Exclusive: Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson Breaks His Silence

Exclusive: Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson Breaks His Silence

Jonesboro Leslie Thompson breaks his silence to talk about the legal issues he's facing and how the town he leads maybe getting some help in solving its financial problems.
JONESBORO -- The mayor of Jonesboro is speaking out after a few months away from the news cameras.

He's facing malfeasance charges by the state and is expected to go to court next month.

Mayor Leslie Thompson spoke exclusively to KTVE to answer how he's handling the legal issues he faces, a new website he's launched, and how the town may be getting help in solving it's financial problems.

Mayor Thompson said he has about six weeks to prepare for his trial on malfeasance charges, set to begin August 26.

"We believe in our opinion, that these charges are frivolous," said Thompson.

Now he's turning to social media for help, on a website called GoFundMe.com

"Where folks could actually make contributions to help offset the legal fees," he said.

He has set a goal of $60,000, so far he's raised $30.

He also touched on his pay raise -- which he says is a pay reinstatement.

"The council has the authority to invested in it to decide what the mayor's pay is going to be," he said. "They made that decision a couple of years ago. It's just that Jonesboro has had to fight for the right to do what other municipalities have had to do all the time."

Mayor Thompson says he's still trying to take care of his mayoral duties despite the legal issues.

"I can tell you as the mayor of Jonesboro that it's been somewhat difficult in these days trying to do what we are elected to do," he said.

He says the city has been trying to work around being on the state's non-compliance list for not having a completed audit in the past five years.

"It's been a very very great distraction to say the least to try to do these things during these times but fortunately for us, we've able to operate at a level that we feel proud of," he said.

He adds they still have a sewer project in the works as well as airport improvements.

Meanwhile, the state auditor says someone has agreed to be the new fiscal administrator but did not confirm who.

Town alderwoman Renee Stringer says she feels getting a fiscal administrator is necessary, since the former fiscal administrator William Ryder quit after just a few months.

"I think someone like [Ryder] with his capabilities to come on the scene and guide the town of Jonesboro would be a great thing," she said. "We have languished since he left."

The state auditor says the town will have to pay for the new administrator, and says, "they will have to "get their act together" to cover those expenses.

Mayor Thompson said, "We would like to clear the record that we're still talking about records being out of place, these things we have actually paid money to have CPA's to come in and help us to correct."

Overall, Mayor Thompson says he's ready to put the troubles behind the town.

"So at some point, we would hope that we would be able to get beyond this and i'm hoping that after we've had our day in court for the first time, we'll be able to go before a jury of our peers."

On Thursday, the state legislative audit committee is meeting for a brief update on the town.
After that, the attorney general must file a motion for a new fiscal administrator with a court, and have a judge sign off on it. Then, the town could see a new one in the next two weeks.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus