By Ray King

A resolution urging Mayor Shirley Washington to restart the hiring process for a permanent chief of police failed to get a majority of favorable votes Monday during the Pine Bluff City Council meeting.

Four of the eight council members voted in favor of the resolution while the other four voted no, meaning the resolution failed.

Sponsored by Council member Ivan Whitfield, the resolution said the city has been without a permanent chief for several months and the interim chief Lloyd Franklin Sr., “has declared he is not interested in the position on a permanent basis.”

Former Chief Kelvin Sergeant officially retired last July.

The resolution went on to say that “public safety is promoted by stability in the police department which is promoted by having a permanent chief of police” and “public safety is of paramount importance to the community.”

In urging that the process be restarted, the resolution called for the appointment of a new chief “in the near future.”

Council member Lloyd Holcomb Jr., one of those who voted no, asked Whitfield to pull the resolution before the vote, and explained why to Deltaplex News.

Also voting no were council members Glen Brown Jr., Joni Alexander and Steven Shaner. In addition to Whitfield, council members Steven Mays, Bruce Lockett and Glen Brown Sr., voted yes.

Also Monday, two ordinances affecting the construction of housing at Southeast Arkansas College was adopted without dissent. One of the two will rezone a section of the 2400 block of Leslie Leas Drive on the south side from Light Industrial to Residential High-Rise while the second closes a portion of the east west alley in the 2100 block of West 17th Avenue between Spruce and Hazel Streets.

Also approved was an ordinance rezoning 2104 to 2108 West 16th to a B-4 general business status.