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Gary Hollis, finance director for the city of Bryant, and Nga Maufouz, city attorney, have resigned their positions at the request of Mayor Jill Dabbs.
The two submitted their resignations to Dabbs on Friday Dec. 30, and by the end of the business day, both had cleaned out their offices at City Hall. Neither Hollis nor Maufouz could be reached for comment at press time.
Early Monday morning, Dabbs released the following statement concerning the resignations: "On Friday December 30, 2011, Gary Hollis, Finance Director, and Nga Maufouz, City Attorney both submitted letters of resignation upon which I accepted. Early in 2011 I told the Courier I would evaluate each department for efficiency and effectiveness in regards to serving the citizens of Bryant over the coming months. I have stayed committed to that promise throughout 2011, each month discovering better, more efficient ways to operate a leaner, more efficient local city government for the citizens of Bryant, and at the same time providing the services the citizens expect a local government to provide.
"Each department head understands how committed I am to this and when Ms. Maufouz and Mr. Hollis were asked for their resignations, they both graciously submitted them. This is not personal; it is simply a smart but difficult business decision for the citizens of Bryant."
Alderman Brenda Miller commented about the resignations by saying, "I believe that makes 62 that have left city of Bryant employment this year for one
reason or another. (It is)very unfortunate to lose all the knowledge and expertise of such longtime, dedicated employees. I really do not understand why the city would have this much turnover in such a short period of time."
Dabbs responded to Miller's comment by saying, "The number quoted (by Miller) includes all employees across all departments who have left either by resignation, termination, quitting and one death. It includes the number of summer help employees such as lifeguards and temporary/part time workers, which includes roughly 12 to 15 employees."
Dabbs went on to say, "We have a lot of great city employees."
On her first day as mayor in 2011, Dabbs fired then-Human Resources Director Shayne King.
In February of 2011, Dabbs dismissed Richard Penn from his position as director of community development and public works. On the same day, Jarion Stevens was fired from his job as information systems administrator.
Dabbs cited "job performance" as the reason for the terminations and told the Courier, "After close observation, after 60 days, I believe (Penn and Stevens) did not perform their job duties as expected. In general, the department heads were given a direction to create resolutions to fix problems and I feel (Penn and Stevens) were not effective or efficient to the city. I believe strong leadership skills are needed by the department heads to lead those under them in the direction I set forth."
She added, "My goal is to best lead Bryant in a direction that is best for the citizens and in order to do that, I need a strong leadership team to carry out what is expected."
Also in February 2011, Parks and Recreation Director Jeremy Lemons resigned.
In December 2010, Bryant Police Chief Tony Coffman announced his retirement. Coffman cited a lack of communication with then Mayor-elect Dabbs as the main reason for his retirement. Coffman had been with the police department since March 1993 and was appointed chief in January 2008. Coffman left the Bryant department to accept a position as a patrol officer with the Cammack Village Police Department in Little Rock.
Robin Ussery was hired to replace Shayne King as human resources director, but later resigned to take a position in Chicago.
Shane Knight left his position as planning and community development manger to accept a position with radio station KEWI.
LaVenia Jones retired this past December from her job as planning and community development director.
Lynda Hollenbeck and Matt Burks also contributed to this account.