Fall 2018 County Lines

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FALL 2018

The Official Publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties

County Lines

Legislative Leadership 2019

Page 30




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In This Issue FALL 2018

Features Benton County Circuit Clerk celebrates 30 years.........................24 Pulaski County turns 200 years old..............................................25 13 counties, AAC honored with INA digital awards....................26 Meet the legislative leadership for the 92nd session..............30 Meet the AAC policy team...............................................................32 How AAC forms its legislative package........................................33 AAC Legislative reception recap....................................................34 NACo approves 2019 legislative priorities..................................36 Federal human services policy in the 116th Congress..............37 First Net: Public Safety’s Network..................................................38 AAC Executive Director elected president of NCCAE..................62 Wall memorializes opioid victims.................................................42 Pulaski County Courthouses: Ornate Beauties............................44 Staff Profile: Kristina Farmer..........................................................56

Inside Look Collectors meet in Faulkner County...........................................47

Cover Notes: House Renovations

Assessors hold fall conference......................................................54 AAC hosts Guardian RFID user training.......................................49 Circuit Clerks meet in Saline County.............................................50 County Clerks gather in Garland County.......................................51 Treasurers honor retirees................................................................52 Judges hear topics such as ballot issues, infrastructure...........53 Coroners offer MDI course..............................................................54

Departments From the Director’s Desk...................................................................7 President’s Perspective.....................................................................9 From the Governor............................................................................11 Research Corner...............................................................................12 AG Opinions........................................................................................15 Governmental Affairs.......................................................................16 Legal Corner.......................................................................................18 Seems to Me..................................................................................... 20 Wellness and Safety.........................................................................24

(Cover photo by Holland Doran)

Left: After a decade-long process, the Arkansas House of Representatives unveiled the final phase of its House chamber renovation. The updated chamber, pictured above, includes new legislative desks constructed to match the original 1914 design, as well as new carpet, hearing impaired technology and a voting machine. Right: House Parliamentarian Buddy Johnson describes the renovations from the gallery. — Photos by Holland Doran





2019 Jan. 27-29 Sheriff’s Winter Conference Little Rock Marriott, Little Rock Feb. 3-5 Judge’s Winter Meeting Wyndham, North Little Rock Feb. 12-14 County Clerk’s Winter Meeting Hilton Garden Inn, Little Rock Feb. 19-21 Circuit Clerk’s Winter Meeting Hilton Garden Inn, Little Rock Feb. 20-22 Assessor’s Winter Meeting Wyndham, Little Rock Feb. 27-March 1 Treasurer’s Winter Meeting Hilton Garden Inn, Little Rock


Mission Statement: The Association of Arkansas Counties

he Association of Arkansas Counties supports and promotes the idea that all elected officials must have the opportunity to act together in order to solve mutual problems as a unified group. To further this goal, the Association of Arkansas Counties is committed to providing a single source of cooperative support and information for all counties and county and district officials. The overall purpose of the Association of Arkansas Counties is to work for the improvement of county government in the state of Arkansas. The Association accomplishes this purpose by providing legislative representation, on-site assistance, general research, training, various publications and conferences to assist county officials in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of their office.

Contact AAC

1415 West Third Street Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 372-7550 phone / (501) 372-0611 fax www.arcounties.org

Chris Villines, Executive Director cvillines@arcounties.org

Risk Management/ Workers’ Compensation

Anne Baker, Executive Assistant abaker@arcounties.org

Debbie Norman, Risk Mgmt. & Insurance Director dnorman@aacrms.com

Samantha Moore, Receptionist smoore@arcounties.org

Debbie Lakey, Workers’ Comp Claims Mgr. dlakey@aacrms.com

Mark Whitmore, Chief Legal Counsel mwhitmore@arcounties.org Colin Jorgensen, Litigation Counsel cjorgensen@arcounties.org Johnna Hoffman, Litigation Support Specialist jhoffman@arcounties.org Josh Curtis, Governmental Affairs Director jcurtis@arcounties.org Lindsey Bailey, Legal Counsel lbailey@arcounties.org Christy L. Smith, Communications Director csmith@arcounties.org Holland Doran, Communications Coordinator hdoran@arcounties.org

Karan Skarda, ACE Program Coordinator kskarda@arcounties.org

Calendar activities also are posted on our website:

www.arcounties.org 6

Cathy Perry, Admin. Asst./Claims Analyst cperry@aacrms.com Kim Nash, Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster knash@aacrms.com Renee Turner,Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster rturner@aacrms.com Riley Groover, Claims Analyst rgroover@aacrms.com Greg Hunt, Claims Analyst ghunt@aacrms.com Kim Mitchell, Administrative Assistant kmitchell@aacrms.com Karen Bell, Administrative Assistant kbell@aacrms.com Ellen Wood, Admin. Asst./Receptionist ewood@aacrms.com Brandy McAllister, RMS Counsel bmcallister@arcounties.org

Cindy Posey, Accountant cposey@arcounties.org

Becky Comet, Member Benefits Manager bcomet@arcounties.org

Mark Harrell, IT Manager mharrell@arcounties.org

Ed Piker, Loss Control Specialist epiker@arcounties.org



County Lines County Lines ([ISSN 2576-1137 (print) and ISSN 2576-1145 (online)] is the official publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties. It is published quarterly. For advertising inquiries, subscriptions or other information, please contact Christy L. Smith at 501.372.7550. Executive Director/Publisher Chris Villines Communications Director/ Managing Editor Christy L. Smith Communications Coordinator/ Editor Holland Doran

