City Clerk Kara Paxton sworn in before first City Council meeting

Kara Paxton (left) recites the oath of office pledge read by District Judge William Storey before the Dec. 3 City Council meeting.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Newly selected City Clerk Kara Paxton was sworn in during a brief ceremony held before the start of her first City Council meeting on Dec. 3 inside the council chambers in downtown Fayetteville.

Paxton, 37, recited the oath of office pledge read by District Judge William Storey.

She was selected to serve the remainder of the term held by Sondra Smith, who died in October at age 65 after over 17 years with the city. Deputy City Clerk Lisa Branson served in the interim.

Oath of Office – example

I [stated name] do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of [elected position] in the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas, upon which I am now about to enter.

Paxton was one of four finalists who participated in a series of interviews in front of the council during a special meeting held Nov. 14 inside City Hall.

Paxton told the council she’d been working toward a position like this for 20 years, and had recently resigned from her position at the Fayetteville Housing Authority to focus on her campaign to run for the Fayetteville City Clerk position in 2020 after hearing Smith might not seek re-election.

She said she has a longtime love for managing data, and would leverage her many years of experience in customer service and dealing with the public if she was chosen.

After the interviews, Council Member Mark Kinion said any of the finalists could step into the role and do a great job, but he particularly liked that Paxton had experience and familiarity with the Freedom of Information Act, and said he thought her demeanor and her background in customer service would serve her well in the new position.

Paxton’s term ends Dec. 31, 2020. She said her plan is to run for a four-year term to continue in the position after that.