Mayor Jay Hollowell wanted to set the record straight regarding information that has been circulating that he reportedly reinstated ousted Helena-West Helena City Council member Christopher Franklin.

Mayor Jay Hollowell wanted to set the record straight regarding information that has been circulating that he reportedly reinstated ousted Helena-West Helena City Council member Christopher Franklin.

“Acting on advice from the Arkansas Municipal League and City Attorney Andre Valley, it was recommended that Franklin be permitted to sit in on Tuesday night's city council pending his appeal process,” stated the mayor in Wednesday morning telephone interview.

On May 2, District Court Judge Steve Routon of St. Francis County rendered a guilty verdict against Franklin for reportedly failing to pay his water bills in a timely matter. Franklin was charged with prohibited actions by a municipal official. He was also charged with one count of abuse of office but was found not guilty on that charge.

Franklin was fined $250 and ordered to pay court costs totaling $190. The conviction also resulted in Franklin's removal from office. The judge's order also prohibits Franklin from serving as an elected official again.

Larry Evans, a concerned citizen, contends that according to an Arkansas State statute that city council in first class cities with populations under 20,000 at the first council meeting following the occurrence of a vacancy, declare a vacancy, appoint a replacement and confirm the appointment by a majority vote.

“Mr. Franklin has so many days to appeal his conviction,” said Hollowell. “I don't know how many days that is.”

Once the appeal process is completed, city officials will have no choice but to comply with the court's ruling.