Fayetteville City Clerk Sondra Smith dies at 65

Sondra Smith receives the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Brotherhood Award from City Attorney Kit Williams / File photo

Fayetteville City Clerk Sondra Smith died Monday, Oct. 14. She was 65 years old.

“It’s with a very heavy heart I have to let you know that we lost a member of our city family last night,” Jordan said, before announcing Smith’s death at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Jordan said Smith was a friend to him and many others over her 17 years with the city.

“Sondra had a tremendous work ethic,” he said. “She dedicated herself to her work, she loved her family, she loved her staff, she loved this city, and she was loved by all who knew her.”

She was appointed as City Clerk Treasurer in February 2003 and elected by voters in 2004. She was re-elected to serve three more consecutive terms.

Deputy City Clerk Lisa Branson will serve in Smith’s place until the City Council appoints a permanent replacement to complete Smith’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2020. The next general election for the position is on Nov. 3, 2020.

Jordan held back tears as he read his statement to the council.

“She was a great public servant and a great friend, and I will miss her,” he said.

Visitation for Smith will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at Moore’s Chapel in Fayetteville.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Ridgeview Baptist Church in Fayetteville, with burial to follow at Farmington Cemetery. Smith’s obituary is available at mooresfuneralchapel.com.

From a city news release:

Sondra Smith / City of Fayetteville

Sondra was a lifelong resident of Northwest Arkansas and was elected four times, serving continuously as Fayetteville’s City Clerk since 2003. The duties of the Office of the City Clerk Treasurer are vast and detailed. Sondra was an exceptional record keeper – instilling the practice to her staff, and eagerly sharing her process and knowledge with colleagues across Arkansas and beyond. Sondra believed wholeheartedly in providing excellent and efficient customer service to the public, staff, and elected officials. As record-keeping and governing technology improved, Sondra and her staff embraced the possibilities and worked with other departments to implement a new digital archive system, create easier access to records and legislation documents online, broaden meeting notification, and much more. Sondra’s office managed a three-year-long, 1.5+ million document archive system and her staff processes tens of thousands of varied tasks yearly.

Sondra not only served the Fayetteville community, she also assisted municipalities throughout the state. She held leadership and committee positions with organizations such as Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders and Treasurers Association; Arkansas Municipal League; and both the Policemen’s and Firemen’s Pension and Relief Fund Board of Trustees. She was a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Association of Records Managers and Administrators International, and was an International Certified Municipal Clerk and Arkansas Certified Municipal Clerk. Sondra was nominated several times for the Arkansas Municipal Clerk of the Year and awarded the honor in 2014. She received the Adrian White Municipal Leadership Award in 2014 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Brotherhood Award in 2015. Sondra was a mentor to her staff and other clerks.

The reliability and responsiveness of Sondra and her staff provided a sense of ease to other City employees and officials. One could always depend on the City Clerk’s Office to locate and provide documents, no matter how obscure. Her service to the community was inspiring; she will be missed.