Pine Bluff City Collector Albert Ridgell was suspended for five days without pay Friday by Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, who declined to specify a reason for the action but did say it was related to Ridgell’s work performance.

Pine Bluff City Collector Albert Ridgell was suspended for five days without pay Friday by Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, who declined to specify a reason for the action but did say it was related to Ridgell’s work performance.


A Little Rock resident, Ridgell was unavailable for comment. He has served as collector since June 2007 and receives an annual salary of $51,818.52.


Ridgell was fired by Hollingsworth on July 31 for what the mayor described as "unsatisfactory work performance that has been documented for some time now." Ridgell was reinstated by a 6-0 vote of the Pine Bluff City Council in a special called meeting on Aug. 23. A three-fourths majority of the eight-member council was needed to overturn Ridgell’s firing.


Alderwoman Thelma Walker said after the meeting that Ridgell had "taken abuse" from and been "disrespected" by Hollingsworth.


Since then, Ridgell had been regularly meeting with Hollingsworth, Human Resources Director Vickie Conaway and the mayor’s top aide, Evelyn Horton, to track his job performance goals.


Ridgell has been at the heart of controversy concerning a number of businesses being allowed to operate without active business licenses and without making timely payments of the city’s 2-percent hamburger tax.