AAC Executive Board: Debbie Wise – President Brandon Ellison – Vice President Rhonda Cole – Secretary-Treasurer Jeanne Andrews Terri Harrison Debra Buckner Sandra Cawyer Kevin Cleghorn Terry McNatt Debbie Cross Brenda DeShields Ellen Foote Jimmy Hart Gerone Hobbs Marty Boyd John Montgomery Heather Stevens David Thompson National Association of Counties (NACo) Board Affiliations Debbie Wise: NACo board member. She is the Randolph County Circuit Clerk and president of the AAC Board of Directors. Brandon Ellison: NACo board member. He is the Pope County Judge and vice-president of the AAC Board of Directors. Ted Harden: Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee. He serves on the Jefferson County Quorum Court. David Hudson:Vice Chair of NACo’s Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Sebastian County Judge and member of the Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee. Barry Hyde: Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Pulaski County Judge. Gerone Hobbs: Membership Committee. He is the Pulaski County Coroner. Kade Holliday:Arts and Culture Committee and International Economic Development Task Force. He is the Craighead County Clerk. Paul Ellliot: Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He serves on the Pulaski County Quorum Court. Ellen Foote: Community, Economic & Workforce Development Steering Committee. She is the Crittenden County Tax Collector. Tawanna Brown:Telecommunications & Technology Steering Committe. She is the Crittenden County Chief Computer Operator.



Welcome to the best government — county government


ounty culture is changing. The delivery of this issue of County Lines is finding its way into the mailboxes of hundreds of new county and district Chris Villines officials. To those of you reading this magazine for AAC the first time, welcome to the adventure of county government. Executive Director You bring fresh ideas and new approaches to your jobs and in time you will build new successes on the shoulders of those who preceded you. Here at the AAC we recently wrapped up meeting most of you in our newly elected official training classes over a two-week period in Little Rock. After meeting most of you I find myself hopeful for our future, based largely in the servant hearts you exhibited while here. County government, in its purest form, is simply about serving your constituents the most effectively you can. And nobody is positioned better to know what needs to be done than all of you. I want to welcome you to the BEST level of government, I think you will find the work tireless but the reward incredible. My good friend, Gene Terry, recently retired as the Executive Director at the Texas Association of Counties. In his outgoing magazine column he penned the following: “…I realize that not much is wrong with counties. You govern well because you know how to do it right. You are so close to the people you serve you could not get away with doing it wrong, even if you tried. It’s time for your way to trickle up. Think of it this way, you know personally a larger percentage of the voters who voted for and against you in the last election than does any state representative or senator and certainly than does any member of Congress. You know them by first name and they know you. They chose you because they know you by first name, too. That is something special.” Gene articulated this point far better than I could. The fact that you serve so closely to those you represent is a blessing for hard-working county and district officials who want to do right. Your days of going into a local business or church undisturbed are over, but if you care and it shows in your jobs you will find those public conversations often enjoyable and your work appreciated. With a looming legislative session, this statement also addresses some dangerous assumptions that will find their way into bills at a state level. That assumption is that local government isn’t responsive, isn’t transparent and isn’t accountable. My friend Gene would tell you in his Texas drawl that this is “hogwash.” Nonetheless, we are already hearing of bills that erode local control, but ironically our legislature is full of folks who championed local control when running for office. The idea that at the county level you are incapable of making wise decisions that a parentstate would be better at would be laughable were it not a real danger. This is representative of a national pre-emption move that some other states have been dealing with. Some of the state-local wars in other states are epic, and the arguments over local control have ignited grass-roots fires where the people, who >>> 7



generally love their county officials, have fought back against restrictions put upon local government. We have one such example brewing in our state right now, and I want all of you to be aware. The Tax Reform Task Force recently put forward a list of ideas involving income and sales taxes in our state, but they largely left property taxes alone. Among this list of items would be a local sales taxing authority cap at 3 percent for county government. While it might sound good on the surface, consider a few things. First of all, many “county” sales taxes are split between the county and municipalities located within the county. Secondly, each of these sales taxes was passed by a local election … the majority of people in your county saw a need and were willing to tax themselves to fix a problem. Often these taxes were passed for the purposes of public health or safety, such as keeping a jail open or creating a local hospital. Thirdly, the most recent iterations of this bill would lump all sales taxes together to reach that cap, including Advertising and Promotion sales taxes, which might only be collected on alcohol or restaurant purchases. Many of your local residents understand that a 1 percent tax collected on food eaten at local restaurants only represents a small fraction of their annual spending and in reality equals far less than 1 percent in their annual budget. Local control is what this is all about. The ability for you as a county or district official to make wise decisions locally. And not the final decisions, at that. It’s about what you refer to the people who vote for or against sales taxes, ultimately taking away your constituents’ rights to decide their future. Collectively, you know the pulse of the people in your county. You know the county’s needs. And you know that the most powerful demonstration of democracy exists when people get the chance to go to the polls to decide their own fate. Gene Terry is spot-on in his column. Your constituents in your county are not sheep. They are smart people who make

