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Some residents in Bauxite received more than bills and junk mail recently. A postcard from Bauxite Mayor Johnny McMahan was delivered last week to selected citizens.
On the front of the postcard was the arrest photo of Bauxite resident Debbi Purifoy. On the reverse side was a commentary from McMahan that starts begins, "Do you want the person on the front side of this card to be the 'face' of Bauxite? Not me."
The postcard also includes the names and telephone numbers of three city alderman with an encouragement from the mayor for residents to call and say "No to Purifoy."
The postcard is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between McMahan and Purifoy. Earlier this year, the Bauxite City Council voted to place Purifoy in an open recorder/treasurer position vacated by Renee Chastain. McMahan immediately vetoed that action.
Subsequent to his veto, a ruling by the Arkansas Municipal League determined that a motion to override the veto was not worded correctly and thus was not valid.
Purifoy says she did not receive the postcard, but a neighbor brought one for her to see.
"I'm not sure why he is doing this," Purifoy said. "Why is he carrying this vendetta? He became angry with me because I was supporting Ronnie Ramsey for mayor instead of him."
She went on to say that McMahan's actions were uncalled for and that "he should have more respect for the city."
McMahan said he used the direct mail campaign as a way to get his point-of-view out to the residents of Bauxite and claims no city funds were used.
"I sent it out to the citizens of Bauxite using public information lists (voter, phone book, etc., Saline County website). I did this on my own time at my home and not while I was at Bauxite City Hall. I sent it out as an informational tool to those citizens that don't take the Courier and are unaware of what is going on in Bauxite.
"I had one contributor to my campaign, and that was my sister, whom lives in Little Rock, and I haven't sent her one, but probably will when I get around to it. I got the picture from the Saline County sheriff's office, purchased the cards online and paid for them with my own funds, used my personal printer at home with my ink and purchased the stamps with my own funds and used my personal laptop to print the information on the back of the cards.
"I probably have $150-$175 of my own funds invested in this project. My daughter and wife helped me stamp the cards. I have sent out approximately 250-275 cards, with not all persons receiving one. I did not send one to Debbie Purifoy or Ronnie Ramsey and their relatives."
McMahan also noted, "As a side note, I want to make sure the citizens of Bauxite know that Guy Hendrix, Adam Kampbell and Paula Matthews are aligned with Purifoy and are stifling progress in Bauxite by trying to force her into the treasurer's job, and when that didn't work, they tried trickery at the last council meeting and I presume they have something up their sleeve for the next council meeting."
Kampbell and Matthews were contacted for comment about the postcard and the mayor's claim of an attempt to again place Purifoy in the recorder/treasurer position.
"I have no knowledge of an effort to bring it back up," Matthews said. "I thought it was over with. We tried. It's done from the way I understand it." When asked why she believes McMahan is bringing up the issue again, Matthews responded, "I don't know. He likes to beat a dead horse on everything."
Kampbell commented that "I don't understand why he does what he does."
Both Kampbell and Matthews stated that they have received little to no messages or telephone calls.
"Actually, the postcard has worked in reverse of what he was trying to do," Kampbell said. "I've received about 10 or so calls from people upset about the postcard."
Matthews questioned why other information was not included on the postcard. "Why isn't McMahan's number on it? Why target the three he did? It's because we don't vote the way he wants us to."
Purifoy says she has the support of a growing number of residents in Bauxite. "It's normal to have political differences, but they should be handled civilly."
She says there is a "deep tradition in Bauxite. We don't give up easily. I don't run from a fight."
Purifoy has begun circulating petitions to recall McMahan.
"The gloves are coming off and I'm putting on my Wonder Woman underwear," she said.
The Bauxite City Council will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Bauxite City Hall.