- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A Tontitown alderman has been found guilty of making a false statement on a petition verification form, and is in danger of losing her position on the City Council.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1ln1J1q ) reports 50-year-old Rhonda Doudna was convicted of improperly verifying signatures on a petition and fined $500 on Monday. She had faced up to six years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Doudna has said that she will appeal her conviction or ask for a new trial. According to Arkansas Municipal League executive director Don Zimmerman, someone with a felony conviction cannot run for or serve on the council.

Under Arkansas law, a petition containing signatures must be verified by the person who circulated the sheet of the petition.

Alderman Joe Edgmon and Richard and Sarah Russell said they signed petitions and Doudna wasn’t the person who collected their signatures April 28, 2014. Doudna said that she and another council member went to six homes the day of the reported violation, and they took turns going to doors to collect signatures.

According to Doudna, the petition eventually led to a referendum in which voters returned the city to second-class status.

Mayor Paul Colvin says the city government’s work is not likely to be affected by Doudna’s conviction. According to Lori Bolen, administrative assistant to the mayor, the council has not yet discussed Doudna’s conviction.

“I don’t have the ability to remove anybody nor do I have the ability to appoint anybody” said Colvin.

A message left by the newspaper for Tontitown’s city attorney was not returned Thursday.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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