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No surprises on financial disclosure forms

If you’re expecting to see secrets and startling information, don’t waste your time thumbing through public disclosure forms city officials are required by law to file by Jan. 31 each year because there aren’t any in Maumelle.

In fact, had it not been for four new aldermen, most would look just like last year’s forms.

The forms detail where officials get their financial support whether its from an employer, government pension or living off investments.

They are also required to disclose any large gifts, gratuities, special rates on loans, who they owe and to whom.

If anything it was a surprise that around half of the officials don’t even list a home loan.

All city elected officials are required to file the financial statements annually with the City Clerk. Members of the city Public Service Commission and the Planning Commission are also required to file the statements as a requirement of state law to make the public aware of any potential conflicts of interest.

Mayor Mike Watson filed his report as he always does, under his complete name — Brodie Michael Watson and he listed his salary as mayor and his wife’s church minister’s assistant salary. Both were simply listed as greater than $12,500 by a checked mark.

Smaller amounts are listed only as more than $1,000.

Watson listed a self-directed Investment Retirement Account with Edward Jones and listed no other leadership positions in any business, firm or enterprise subject to jurisdiction of a regulatory agency of this state or any of its political subdivisions.

Watson is president of Metroplan — a joint city and county organization that acts on behalf of those same cities, towns and counties in primarily a planning capacity. But it is not a regulated organization.

He also lists no creditors, guarantor or co-makers of debt.

Unlike previous years where he listed duck hunts and hunting trips, this year Watson listed no gifts in 2012. The form requires disclosure of any gifts of more than $100 value by the officeholder and a spouse; and $250 by any dependent children.

All in all the forms make for very boring reading, in fact, Watson has joked in previous years that if you’re looking for a nighttime sleeping aid, pursuing these required form would fit the bill.

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