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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Mayor vetoes board vote to suspend parks director without pay

  • One day after the city council passed a resolution to reassign the city's parks and recreation director without pay, Helena-West Helena's mayor vetoed the council's action.
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  • One day after the city council passed a resolution to reassign the city's parks and recreation director without pay, Helena-West Helena's mayor vetoed the council's action. Anthony Banks was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault, abuse of authority and indecent exposure back in December. Mayor Arnell Willis, who hired Banks as parks and recreation director in 2011, suspended Banks with pay pending the outcome of the allegations made against Banks. “On Jan. 9, as mayor, I vetoed the council's resolution not to reassign the parks/recreation director, Anthony Banks, and not continue paying him,” stated Willis in his official veto letter. “The council continues to interfere with the mayor's ability to conduct the day-to-day operations of the City of Helena-West Helena. “It is not within the power of the city council to make personnel decisions such as reassignment or suspension of employees with or without pay,” continued Willis. “I, Arnell Willis, as mayor of Helena-West Helena, have no choice but to veto the city council's action taken on Jan.8.” The two sexual assault charges Banks faces are Class C felonies. Abuse of authority is a Class D felony and the indecent exposure charge is a misdemeanor. Banks' is free on bond that was set at $50,000. A hearing/arraignment is tentatively scheduled this month. A court date could be set as soon as three months.

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