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PRAIRIE GROVE -- Mayor Sonny Hudson, who has worked with Larry Oelrich, first as a City Council member and then as mayor for 20 years, said Oelrich's value to the city can be described in simple terms: "He's just very good at what he does."

After working for Prairie Grove for more than 40 years, Oelrich knows the city better than anybody at this time, Hudson said.

"That knowledge is priceless."

Secondly, Hudson said, Oelrich is a very intelligent person.

"You can have all that knowledge of what has gone on in Prairie Grove but put someone with his expertise and capable of using those tools, and you have someone who has been a very big part of making this city become what it is today," Hudson added.

Oelrich has turned all that knowledge into something useful for the citizens of Prairie Grove, Hudson said.

In addition, the mayor pointed out Oelrich is respected by his peers and by city employees. He's been involved in committees and commissions outside Prairie Grove and has served as chairman and a board member for many of these organizations.

"He didn't just stay in this bubble," Hudson said. "He brought all these good things back."

Oelrich will work part-time for the city, starting in late June, and Hudson said his position title most likely will be administrative assistant. Hudson joked that Oelrich probably would prefer not to be called the "mayor's assistant."

In this role, Oelrich will help with administrative duties and planning activities, Hudson said. Oelrich also will be available, as needed, as a resource for Chuck Wiley, public works manager.

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