sound decisions. After all, they voted for you. So I encourage you to watch for any other pre-emption measures that might erode your work at the best level of government — because you know your people don’t want to be shut out of making their own decisions. To close, I’d like to give a hearty congratulations to those county-wide officials who are embarking on the first fouryear terms in Arkansas counties. I think the implications for this are great, but I approach it from a slightly different angle. When I was elected in 1998 alongside a new county judge in Saline County, I watched closely to see how Judge Lanny Fite would operate. Judge (now state representative) Fite never treated his job like it might be over in two years. He began making longterm plans in the hope that he would be around long enough to see them through. A new airport was on the long list of items that took perseverance and stamina, and his planning ultimately saw its completion. He has been effective as a county judge and again as a representative. The point is this, that a short-term mindset eliminates vision. And two-year terms helped foster a short-term mindset. This is meant not just for you newly elected county officials, but for those returning to office as well — you have been given a golden opportunity to strategically plan for your next four years and beyond. Take advantage of this and spend some energy now reflecting on how your office can be made better over time. Warren Buffett once said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” You need to preserve the ability to plant those seeds without state government intervention, and you need the vision for where those trees need to be. Welcome to the fertile soil of county government my friends, and to Gene Terry, enjoy your retirement ride into the sunset.

Tell us your good news Here at the AAC we love the opportunity to visit the counties. We want to know about your celebrations, ground breakings, grand openings and more. Give us a shout, and we’ll do our best to be there. Also, let us know if an aspect of county government “made news” recently in your county. Or if your county officials or staff get an award, appointment or pat on the back. We want the whole state to know about your successes and accomplishments. We encourage you to email csmith@arcounties.org.





Public service is first and foremost


he elections are over and for so many successful candidates it is time to get to the peoples’ business. Once elected, it ceases to be about “you,” and partisan politics must be cast aside so we can focus on doing the best job for our counties. It’s more important than ever to be a team player because, regardless of party or position held, we make city, county, state — even national — government work. For those taking office for the first time, the knowledge and details of your role will come. Please reach out to your more tenured colleagues in nearby counties if you have questions or challenges. But what really matters is how and why you serve. I truly believe public service to be a noble profession. It takes selflessness and humility to serve the public. As I sat captivated, watching the funeral services for former President George H.W. Bush in December, every speaker referred to his tireless dedication to public service and to the legacy he will leave. For a period of time partisan politics were cast aside. Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming spoke of Bush’s decision to sign a bipartisan budget deal in 1990 that included

tax increases, a move that sealed his fate as a one-term president. Simpson said Bush would often say, “When the really tough choices come ... it’s not about Democrats or Republicans. It’s for our country that I fought for.” DEBBIE WISE The same can be said for county AAC Board President; and district officials: “When the Randolph County Circuit Clerk really tough choices come … it’s not about Democrats or Republicans. It’s for the betterment of our counties.” So I leave you to dwell on these words: humility, integrity, leadership, courage, dignity, and honor. All of those words were used to describe Bush. We should all strive to serve as he did. And, as former President Barack Obama noted, stand as examples “to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling.”

Debbie Wise Randolph County Circuit Clerk / AAC Board President

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have always considered myself a Healthy Active Arkansan, and that is why I am pleased that my administration launched Healthy Active Arkansas, the 10-year campaign to reduce the rate of obesity in our state and to increase healthy lifestyles. Healthy Active Arkansas offers encouragement for Arkansans to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise. Healthy Active Arkansas promotes a variety of good-health initiatives, from campaigns that encourage Arkansans to drink more water to support for private breast-feeding areas at public venues. The Arkansas Department of Health is another partner in our effort to encourage healthy lifestyles. The department recently announced a new program called Be Well Arkansas. This new initiative offers telephone counseling with a focus on tobacco use, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. The website offers specific guidelines to create plans to improve health, including a plan to quit smoking. The counselors, who have been trained through an MD Anderson program, provide over-the-phone tobacco and nicotine cessation services. They also offer counseling for managing diabetes and controlling blood pressure. Programs that help tobacco users stop using tobacco in any form are especially important as the number of teenagers who use e-cigarettes has increased from less than 2 percent in 2010 to almost 20 percent. E-cigarettes are not harmless, and experts have said that one risk is that e-cigarettes break down the fear of tobacco cigarettes. Aside from the threat to the health of young Arkansans, the health-related illnesses cost Arkansas billions of dollars in medical bills and insurance payments.

Obesity and diabetes are two of the other conditions of most concern. The health department has a lifestyle counselor in every region of the state to answer questions and to help you create a plan to improve your health. One aspect of good health is to Hon. ASA HuTCHINSON stay active. No matter how busy Governor of Arkansas you are with your job or your children, you ought to find time for physical activity. Anyone can make time for a brisk 20-minute walk three or four days a week. My schedule doesn’t allow much time for exercise, so I have to make a serious effort to fit it in. My routine is 30 minutes of daily workout that includes 100 jumping jacks and sit ups. And I try to have some fun along the way, so I play full-court pickup basketball once a week. Even when I’ve traveled internationally, I’ve managed to work in some basketball. The state of our health ultimately is up to each of us. But in Arkansas, we like to guide Arkansans to a healthy lifestyle. I commend the Department of Health for launching Be Well Arkansas.

Asa Hutchinson The Honorable Asa Hutchinson Governor of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson proudly unveiled a new sculpture, Rain of Faith, at the Governor’s Mansion on Nov. 14, 2018. The 8-foot tall stainless steel sculpture was handcrafted by Ryan T. Schmidt The mansion was already elegantly decorated for Christmas, as the Governor and First Lady hosted the annual Open House on Dec. 2, 2018. Each room was adorned with greenery, Christmas trees, angels, nativity scenes, nutcrackers, Santa Claus, and more.

