Fayetteville to form input panel for implementing new anti-discrimination ordinance

The City Council chambers were packed tight during the final reading of a contentious anti-discrimination ordinance on Aug. 19. With the room at maximum capacity, residents were only allowed inside one at a time to speak after each person left the podium and exited the room.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan is working to establish a group to provide input on how to implement the city’s new anti-discrimination ordinance approved by the City Council in August.

The ordinance, set to go into effect Sept. 20, prohibits business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, marital status or veteran status. It creates a civil rights administrator position to receive and investigate complaints from residents who feel they are victims of those specific types of discrimination.

Civil rights input meeting

Date: Thursday, Sept. 4
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: City Hall room 326
Address: 113 W. Mountain St.
Broadcast: Meeting will be filmed and later aired on the Fayetteville Government Channel.
Source: City of Fayetteville

The idea for the group was suggested by Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, in a Aug. 28 letter written to Jordan.

“With the passage of the new civil rights ordinance, the business community has become very concerned as to how the city will implement … the ordinance,” Clark said in the letter.

“Since these rules and enforcement provisions must provide fundamental fairness and due process to all affected by or involved in the process of being judged according to this ordinance, the business community asks that you appoint an advisory board immediately to assist you and your team in preparation of these rules and enforcement provisions.”

Clark said clarifications are needed on the definitions of some legal terms like “socioeconomic background,” “physical characteristic,” and “good faith.”

He suggested the group include representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, members of the retail business and real estate industry, faith leaders, and civil rights lawyers.

The membership of the panel has not yet been determined is listed below, and the group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 inside room 326 at City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St. in downtown Fayetteville.

Residents are invited to attend, but the meeting will not include a public comment period, as nearly 10 hours of public input was received during the final reading of the ordinance on Aug. 19. According to a news release, the meeting will be filmed and later aired on the Fayetteville Government Channel.

Civil rights ordinance input panel

Lioneld Jordan – Mayor, City of Fayetteville

Lindsley Smith – Director of Communications, City of Fayetteville

Leif Olson – Planner, City of Fayetteville

Kit Williams – City Attorney, City of Fayetteville

Bill Bradley – President and CEO, Washington Regional Medical Center; Chairman, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

Tony Uth – Partner CPA, HoganTaylor Accounting; Treasurer, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

Anne Mourney – General counsel, Lindsey Management Co., Inc.

Sue Madison – Landlord; former Arkansas state representative and senator

Laura Hampton – Representative, disabled community

Maria Baez de Hicks – Representative, Hispanic community

Jim Huffman – Pastor, Christ’s Church

Lowell Grisham – Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Curtiss Smith – Pastor, St. James Missionary Baptist Church

Kim Coats – Special counsel, Littler Mendelson employment and labor law practice

Mark Martin – Partner attorney, Martin Law Firm

Kate Bartow – Representative, NWA Center for Equality

James Rector – Board president, NWA Center for Equality

Anne Shelley – Executive director, Northwest Arkansas Rape Crisis Center

Danielle Wood – Director, University of Arkansas Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance