While many Arkansans can recite their elected officials – especially the “household names,” which usually includes the governor, senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress – positions frequently forgotten, but so often responsible for our day-to-day well-being, are our city mayors.
There are two types of mayoralty systems in the United States, council-manager and mayor-council.
In a council-manager system of local government, a mayor sits on the city council, often holding the chairperson position on that body. As with most city council members, mayors in this scenario usually only serve part-time and usually set the legislative agenda for the city they represent. Most of the full-time, day-to-day administration is left to the city manager.
Mayor-council systems feature separate branches for the mayor and city council, with the mayoralty holding executive privileges while the city council operates with legislative powers.
In an effort to shed some light on the work of several localized elected officials, AMP is profiling seven mayors from around the Natural State to watch.
Lioneld Jordan – Fayetteville
Mayor Lioneld Jordan is in his third term in office, having first been elected as the mayor of Fayetteville in 2008.
After spending most of his professional career at the University of Arkansas, Jordan ventured into public service in 2000 by running for Fayetteville City Council. He would serve two terms on the council and progressed to run for mayor in 2008. He won that race and the two since then. Jordan’s priority projects include advancing infrastructure, a comprehensive economic development program, an open government that promotes citizen involvement and creating a “walkable” city.
Residents of this city of more than 85,000 and members of his staff know him for his “open door, open mind and open heart.” Jordan carries core principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.
One of the most significant accomplishments that Jordan has amassed is the creation of Kessler Mountain Regional Park, which included the preservation of more than 400 acres of green space adjacent to the park. The hope is that with the continued growth of the city, this area may serve as Fayetteville’s own “Central Park.”
In his 2017 State of the City address to Fayetteville residents, Jordan spoke toward protecting the “soul” of the city, by protecting the environment, guarding civil rights, building bridges and always moving the city forward.