— Photo courtesy of Governor’s Office COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



RESEARCH CORNER Clarifying civil offices Story by Mark Whitmore AAC Chief Legal Counsel

& Blake Gary


AAC Law Clerk

n avid reader of the County Lines magazine may recall an article from the Winter 2017 issue entitled “Exploring the Ways Issue 1 Amends the State Constitution” written by former AAC law clerk Sarah Giammo.1 As discussed in the article, Arkansans approved Issue 1 with 70.22 percent voting yes in the 2016 November General Election, resulting in the 95th amendment to the Arkansas Constitution of 1874. Sen. Bryan King, along with Rep. Jack Ladyman and Rep. David Branscum, were sponsors of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 5, House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1027, and HJR 1006, respectively, that became Amendment 95. The passage of Issue 1 made four changes to the Arkansas Constitution. First, it extended the length of terms for county officials from two years to four years. Second, it established the civil office provision for county officials. Third, it defined “infamous crime” for the purposes of determining who is eligible to run for or continue to hold an elected position. Finally, it allowed candidates who are unopposed to be elected without their name appearing on the ballot. As mentioned above, one of the ways Issue 1 amended the state constitution was by adding a civil office provision for county officials. Amendment 95 amended Article 7 of the Arkansas Constitution to add section 53 which reads, “A person elected or appointed to any of the following county offices shall not, during the term for which he or she has been elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office in this state: (1) County judge; (2) Justice of the Peace; (3) Sheriff; (4) Circuit clerk; (5) County clerk; (6) Assessor; (7) Coroner; (8) Treasurer; (9) County surveyor; or (10) collector of taxes. Despite the subject and style change, Article 7, section 53 now reads like Article 5, section 10, a similar provision placed on sitting legislators that states, “No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he shall have been elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office under this State.” However, the drafters of both provisions declined to define the term “civil office,” leaving the interpretation up to the courts. In an effort to clear the haziness of civil offices, Sen. King requested an opinion of the Attorney General in March of 2017 on which particular appointments or elective positions a county official or justice of the peace might legally hold.2 While the Attorney General did not make a determination as to the 23 specific boards or commissions in question, she did shed light 12

and provided guidance on the prevailing law of what constitutes a “civil office” in the context of Article 5, Section 10.3 The Attorney General opined that the corpus of law used to make civil office determinations under Article 5, § 10 should be equally applicable to the provisions of Article 7, Section 53.4 The Attorney General also provided certain indicia of a civil office including, but not limited to: (1) the duty of the office is a continuing one; (2) the public office is defined by rules prescribed by government and not by contract; (3) the individual is appointed by government to perform; (4) the office is created by law; (5) the tenure, compensation, and duties of the position is fixed by law; (6) the public office requires the taking of an oath of office, the receipt of a formal commission, and the taking of a bond.5 In early October of 2017, five legislators, Rep. Mike Holcomb,6 Rep. Sarah Capps 7, Rep. Lanny Fite 8, Rep. Kim Hammer 9, and Rep. John Maddox10, each requested an opinion from the Attorney General asking: (1) whether certain boards and commissions were “civil offices” under Article 5, section 10 and (2) if so, whether the boards and commissions would also be considered “civil offices” under Article 7, section 53. Collectively, the representatives inquired about 33 different positions. The Attorney General opined on which boards and commissions she believed were and were not “civil offices”. However, legislation is needed to clarify three issues: (1) whether a county official could run and be elected to a civil office during their current term; (2) whether a county official may be appointed to a position on an advisory board; and (3) whether a county official holds a civil office when state law requires their presence on the board. First, the plain language of Article 7, section 53 states in relevant part, “a person elected or appointed to any of the following county offices shall not, during the term for which he or she has been elected be appointed or elected to any civil office.” Based on the language of this provision, it might appear that a county official would be prohibited from running and being elected to their own position because the language states a county official cannot be elected to a civil office during the term they are serving. The language of Article 7, section 53 was meant to replicate the language in Article 5, section 10, however, the language of Article 5, section 10 was originally drafted when legislators took office the day they were elected in November. Today, county11 officials are elected in November, but do not begin their term until January. Second, as the leaders of county government, county officials are often appointed to boards or commissions that are meant to advise certain individuals and entities such as the Governor, the General Assembly, and state agencies. If an advisory board is deemed to be a civil office, it not only puts the Governor or COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

AAC the General Assembly in a bind by not being able to appoint a county official to the position, but it also excludes proper representation of county government. Finally, state statutes require many county officials to serve on certain boards, such as intergovernmental cooperation councils, county equalization boards, and the State Board of Election Commissioners. In these situations, the Attorney General has recently opined that it is more likely that the legislature has simply added duties to the county official more than it has created an additional civil office for the official to hold.12 In preparation for the upcoming legislative session, the Association of Arkansas Counties has drafted legislation sponsored by Rep. Holcomb to clarify the issues mentioned above. First and foremost, the bill clarifies that county officials can actually be elected to a civil office during their term. In reference to Article 5, Section 10, the Arkansas Supreme Court has previously held the provision relates to the tenure, or the actual term of the office.13 For example, a County Judge may be elected state representative on November 6 (during his term as County Judge), but he does not hold two civil offices. The County Judge finishes the year out as County Judge and begins the new year as a state


