JONESBORO — Mayor Harold Perrin’s announcement last week that he won’t seek re-election took even top department heads by surprise.
But even though the mayor is out of state this week for medical reasons, Perrin remains in charge of Jonesboro’s city government, said Bill Campbell, the city’s communications director.
Campbell said Monday he expects the city will continue to operate smoothly in Perrin’s absence.
“He’s not a micromanager. He’s a want-to-knower,” Campbell said of the mayor’s management style. “That’s how he rolls. Some might disagree.”
Campbell said the main difference will be that Perrin won’t be working 18-hour days as mayor.
In the mayor’s absence, city council member Chris Moore, who serves as mayor pro tem, has signed some time-sensitive documents, and in the past few months, presided over council meetings in the mayor’s absence.
Perrin announced Wednesday in a press release he wouldn’t seek a fourth term for medical reasons.
“After consulting with medical professionals, family members and some close friends, I have decided most of my energies over the coming 3-5 months would be best spent focused on restoring my health,” Perrin said in the release. “I plan to continue in my capacity as mayor through the end of my term that ends December 31, 2020.”
The mayor has not disclosed details of his medical condition. Campbell said Perrin is at an out-of-state clinic for consultation. He will be out longer than normal because of added quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements.
In the meantime, departmental leaders will continue to handle most day-to-day decision, Campbell said.
“We’re trying not to bother him right now. He’s got bigger fish to fry,” Campbell said.
“He’ll be checking in on emails and making nighttime phone calls when he has obligations during the day,” Campbell said of the mayor. “I can’t imagine he won’t be clued in on some levels while he’s gone, just knowing him.”
So far, two people have announced their intention to seek the mayor’s position. Craighead County Judge Marvin Day announced Thursday he would be running. Andy Shatley, director of Sports Medicine at St. Bernards Medical Center, announced in May he would be a candidate.
The filing period for nonpartisan mayor-council elections begins at noon Wednesday and continues until noon on Aug. 5.
Candidates may file petitions of nomination, affidavit of eligibility and political practices pledge with the county clerk. The county clerk must determine whether the petition contains a sufficient number of qualified electors within 10 days.
In addition to the mayor, Jonesboro voters will elect a city clerk, city attorney and six of the 12 city council members.