June 2019

Mayors to Watch: Harold Perrin


While many Arkansans can recite their elected officials – especially the “household names,” which usually includes the governor, senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress – positions frequently forgotten, but so often responsible for our day-to-day well-being, are our city mayors. 

There are two types of mayoralty systems in the United States, council-manager and mayor-council.

In a council-manager system of local government, a mayor sits on the city council, often holding the chairperson position on that body. As with most city council members, mayors in this scenario usually only serve part-time and usually set the legislative agenda for the city they represent. Most of the full-time, day-to-day administration is left to the city manager.

Mayor-council systems feature separate branches for the mayor and city council, with the mayoralty holding executive privileges while the city council operates with legislative powers.

In an effort to shed some light on the work of several localized elected officials, AMP is profiling seven mayors from around the Natural State to watch.

by Dustin Jayroe and Jon Walker

Harold Perrin – Jonesboro

Mayor Harold Perrin is a lifelong public servant and hopes he has made the city of Jonesboro a better place because of it. 

Perrin is nearing the tail end of his third four-year term, making this the tenth year that he has led the city. Having first taken office after the financial crisis in 2009, Perrin was able to persevere and lead the city through one of the toughest circumstances it has ever been in; not just to bring things back to the status quo, but rather, make it stronger. 

Under Perrin’s leadership, Jonesboro has boasted a 15-percent population growth to more than 75,000 residents. Despite this influx of people and the recession he inherited, Jonesboro holds an unemployment rate that ranks near the lowest in the entire region, year after year. 

In 2017, GoBankRates.com ranked Jonesboro as the best place to earn a living in Arkansas, which is a credit to this stability infused growth for virtually all vocations. 

Additional noteworthy accomplishments of Jonesboro under Perrin are the city achieving a fire rating of 1 following the creation of new fire stations. 

The Miracle League Park was also created under Perrin, which is an American with Disabilities Act accessible complex with a baseball/softball field and a playground with 28 pieces of equipment for people with special needs. The rubberized ball field is the world’s largest for children and adults with physical disabilities. 

Prior to being elected mayor, Perrin served as the president of two major banks and principal of his own management consulting firm. He also served 15 years on the Jonesboro City Council and served several organizations, including the Arkansas State Board of Trustees, Delta Dental of Arkansas Board of Directors, Arkansas Industrial Developers, among many others. 

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