representative. Next, the bill codifies 18 positions that have been deemed by the courts and opined by the Attorney General to be civil offices. Codifying these positions will allow anyone to look up the statute to determine if a position constitutes a civil office and determine whether Article 7, Section 53 is implicated. It is important to note, some courts have held that Article 7, Section 53 only prohibits a sitting county official from being appointed or elected to another civil office, it does not prohibit a person who holds a civil office from being appointed or elected to a county position or as a justice of the peace. The bill also clarifies that a civil office does not include a position that a county of14 ficial may be appointed to on an advisory board, administrative board, or task force. This will allow county officials to continue to be appointed to positions that advise the Governor or General Assembly to allow proper representation of county government. Finally, the bill clarifies that a civil office does not include15a position that a county official is required to serve by law. As mentioned above, the Attorney General has opined that when the legislature enacts a statute requiring a county official to be on a board, the intent is not to put them in another civil office, but

1. Sarah Giammo, Exploring the ways Issue 1 amends the state Constitution, http://content.yudu.com/libraryHtml/A42t4c/ Winter2017 CountyLines/reader.html?page=14 (last visited Nov. 19, 2018). 2. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-028 (2017). 3. See generally Wood v. Miller, 154 Ark. at 322-23 (1922) (“A civil office is a grant of possession of the sovereign power.”); Harvey v. Ridgeway, 248 Ark. 35, 46, 450 S.W.2d 281, 287 (1970) (“We are of the opinion that the phrase ‘any civil office under this State’ refers to an office created by civil law within one of the only three branches of government provided for under the present Constitution of this state.”). 4. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-028 (2017). 5. E.g., Lucas v. Futrall, 84 Ark. 540, 106 S.W. 667 (1907) (“Where an office is created, the law usually fixes the compensation, prescribes its duties, and requires that the appointee shall give a bond with sureties for the faithful performance of the service required.” (quoting Hall v. Wisconsin, 103 U.S. 5, 26 (1880))); Haynes v. Riales, 226 Ark. 370, 290 S.W.2d 7 (1956) (“Briefly stated, a position is a public office when it is created by law, with duties cast on the incumbent which involve some portion of the sovereign power and in the performance of which the public is concerned, and which also are continuing in their nature and not occasional or intermittent; while a public employment, on the other hand, is a position in the public service which lacks sufficient of the foregoing elements or characteristics to make it an office.” (quoting Bean v. Humphrey, 223 Ark. 118, 264 S.W.2d 607, 609 (1954))); Martindale v. Honey, 259 Ark. 416, 533 S.W.2d 198 (1976). 6. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-114 (2018) (opining that directors of a County Soil Conservation Board and members of certain public facilities boards hold civil offices). 7. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-112 (2018) (opining that county election commissioners, members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, members of the Board of Trustees of Southern Arkansas University, members of local School Boards, members of the State Board of Career Education, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, and city police officers hold civil offices); see also, Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2011-123 (2011) (opining that police officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are officers for purposes of the constitution); Hensley v. Holder, 228 Ark. 401, 307 S.W.2d 794 (1957) (identifying a sheriff deputy as an officer and not as an employee); Starnes v. Sadler, 237 Ark. 325, 372 S.W.2d 585 (1963) (holding a member of the General Assembly cannot serve as a member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles during the term he is serving in the General Assembly). 8. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-116 (2018) (opining commissioners of rural water boards or regional water boards, waterworks and public sewers facilities boards, airport commissions, the Arkansas Fire Protection Service Board, county hospital boards, county or district boards of health, and levee boards or levee improvement district boards are likely civil offices). 9. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-115 (2018); See also Maddox v. State, 220 Ark. 762, 249 S.W.2d 972 (1952) (holding a school teacher whose tenure, compensation, and duties all fixed by his contract with the school boards is an employee rather than an officer and holding that a superintendent of a small school district is not a civil office); Haynes v. Riales, 226 Ark. 370, 290 See “CIVIL OFFICE” on Page 14 > > > COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018





Continued From Page 13


S.W2d 7 (1956) (An auditor for the Arkansas Burial Association Board is a contracted employee, not a civil office); and Harvey v. Ridgeway, 248 Ark. 35, 450 S.W.2d 281 (1970) (holding a delegate to a constitutional convention is not a civil officer because the delegate would not be serving within one of the three branches of government). 10. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-104 (2018) (opining that Ark. Code Ann. § 14-27-101 – 104, which created County Intergovernmental Cooperation Councils, and Ark. Code Ann. § 14-2-305, which created the Electronic Recording Commission, are not civil offices and merely impose additional duties on the elected county officials required to serve on these commissions). 11. Ark. Const. of 1874, art. V, § 16 (repealed 2014). When Article 5, section 10 was adopted, Article 5, section 16 stated in relevant part, “the term of all members of the General Assembly shall begin on the day of their election. 12. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-028 (2017). 13. Compare Johnson v. Darnell, 220 Ark. 625, 630, 249 S.W.2d 5, 8 (Ark. 1952), (holding that a state representative, whose term ended on January 1, 1951, did not violated Article 5, section 10 by running for and being elected as municipal judge for a term that would begin on January 1, 1951), with, Jones v. Duckett, 234 Ark. 990, 992, 356 S.W.2d 5,6 (Ark. 1962) (holding that even though Senator Jones lost in the primary election, his term as senator did not expire until January 1, 1961, thus he could not hold another civil office until his term as senator expired) 14. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-114 (2017) and Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-116 (2017) (inferring that advisory boards are not “civil offices” by mentioning that the specific duties of a civil office go beyond the scope of an advisory role). 15. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. 2017-028 (2017) (opining that a county clerk’s service as secretary of his or her county’s property tax assessment equalization board had few, if any, of the indicial described to be a “civil office” and it appeared that the legislature simply added duties for the county clerk along with those already prescribed by law); see also Sparling v. Refunding Board, 189 Ark. 189 (1934) (rejecting a challenge to the “Refunding Board”, which consisted of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, treasurer of state, secretary of state, state auditor, Attorney General, and state bank commissioner, and holding that the members of the refunding board are not holding or performing the duties of more than one office, but only performing additional duties imposed by the act on the holders of the respective offices).





