On friendship and professionalism

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.

5 thoughts on “On friendship and professionalism

  1. As a private citizen I don’t have all the information necessary to decide what should or should not have happened recently in our city administration. However, 99% of my fellow citizens also don’t have adequate information to make the decision. That’s why, in our great Republic, we elect and appoint people to take care of this for us.

    My disappointment in the last week’s events is two-fold. I am disappointed at the mass hysteria that led to mob rule by my fellow citizens. I am also disappointed that we lost a great and dedicated administrator and nearly lost the same in a city director. The sooner Fort Smith drops our Eastern Oklahoma anti-establishment mindset and lets the system work, the better off we’ll all be.

    I will miss Randy Reed.

  2. Thanks for your comments, RobertM. I do understand your disappointment and hope you will ask questions and receive honest answers that are respectful of others.

    Please understand this — my dealings with Chief Lindsey have always been and will continue to be professional, friendly, and cordial. I have the utmost respect for him as well — and for each of the individuals who have made headlines this week.

    No one really “won” this week. Not from my vantage point.

  3. This is REALLY gonna get interesting now! As badly as I want Reed back in his office, given the prevailing mindset, I wonder if reinstating him is the best thing all around. Sadly, sometimes less-than-best is the better choice (I wonder if that makes sense to anyone besides me).

    On the bright side, we have the “scent of prosperity” on the way, haven’t we?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. LOL. “Aroma” would have been a better choice of words, eh?

    And with the most recent re-re-re-return of events, I’ll refrain from commenting on the other.

    The beauty of this form of government is that staff re-re-remains focused on providing services. That’s not to say that we haven’t been a little dis-dis-distracted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously, we really DO take great pride in providing continuity, consistency, and stability for our citizens.

  5. Potpourri…

    Ray & Dean did a commendable job when they stepped in two years ago. Aren’t you glad we’ve got ’em?

    One of my heroes, Mayor Baker, erred in judgment when he said the board should wait until it’s fully seated before making a decision. Life goes on – you deal with things as they arise.

    Bring Steve Lease back to smooth the troubled waters. He was Interim Administrator before Strib, wasn’t he? How much of his day could AATYC possibly require that he couldn’t run the city, too?

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