FLYER GUIDE: How to run for Fayetteville City Council

Fayetteville City Council chambers (Flyer file photo)

Want to become a Fayetteville City Council member? Not sure how to go about it? We’ve got you covered.

If you follow these instructions and convince enough folks to vote for you, there will be a plaque with your name on it in the council chambers in a few months.

What’s available?

There are two positions in each of the four wards. Every two years, one of those positions becomes available. Whoever holds that seat can decide to step down or run for re-election. It’s as simple as that.

Note: Planning to run? Let us know.

Where to start

Start by calling the City Clerk at 479-575-8323 to find out how to get the papers you need to fill out as well as some extra information. The clerk’s office is on the third floor of City Hall at 113 W. Mountain Street.

What you’ll need

After you get your packet from the City Clerk’s office, it’s time to do some paperwork. Here’s what the packet contains:

  1. Nominating petition: You’ll need to gather at least 30 signatures from residents in your ward who support your nomination and who are registered voters in the State of Arkansas. Besides their signature, you’ll also need to list their printed name, date of birth, city of residence, and the date they signed the petition. And yes, every name is verified.
  2. Political practices pledge: This is like an application in that you list your name, address, and phone number. Then you have to sign it to certify that you’ve never been a convicted felon in the State of Arkansas or in any other jurisdiction outside of Arkansas.
  3. Affidavit of eligibility: This is a form you sign to make sure you live in the ward you’re running for. Example: If you live on Dickson Street, you’re in Ward 2 and you can only run in Ward 2. Not sure which ward you live in? Head over to the city’s maps page where you’ll find a wards map.
  4. Statement of financial interest: Since Fayetteville residents will be electing you to work for them, they might want to know where your money comes from. The public has a right to know who your employer is and who gives you large monetary gifts so they can decide whether or not they think money might have an influence on your council votes.
  5. Campaign contribution and expenditure reports: The public also has a right to know who donated money ($50+) to your campaign and who you spent money with ($100+) during the campaigning process. If you raise more than $500 total, you have to report it before the election. If you raise less than $500, you have to report it afterwards. Either way, you have to tell the public who helped you get elected (if they gave you $50 or more).

What’s next?

This one’s up to you. You could sit around and cross your fingers or you could plan and carry out a campaign that educates voters on why they should a) vote at all, and b) vote for you. At the very least, put together a website with some basic information about you and why you’re running.

What if you’re elected?

If you want to know exactly what to expect, just ask one of the current council members. They’ll likely tell you it’s a big job. City Council meetings alone are a lot of work, but there are plenty of other meetings you’ll be expected to attend.

Do you have to show up for everything? No. Will people appreciate it if you skip out a lot? Of course not. Has anyone had perfect attendance? Almost. Lioneld Jordan was a council member before becoming mayor. He went eight years without missing a single council meeting and missed only one of about 192 agenda sessions. As mayor, he’s had near perfect attendance at council meetings since January 2009 (see current attendance records).

Council meetings: There are two council meetings per month and they’re held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in City Hall.

Agenda sessions: There are two agenda-setting sessions per month and they’re held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in City Hall.

Committee meetings: The mayor will appoint you to serve on two of the following council committees if elected: Transportation Committee, Water & Sewer Committee, Nominating Committee, Ordinance Review Committee, Equipment Committee. Each committee meets once per month and is made up of one council member from each of the four wards.

Some council members hold ward meetings from time to time. Some council members are visibly active in the community. The job is what you make of it.

Does it pay? Yes. The current salary for a Fayetteville City Council member is $16,214.