AG Opinions: From conceal carry to ID photos in personnel files AG OPINION NO. 2018-045 The AG was asked whether the privileges of the enhanced version of the Arkansas conceal carry law extends to retired law enforcement officers. The AG explained that the answer is yes, if the retired officer qualifies under Ark. Code §12-15-202(b)(1) which provides: A concealed handgun may be carried by any retired law enforcement officer or retired auxiliary law enforcement officer acting as a retired auxiliary law enforcement officer who: (a) Retired in good standing from service with a public law enforcement department, office, or agency for reasons other than mental disability; (b) Immediately before retirement was a certified law enforcement officer authorized by a public law enforcement department, office, or agency to carry a firearm in the course and scope of his or her duties; (c) Is carrying appropriate written photographic identification issued by a public law enforcement department, office, or agency identifying him or her as a retired and former certified law enforcement officer; (d) Is not otherwise prohibited under federal law from receiving or possessing a firearm; (e) Has fingerprint impressions on file with the system together with written authorization for state and national

level criminal history record screening; (f ) During the most recent twelvemonth period has met, at the expense of the retired law enforcement officer, the standards of this state for training and qualification for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms; (g) Before his or her retirement, worked or was employed as a law enforcement officer or acted as an auxiliary law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 10 years or more; and (h) Is not under the influence of or consuming alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance. The AG explained that a retired law enforcement officer who qualifies under Ark. Code §12-15-202(b) may carry a concealed handgun in the same locations and subject to the same limitations as the conceal-carry licensee.

AG OPINION NO. 2018-125 & NOS. {2018-126; 2018-127; 2018-128; 2018-129; and 2018-130} The AG was asked whether the identification photograph within the personnel file of various local government employees was subject to release under the FOIA. The main opinion, 2018125, and progeny opinions conclude the city was proper in releasing the photographs of their employees. The AG determined that photographs depicting public employees are generally

to be released under the FOIA. The custodian’s Mark Whitmore decision to AAC Chief Counsel release the photographs was proper. The AG noted that the requestor’s motive for making the request is generally irrelevant to whether the record must be released. Under current Arkansas law, the test for the release of personnel records is without consideration over the subjective motives or identity of the requester. The AG noted some records may be withheld if there is an unwarranted invasion of privacy that outweighs the public interests. The AG noted that some records may be subject to release but that redaction of the following is indicated: personal contact information of employees, including personal telephone numbers, personal email addresses and home addresses; employee personnel number; marital status of employee and information about dependents; date of birth of employee; social security number; medical information; any information identifying undercover law enforcement officers; driver’s license and driver license number; insurance coverage; tax withholding information; payroll deductions; and banking information.

75 Counties - One Voice COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018




This graphic shows how a 9-1-1 call is routed through the system. Source: Based on GAO analysis of public safety industry documents. GAO-18252

Where we stand with 9-1-1 reform Story by Josh CURTIS AAC Governmental Affairs Director

& Blake Gary


AAC Law Clerk

wo years ago, County Lines magazine published an article on the current environment of Arkansas’s 9-1-1 system and the need to perform a study that outlines the inefficiencies and provide solutions to move toward Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911). The article highlighted many deficiencies the current system faces. For example, in 2015, the 65-cent user fee levied on cell phones each month generated $18,957,120.76, and the revenue generated from wireline phones totaled $7,390,852.52. While this sounds like a lot of money, the counties and cities had to supplement an additional $20,821,055.76 to provide minimal 9-1-1 services. During the 2017 legislative session, two bills were passed regarding Arkansas’ 9-1-1 systems. First, a moratorium on public safety answering points (PSAPs) was passed to restrict the creation of any new PSAPs until July 1, 2020. Second, the legislature enacted Act 785, which appropriated $200,000 to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM). Special language was included in the Act to give ADEM the authority to accept funds from non-state entities for expenses 16

of evaluating and studying 9-1-1 and emergency communication. The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) and Arkansas Municipal League(ARML) were prepared to allocate $50,000 for the purpose of conducting a study on Arkansas’ 9-1-1 system. However, ADEM Director A.J. Gary was able to touch base with the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), a sub-department of the Department of Homeland Security, to come to Arkansas and conduct a professional study for free. On Nov. 13-14, 2017, a group of 911 stakeholders consisting of a county judge, a city manager, law enforcement, 911 telecommunicators, Office of Emergency Management directors, ADEM, and AAC met at ADEM for a two-day workshop with the OEC consultants. The idea of the workshop was to discuss current 9-1-1 problems in Arkansas and develop an Arkansas State 9-1-1 plan containing solutions to make the system more efficient. During this workshop, the stakeholders developed a series of goals to accomplish throughout the following months to find efficiencies and, most importantly, find a way for Arkansas to get to the next generation technology (NG911). From November to April of 2017, the stakeholders held bimonthly conference calls to keep everyone updated on the progress made and continued to receive input for the Arkansas State 9-1-1 plan. Finally, on April 16, 2017, the stakeholders met again at ADEM to finalize the plan. The plan includes four main pillars for 9-1-1 transformation. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

