Paris City Council selects seven-member citizens advisory committee on $50 million capital improvement program

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

A seven-person citizens advisory committee was named Monday night by the Paris City Council to provide guidance on the order in which projects should be undertaken as part of a 10-year, $50 million capital improvement program.

Named by the respective Paris City Council members were:

  • Stevie Jackson, 1211 MLK Drive, owner of Smooth Construction (by District 1 councilman Aaron Jenkins).
  • Ruth Ann Alsobrook, 208 5th St. SW, government instructor at Paris Junior College (by District 2 councilwoman Sue Lancaster),
  • Bobby Smallwood, 3116 Stillhouse Road, owner of Bobby Smallwood Construction (by District 3 councilman John Wright),
  • J.D. Davidson, 1920 Silverleaf Drive, publisher of The Paris News (by District 4 councilman Dr. Richard Grossnickle),
  • Brad Archer, 537 6th St. SE, director of business development for Harrison, Walker & Harper LP (by District 5 councilman Matt Frierson), and
  • Cheyney Bryan, 5721 FM 79, owner of Bryan Fence Company (by District 6 councilwoman Cleonne Drake),
  • Charles Richards, 3820 Castlegae Drive, writer for eParisExtra.com (by District 7 councilman AJ Hashmi),i

“The purpose of this committee is not to go before the civic clubs and educate them about the vote in the May special election on the bond issue. It is not that committee. The purpose of this committee is to provide some direction on the order in which projects should be undertaken,” the mayor said.

Mayor AJ Hashmi

Mayor AJ Hashmi

KSA Engineering is working up the plan along with the city engineer, and they have the expertise to determine the projects, but I would say to the members of this committee that they don’t know the town like you do,” Hashmi added.

Because members of the committee live here, they have the pulse of the people and are in a better position to judge if maybe a project scheduled for Year 2 should be moved up and done right away, he said.

“They may want to do something (in east Paris) that is quite necessary, but you can say, ‘You know what, northwest and southwest Paris have suffered for a long time and the residents over there need to be felt part of the town. We would like you to do this project over there first,’ “ Hashmi said.

Before taking each council member’s appointments to the committee, the mayor stressed the importance of there being no conflicts of interest on their being on the committee.

“The last thing we want at this point is to have any kind of issue in that regard, so please make sure there are no conflicts of interest. We want all of the committee’s decisions to be completely transparent,” Hashmi said.

Wright, in nominating Smallwood, added: “I would like to clarify that his doing some of the city’s sidewalk work will not be a conflict.”

 

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About the Author
Author

Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.