Leader Blues

Thursday, September 07, 2006

TOP STORY >>He'll stay in race despite attacks, Stumbaugh says

Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh says he is not worried that the recent report about his personnel record while an officer with the Little Rock Police Department will hurt his race for Congress. If anything, he believes the residents of Arkansas’ First District will see him as someone who has made mistakes but has tried to learn from them – someone like themselves.

The report in Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette chronicled Stumbaugh’s suspensions during his 15 years with the department for such infractions as wrecking patrol cars, failing to file the proper paperwork before taking an off-duty job, calling a radio talk-show while on duty and on the way to a call and using profane language to civilians.

But Stumbaugh says there was nothing in the article that he didn’t make public before the mayor’s race in 2002 and were the same incidents reported by The Leader at that time. None of the offenses were bad enough to be fired for and most occurred while he was in his 20s, he said. Now that it’s all out once again, there is nothing else of a personal nature that can be used against him in his race for Congress against Democrat Marion Berry.

“That’s all they’ve got,” said Stumbaugh, who will now have a Republican opponent in the race after Patrick D’Andrea, 43, a retired Marine who works as a juvenile probation officer for Lonoke County, said Tuesday that he will announce his candidacy on Friday.

Stumbaugh said that when he learned his personnel file had been requested under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act as it had been when he was running for mayor, he called the newspaper and volunteered other personal information, like the fact that he had filed bankruptcy when he was in his 20s and that he had been divorced twice. But that information, too, had been made public during the mayor’s race.

During that race, Stumbaugh learned that someone from former Cabot mayor Joe Allman’s camp had filed an FOI for his records and he responded by turning the file over to The Leader, which ran the information along with his comments much like the Democrat-Gazette did.

“It’s no big secret. I haven’t hid it,” he said. “I believe the voters of the First District have the right to know any mistakes I’ve made in my past, as well as my accomplishments,” Stumbaugh said in a prepared statement on Tuesday. “ “Being a good leader involves accepting responsibility for mistakes, and ensuring that the mistakes are not repeated. I acknowledge that I have made many mistakes in my life, and I accept full responsibility for them.

“I do not believe that these instances alone show what type of congressman I will be. My records also document numerous letters of commendation for volunteer efforts, providing professional assistance to people in need, and displaying professional courtesy.

“The voters of the First District have the right to know all of these things about me. I have nothing to hide. The bottom line is that while my life has not always been perfect, it has molded me into an effective leader, and I want to use this leadership to attract jobs to the First District, stabilize the farming industry, and get our kids off drugs.”

Stumbaugh said he believes his victory over Allman was partly the result of the information from his personnel file being released. It worked against Allman, and he believes it will work against Cong. Marion Berry, his Democratic opponent.
“I think people are going to see it for what it’s worth,” he said. “I’m going to stick to the issues.”