AAC First, the state of Arkansas has to bring 9-1-1 infrastructure into the 21st century. This will be done by transitioning from the copper wire legacy system to an IP based NG911 system. 9-1-1 in Arkansas has to be able to adapt to new technology that runs off an IP based system. Most of the equipment used for 9-1-1 is already NG911 compatible but doesn’t have the infrastructure to connect to. Second, every state that has implemented NG911 has had some entity leading the implementation. This could be a state agency or a statewide 9-1-1 board with authority to assist PSAPs in 9-1-1 reform. The board is paramount for many reasons, including applying for federal grants. Recently, Arkansas lost out on federal dollars because of the lack of 9-1-1 leadership and coordination that a board would provide. Third, consolidation is an important piece of 9-1-1 transformation. Arkansas has too many PSAPs compared to other states, and funding over a hundred PSAPs is inefficient and not sustainable. Consolidation has to happen for safety reasons as well. Transferring 911 calls from one PSAP to another takes away precious time that could be used getting the caller the help they need. The final pillar is funding. 9-1-1 has lacked funding since the evolution of mobile devices. Counties and cities are supplementing $25 million a year for 9-1-1. This is money that comes from the general fund that is needed for everyday operations mandated by the state. The user fee in Arkansas is one of the lowest in the country and should be increased to provide consistent services across the state.

Spreading the Word

With the plan finalized, the time came to discuss and share information with state and local leaders. The Arkansas State 9-1-1 Plan was first introduced to the legislature in the Joint Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. By the end of the committee meeting the legislators had many questions but were generally accepting that 9-1-1 needs an upgrade and that counties need more money to operate. Shortly after, on June 7, 2018, the County Judges of Arkansas Association (CJAA) passed a resolution in support of 9-1-1 reform. The judges voted unanimously to give their full support for 9-1-1 legislation, which would accomplish this. During the annual AAC conference in Rogers last summer, the House and Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committees met together for a joint meeting. Once again the plan was introduced, and we articulated the issues local jurisdictions are having with 9-1-1 funding and outlined solutions for making 9-1-1 more efficient and more reliable. A timeline of events has occurred since. On Sept. 5, 2018, a handful of county judges met with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson at the Governor’s mansion. The Judges conveyed the same problems and concerns with 9-1-1 to the Governor as they did with legislators. Throughout this process, word began to spread that the AAC was working on COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018


legislation for 9-1-1 reform and informing our local leaders on the problem. Many local 9-1-1 boards and 9-1-1 telecommunicators wanted us to visit their PSAP and discuss the future of 9-1-1. In one case, Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin invited us to meet with the Lonoke County 9-1-1 Board on Sept. 6, 2018. The board discussed the viability of consolidating the six PSAPs serving Lonoke County. After presenting the CJAA’s resolution, Cabot Mayor Bill Sybert, unsolicited, made a motion to support the resolution and the board passed it unanimously. On Sept. 24, 2018, after visiting with the sheriffs about 9-1-1 problems and the route the judges wanted to take, the Arkansas Sheriffs Association (ASA) also voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of 9-1-1 reformation. A few days later, Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon, ADEM Director A.J. Gary, and I had the opportunity to attend the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police conference to discuss the plan and the positive impact it would have on all law enforcement. After meeting with many professional stakeholders and hearing many failures of the current 9-1-1 system, one thing we can all agree on is 9-1-1 is in need of a total transformation. The Joint City, County, and Local Committee invited ADEM, Emergency Telephone Services Board (ETSB), Arkansas Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the AAC to present the 9-1-1 transformation plan. On Oct. 11, 2018, ADEM Director A.J. Gary, Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon, ETSB Administrator Renee Hoover, State GIS Officer Shelby Johnson, Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright, and myself testified on the need for 9-1-1 reform. The committee generally agreed 9-1-1 needs to be converted to Next Generation 9-1-1. The legislators also liked the idea of a state board coordinating the implementation. Most of the debate came from the consolidation and funding portions of the plan. Every member of the committee concurred that over 100 PSAPs are too many. But what is the correct amount? ADEM Director Gary said we could reduce the number of PSAPs to one per county with a few exceptions. We even told the committee that there are a few Arkansas counties working on consolidation plans. Since the first committee meeting, many legislators have expressed interest in 9-1-1 transformation. They are asking more questions and wanting to learn more about the details involved in the reform. We have been to a total of five legislative committee meetings to present the plan and to answer questions. Sometimes what gets lost in all the technical aspects of 9-1-1 is what we are really trying to accomplish. The CJAA and ASA, as well as many other stakeholders groups, are striving for effective emergency communications all Arkansans can be confident in. Arkansas must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with all 17



