
"During the Carlisle Day Celebration, they really enjoyed the stage," Glover said.
The total cost of the stage so far is $26,189, not including in-kind labor or Central Arkansas Planning and Development District Administration fees. Glover said the $30,000 grant for the stage was a $15,000 matching grant. He said the city also received $5,000 in appropriated funds from state Sen. Walls McCrary, D-Lonoke, to be put toward the cost of the stage, leaving the city’s part at about $10,000 or less.
Alderman Joe Cunningham questioned if a payment of $5,891 to J and B Concrete was for labor alone. Glover said the cost was only for labor. Cunningham said before the stage size was reduced to save money, they received a bid for $8,937 for materials and labor, excluding the block. He said if the additional costs of materials is added to the $5,891 for labor, then the total cost will be more than $11,000 for concrete work, which exceeds the cost originally quoted by J and B Concrete.
Glover agreed with Cunningham but said the invoices had already been paid, and it was too late to make any changes at this time. Cunningham said payment made for the concrete work was an outrageous amount for what little work was done.
City Attorney Mike Stuart suggested a committee with knowledge in this area should be assigned to oversee these projects in the future. Stuart said by having someone with knowledge of labor and material costs, hopefully the city could avoid any questionable charges in the future.
The Bobby L. Glover Highway project is now complete. Glover said Graves and Associates of Pine Bluff have finished the three-lane highway widening project between Nick’s Bar-B-Q and Interstate 40.
"The highway is very nice," Glover said. "Nothing but good comments about the Bobby L. Glover highway."
Alderman Mike Walker complimented Graves and Associates for the work they did and the little down time the business had during the construction.
"They did a great job," Walker said.
Construction of the new police and court building soon will be under way. For the council’s approval, architect Ray Lindsey of Paragould presented a drawing of the new police and court building. At 4,400 square feet, it is designed with necessities for the police and court areas as well as four two-man cells and a exercise yard. Glover said he plans to have the building blend in with the current buildings, so that it does not look like a brand-new building downtown.
Glover said the Arkansas Department of Correction Inmates continue to tear down the old city hall building in preparation for the new building’s construction. He said if the plans are approved, then the city could begin bidding the project out while the demolition continues. Cunningham said he would like the council to meet with Lindsey, police Chief Eric Frank and Judge Joe Svoboda to make sure the project is within jail standards, budget and meets the needs of the police and the court. Glover said he would schedule a meeting within the next week. No action was taken.
The Carlisle Municipal Airport has received a $240,000 to overlay the north-south runway at the airport. Glover said he is unaware if the project has begun at this time. He said the rental hangars are currently full and with several on a waiting list for a new hanger. Glover said aviation grant funding is running low, and it may be a while before the airport can apply for a new hangar.
Alderman Jon Plafcan was absent from the meeting. The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 21 in the Civic Center.