The Conway City Council met in committee on Tuesday night to consider a resolution that would accept the report of the Citizens Task Force.

Mayor Tab Townsell presented a plan of action to implement some of the recommendations, including the abandonment of the step/grade scale system.

As presented in the plan, the step system would be replaced by a wage scale system to be developed by an ad hoc committee of the Council working with the Mayor's office, Human Resources and the Finance Office.

Alderman Mary Smith asked for more time to consider the resolution and questioned what a new wage scale system would look like.

Townsell said such questions would be answered by the ad hoc committee.

"We don't have to come up with a system tonight," Townsell said.

Alderman Shelley Mehl said "The current system promises a commitment that we can't keep."

Smith said: "I'm just afraid the employees will be forgotten about."

David Grimes said: "I promise I won't forget about the employees. We can push the election off until we are comfortable."

"We'd have to have an election ordinance adopted by Oct. 11 if we have a December election (for rededication of sales tax)," Townsell said. "Let's not put ourselves in a worse situation by promising raises with money we don't have."

Alderman Theo Jones said: "If the committee finds that we can't give raises, let's don't promise them. I'm concerned with the people we've already hired, not the people we may hire."

The resolution also states that all openings in non-sworn personnel will be reviewed by the Mayor's office "for the option of leaving positions vacant until the General Fund has obtained adequate operational cash flow levels.

"The Mayor's Office recommendations to fill or not fill each non-sworn position will be forwarded to the City Council on a case by case basis and any objection to filling or not filling a position will forward the decision to the next City Council agenda."

Alderman Mark Vaught asked if the proposed resolution would have the effect of excluding other specific recommendations of the Task Force.

Townsell said other recommendations also will be considered.

"This is brand new tonight, and I am comfortable with putting this off. If we don't pass this tonight, the next council meeting won't be until Oct. 11, the date we'd need to decide on an election in December.

"There's nothing that says we have to have an election on the second Tuesday in December," Townsell said.

Vaught said "I don't think we should have a December election, except it would help us determine what we do with next year's budget."

The Council agreed to create the new finance committee from the existing audit committee. Members are Aldermen Shelley Mehl, Mary Smith, David Grimes and Mark Vaught.

Members of the ad hoc committee will be Aldermen Shelia Whitmore, Theo Jones, Andy Hawkins and Jim Rhodes.

The resolution was held in committee for further discussion.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at and 505-1234.)