Kit Williams will run for a fourth term as Fayetteville’s city attorney, he announced earlier this month.
The 65-year-old former private attorney and assistant county prosecutor says he still enjoys sitting through long, contentious City Council and Planning Commission meetings after nearly 14 years serving as the city’s top legal adviser and six years as a Fayetteville alderman.
“Some friends have questioned how I could enjoy a job that requires my attendance of evening meetings every week,” Williams said. “These meetings are democracy in action, and I enjoy playing a small part to help our government work in the best interests of our citizens no matter how late the hour may be. Every citizen deserves to be heard and their views respected.”
While the city attorney’s obvious duties are to draft ordinances and represent the city in court, Williams said much of his time is dedicated to preventing legal problems and potentially difficult disputes that haven’t yet come to light.
For example, Williams said the recently approved Walton Arts Center governance changes were a long time in the making and took nearly a year of complex negotiations before a proposal could be brought to the City Council.
“(The governance changes) ensure our Dickson Street auditorium, even after the larger Bentonville facilþ is built, will continue to be vibrant and alive and our citizens will enjoy the same quality and quantity of Broadway shows and concerts we enjoy now,” he said.
Williams said his combined 20 years of experience in dealing with Fayetteville mayors and City Council members helps him effectively advise aldermen and members of the Planning Commission. That institutional knowledge, he said, is also key in making sure he can accurately interpret sometimes long-standing city code.
Profile: Kit Williams
Position sought: City Attorney (re-election)
Residency: 50+ year Fayetteville resident
Employment: Fayetteville City Attorney since 2001
Education: Bachelor of arts in political science and J.D. law degree, University of Arkansas
Political Experience: Fayetteville alderman 1992-1998, Fayetteville’s city attorney 2001-present
He said there are other reasons he deserves another term.
“My record for frugality with taxpayer dollars and effective legal defense of Fayetteville is firmly established,” he said.
Williams has been successful in defending controversial Fayetteville laws, including the city’s longtime sign ordinance, last year’s vehicle booting ordinance, and the parkland dedication ordinance which requires that certain developments include either park land or money that can be put toward parks.
Williams said he is proud of his open-door policy which invites any resident to his third-floor office inside City Hall for consultation and advice concerning city regulations and policies.
“My door is the one that is open,” he said. “It will stay open as long as the Fayetteville citizens decide to keep me as their City Attorney.”
No one else has announced plans to run against Williams in the Nov. 4 election. The filing period for municipal candidates runs from July 25 through Aug. 15.