State Rep. Lindsley Smith has lived in Fayetteville since 1992 and has been elected as District 92’s representative three times. If it weren’t for term limits, she’d probably be gearing up for another campaign run but since she’s no longer eligible for re-election, she threw her name into the hat for the City of Fayetteville’s director of communications position. In case you missed it in Wednesday’s story, she got the job.
But applying to be Mayor Jordan’s communications director wasn’t just out of necessity for a paycheck. Smith loves Fayetteville. She loves the Jordan administration. And she has a sincere belief in citizen access to government. “It is as much about facilitating the voice of our citizens as it is about providing them with information,” she said.
Smith started her new job on Tuesday of this week. As for her day-to-day duties, she says she’ll be helping people get answers to questions about city government and any documents they might find useful. But it won’t stop there. “The Mayor’s Transition Team and the Fayetteville Forward Summit both identified numerous ways to make city government more open and accountable – and user friendly,” said Smith. “So I will be implementing some of those suggestions that remain to be addressed.”
Aside from serving in the legislature, Smith has spent nine years as Research Assistant Professor of Communications at the University of Arkansas. “I’m really enjoying this move from teaching communication in academia to get back to the direct practice of communication,” Smith said.
It’s the successful balancing of both of those positions that has her confident she’ll be fine until her duties are complete as state representative. “This will be nothing new,” said Smith. “Representing Fayetteville and working for the city presents no conflict, but if I am required to be away from City Hall for a legislative meeting, I will take leave without pay.”
Smith’s salary is just under $73,700. The position has been vacant since the end of 2008 due to the economic decline.
Mayor Jordan called Smith “the final piece of the team” in an interview with the Northwest Arkansas Times earlier this week. “I am excited to work with such an outstanding and dedicated team,” she told us yesterday.
“I believe that city government can make a direct impact on improving the quality of life for our citizens,” said Smith. “I see that every day, and I am looking forward to being part of that.”