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Malvern Mayor Asked to Resign for Not Coming to Work

The concerns of a community are voiced at a council meeting when the Mayor is asked to resign.
MALVERN, AR -- According to City of Malvern records and City Council meeting minutes, Mayor Steve Northcutt has attended only two city council meetings. That includes Monday night, when he was asked to give up his position.

Some people in Malvern say their mayor needs to be around more.

He was not in the office Tuesday, saying over the phone he was caring for his mother who has Alzheimer's.

"He's not there," George Green still said. "If you're a mayor, you have certain obligations that you need to fulfill in the way of dealing with the public and being in the office."

A Malvern resident for more than four decades, Green finally voiced his concerns at Monday night's City Council meeting, during which Mayor Northcutt was in attendance.

"I don't see how you can be a mayor and not be in attendance at meetings or in City Hall," Green said.

Green asked for the mayor's resignation.

Northcutt told Green and the Council he would not resign, that he would finish out his term through 2014 but would not run again after 16 years in office.

Northcutt said extreme illness kept him from being present at City Hall during normal hours and kept him away from City Council meetings for months.

Over the phone Tuesday, he said 2013 was a very tough year as he dealt with a sickness that he says "caused his brain to lose serotonin," leaving him unable to walk and with very stuttered speech.

He's doing better now and was at January's and Monday night's meetings but claims he won't run again saying "friends come and go but he's accumulated quite a few enemies after 16 years in office."

In 2013, Northcutt only attended the first two meetings of the year, missing the rest with the exception of a special called meeting Sept. 16 to pass a resolution applying for a FFA grant for their airport.

People in town like Green say he was rarely even at his office and that someone who was not able to fulfill obligations should not hold the position.

Susan Lafond has been a business owner on Main Street in Malvern for seven years. She agrees with Green.

"If it was any other job and there was excessive absenteeism -- if it were me I would step down," she said.

She says his salary has nothing to with the concerns, only that it should be put to better use.

According to City Treasurer documents, Northcutt's base salary for the 2014 budget is $75,120.96.

After health insurance payments and benefits like pension pay the mayor's position costs the city of Malvern over $105k.

"I had no idea that he made that much money," Green said.

"I think that means kind of being here," Susan added.

Northcutt said while at home sick he would keep tabs on daily operations and conduct department head meetings from home.

Susan says this type of job should require more than that.

"I don't think a mayor's job is a work from home job," she said.
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