• Dennis McCaslin

Greene Announces Second Bid to Lead Alma

Alma, Arkansas -- Alma Mayor Keith Greene announced his intention Monday to seek a second term as mayor. A pilot, U.S. Army veteran and retired poultry business owner, Greene was elected to serve as mayor of Alma in November 2014.

The mayoral election will be in November 2018, according to the Crawford County Clerk’s Office. Preparing for future growth of Alma, a city of about 5,400 people in Crawford County, has been a priority for Greene since his election, he said.“We are constantly promoting the completion of I-49 and a bridge over the Arkansas River here,” Greene said.

Future completion of the centrally located north-south interstate corridor has pushed projections of Alma’s growth to more than 10,000 people in the next 20 years and a rebranding of the city as the “Crossroads of America.”

Alma was selected this year by the Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas as the 2017 Kick Start community to help develop a five-year economic plan for growth.With several major projects completed or initiated under Greene’s watch, including the Arkansas 162 relocation and renovations to the Alma City Cemetery, the mayor said he has been pleased with the progress made in his two years of office. But he also encouraged more citizen participation and review of city council votes made with “emergency clauses.”

“I would encourage all of our citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for the issues they vote on, for or against,” Greene wrote in his announcement letter. “One major negative action of many municipal councils has been the passing of ordinances with invalid emergency clauses. This has been a problem for many years and the citizens in Arkansas determined long ago that it was not a good practice and was often used by city governments to rush favored legislation through without the local citizens having an opportunity to have time to really know what was going on.”

Greene went on to explain that in 1920 an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution (Amendment 7, Article 5, Section 1) states what information would be required to use an emergency clause when passing an ordinance.

“It was determined that if there is actually a need to use this method, it must be a true and real emergency and must be explained in detail,” Greene stated. “Even after this amendment was added to the Constitution, it has been ignored by many municipalities such as Alma, either due to ignorance or willful disregard of the law.” Greene also noted in the announcement letter while the past three years have been filled with “many exciting new chapters in the long history of Alma” the next two to three years will also “see many more improvements to the city.”

Greene retired in 2008 after 43 years in the sales of fresh poultry. He has been married to Edna Greene for 54 years. They have two adult sons, Michael and William.

Greene is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in civil aviation and has served as commander of American Legion Post No. 31 in Fort Smith. He has also been a substitute teacher at Alma High School and a volunteer at the Alma Boys & Girls Club. He serves as a board member for the Alma Performing Arts Center and attends First Baptist Church in Alma. He is a member of Fort Smith Elk’s Lodge No. 341, is a board member of the Fort Smith Chapter of Crime Stoppers, and serves as a Boy Scouts of America aviation merit badge counselor.

The mayor serves two-year terms and earns $25,000 annually.“I thank all of the good citizens of Alma for allowing me to represent your interests and if it is your wish to re-elect me in 2018, I will certainly thank you in advance for your vote,” Greene wrote.