Edwards to oversee Benton parks program

Robert Edwards has been named interim director of the Benton Parks and Recreation Department.
Mayor David Mattingly announced Edwards' appointment late Monday at a Benton City Council meeting.
Mattingly said he had selected Edwards to serve in this position and that he expressed appreciation to Edwards for the willingness to serve the city in this manner.
Edwards, in turn, expressed appreciation to the mayor for the confidence placed in him and said it was his pleasure to serve Benton residents.
Edwards is retired from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The mayor also announced that he would be forming a review committee to assist him in selecting a permanent replacement for the park director's position that became vacant recently with the retirement of longtime director Curtis McCormack.
Mattingly said the committee would be comprised of city officials "plus private citizens" who would assist him in reviewing applications for the job.
To date, the opening has drawn nearly 50 applicants.
The parks department has come under close scrutiny in recent weeks. One employee, Kitty Smith, was terminated during an investigation into financial irregularities of the department's concessions fund.
During that probe, McCormack was suspended, but was determined not to have been involved in any financial wrongdoing, according to Benton City Attorney Brent Houston.
McCormack though announced during that time that he would retiring at the end of the summer.
Following a more complete audit of the department, McCormack moved up his Aug. 31 retirement date to be effective immediately and by the next week the council adopted an ordinance abolishing the parks commission.