I am a public servant who voluntarily gave up certain rights to free speech because I believe I must be impartial and free from all appearance of favoring one viewpoint over another. Just like when I was a journalist. The irony of being part of the Fourth Estate is that reporters sacrifice personal freedoms in order to maintain credibility when protecting and practicing the First Amendment. Call me old school, but I believe being a public servant requires certain sacrifices for the greater good.
Most everyone in this region knows the past week has been tumultuous for Fort Smith elected officials, staff, and our citizens.
I will refrain from expressing an opinion about the whole sad set of circumstances leading up to the resignation of two city directors and our city administrator — except one very personal observation.
Randy Reed was my friend long before he became my boss. He became my friend because I witnessed — time and again — demonstrations of leadership, fairness, and impeccable character. Often, he would be asked to “fix” a parking ticket. Very quickly, he would pull a $5 bill out of his pocket and say, “This should fix it.” On occasion, he paid the fines without anyone ever knew he “fixed” the problem by using his personal funds. Others have verified he never, ever used a signature to make fines go away.
Randy Reed no longer works for the City of Fort Smith. He’s now a private citizen who looks forward to spending more time with his amazing wife, his father, his children, and his grandchildren.
Randy Reed is a man of faith — and a man of prayer. He carefully considered God’s will for his life this week. He counted the cost — duty, responsibility, eternity. He chose his faith and his family over his career.
Randy Reed’s voice is gone from our offices. I miss his steady presence and the quiet baritone resonating throughout our office suites. I celebrate his freedom, knowing I’m a speed dial button away from swapping insults with someone I greatly respect.
I am thankful that when I lay my head down each night I can count Randy Reed my friend.