By Tammy Moore Teague
July 19 will mark the first 90 days in office for Mansfield’s Mayor, Mike Gipson. I was privileged to sit down and talk to him about the city’s progress since he took over and also about his plans for the future.
“I love my community and my school,” summed Gipson. And, if you have ever spoken with Gipson, you know that is an undeniable truth. It is no wonder then why he has been able to make so much progress in such little time. Gipson serves humbly and has a servant’s heart.
One of the top concerns as he took office was the multiple violations with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. All those violations, Gipson reported, have now been resolved. City employee Tony Gregory has been working on his licensure as a class two waste water operator. ADEQ requires a class three operator, but has given the city leeway until Gregory can complete the schooling. One of the biggest complaints of townspeople has been the fowl smell. Citizens can now breathe a sigh of relief, however, as that too has been resolved.
Gipson said his job has been easy because of the good people he works with. “I have the best job,” he said. “The people I work with and the citizens of this town have been so good to support me.” Gipson has made it a point to get out into the community and visit. This is, according to Gipson, his favorite part of the job. With all the support, and volunteers that Gipson has had assisting him, he suggested our town take on the nickname, “The Volunteer City.”
He was hard pressed to express any difficulties that he’s faced in these past three months. “I think it’s all this paperwork,” he said jokingly. He does his job with such great compassion that he finds it difficult to tell others no. There are of course the usual complaints of unkept yards and loose, barking dogs. Those phone calls come to Gipson at all hours of the day and night, he takes it all in stride. What’s more, he does it with a servant’s heart, saving the city the cost of a mayor’s salary.
He has high hopes for the city’s future. He is concerned, however, for the lack of available emergency medical responders. In turn, he noted that he would like to one day see Mansfield have their own ambulance service.
Additionally, he is in the process of addressing issues with the city streets. A representative with the Arkansas Department of Transportation plans to meet with Gipson on August 15 to survey needed repairs.
Gipson has already hosted several fun and exciting events, and plans to continue in hopes of involving more of the community. In August, there will be a fishing derby open to kids 15 and under. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission plans to stock the Mansfield City Lake with 400 catchable size catfish. In September, the city will host the annual Bluegrass Festival at Mansfield City Lake Park. In November, the mayor is planning a city wide dinner, which will be open to those who have lived in Mansfield for 50 or more years. Lastly, in December, he hopes to have a tree lighting event and business sponsored displays in the park.
With the town moving in a positive direction, many citizens are wondering if he will seek election. “I’m retired,” he contended. He, however, never fully expressed his interest nor did he deny his intention to run. Time will tell!
We give our town, and our mayor an A+!