U.S. Supreme Court cases of interest in the 2018-2019 term


ct. 1, 2018 marked the beginning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 term, the first without former Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, often a swing-vote in key decisions, was replaced by an expectedly more conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This is the second change in the makeup of the court in the last two years, with Justice Neil Gorsuch being appointed to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia in April 2017. This article will provide a brief synopsis of some key cases the Court has already granted or is expected to grant review during this term. • The American Legion v. American Humanist Ass’n/ Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Comm’n v. American Humanist Ass’n — In this case the Court will address religiously-associated displays on government property, an issue with widely inconsistent rulings across the country. This case involves a 40-foot, 93-year old memorial in the shape of a cross dedicated to those who died in World War I located at a three-way intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland. The Fourth Circuit ruled that the cross, due to its size and prominence did violate the First Amendment’s prohibition against the establishment of a state religion. The Court will hear this case and provide some much-needed clarity to the issue of when and how religiously-affiliated displays may and may not be placed on government-owned properties. • Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — In 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated over 1,500 acres of land in Louisiana owned by Weyerhaeuser and others as “critical habitat” for the endangered dusty gopher frog, although the area had not been inhabited by the frogs for decades, and in fact, would not be a viable habitat for the species without numerous costly restorations. The Endangered Species Act allows designation as “critical habitat,” even if the area is not inhabited by a species if it is deemed “essential to the conservation of the species.” The “critical habitat” designation comes with federal regulations and restrictions that would inhibit the landowners’ plans for the commercial and residential development of their property, as well as cost up to an estimated $34 million to make the changes necessary for a suitable habitat for the species. The landowners ask the Supreme Court to rule that the Act does not allow for privately-owned land to be designated as “critical habitat” when it is neither currently habitat for a species 18

nor essential to the species’ conservation. • Knick v. Township of Scott, PA — The Township passed an ordinance requiring all property that is used as a cemLINDSEY BAILEY etery, whether private or pubGeneral Counsel lic, to be open and accessible to the public in the daytime. It allowed enforcement agents to enter property to inspect whether a cemetery exists, and to charge up to $600 in fines for violations. Agents entered Knick’s property and found what they believed to be grave markers, and issued her a notice of violation of the ordinance. Knick filed a complaint in state court for the unlawful taking of her property, but the state court refused to rule since she had not initiated an inverse-condemnation proceeding against the Township. Federal Courts also refused to hear her claims that the ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure for lack of standing and ripeness. Knick now asks the Court to overrule precedent set in Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank in 1985, that property owners must exhaust state remedies before a federal constitutional claim may be heard in federal court. • Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren — The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 placed authority over nuclear radiological safety with the federal government, with states being free to regulate other nuclear power-related activities. In 1982, Virginia banned uranium mining while health and safety studies were conducted. Virginia Uranium argues that the state’s ban on mining is preempted by the 1946 Act’s designation of authority over radiological safety concerns to the federal government. Lower courts have upheld the state’s ban, and Virginia Uranium asks the Supreme Court to rule that the 1946 Act preempts Virginia’s state laws related to radiological safety. • Gundy v. United States — Article I of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress all federal legislative power and prohibits the delegation of legislative functions to the Executive branch. Exceptions have been upheld so long as Congress provides a guiding “intelligible principle” for the agency to exercise its discretion. When Congress passed the Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act (SORNA) in 2006, it delegated to the Attorney General’s office the authority to determine whether and how to apply the registration requirements to SORNA COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

AAC retroactively to those convicted of sex offenses before SORNA was passed. Gundy is a sex offender convicted before the passage of SORNA who was charged with failing to register as a sex offender upon his release in 2012. Gundy argues that Congress’s delegation of authority to the Attorney General of whether and how to apply SORNA retroactively was a delegation of legislative power to an executive office in violation of Article I. • Timbs v. Indiana — While the Bill of Rights originally protected U.S. citizens from actions of the federal government, since the 1920s the Court has found certain amendments also apply against state governments through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, including the rights to free speech/exercise of religion, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, prohibiting the taking of property without just compensation, and freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Court has never ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines applies to the states. Timbs pleaded guilty to dealing heroin, a charge with possible fines of up to $10,000. The court ordered that he pay $1,200 in court costs, but no fines. Indiana has sought the civil forfeiture of Timbs’ Land Rover valued around $40,000. Timbs asks the Court to find that the forfeiture would be “grossly disproportionate” to the fine the court could have imposed, and prohibit the forfeiture by applying the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment against the state. • Gamble v. United States – The Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against Double Jeopardy does not allow any person to be tried twice for the same offense, but in 1959, the Court found that since states and federal government are separately sovereign, this prohibition does not apply to charges for the same offense brought by state and federal governments separately. Gamble, a felon charged with possession of a handgun was sentenced to one year by the state and 46 months plus three years’ probation un-



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der a federal charge. Gamble argues to the Court that his dual convictions violate the original intent of the Double Jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. • There are a couple of other cases worth noting that have pending petitions of certiorari filed with the Supreme Court, that are likely to be heard this term. Andersen v. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri/Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast are consolidated cases coming from the Fifth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, both addressing the issue of whether a state terminating their Medicaid agreements with Planned Parenthood is a violation of an individual’s right to choose their own healthcare provider. In the Eighth Circuit, the court upheld Arkansas’s cancellation of their agreement with Planned Parenthood, concluding that federal Medicaid law created no individual entitlement that is enforceable in court, and that it was not clear that an individual has the right to challenge a state’s disqualification of a health provider. The courts in the Fifth and Tenth Circuit disagreed, holding that federal Medicaid law requires states to allow Medicaid recipients to choose their healthcare providers. The split circuits make this case likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court. • Second, the Court is likely to hear arguments in Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda. This is another split circuit case, with the issue being whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from employer discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII protects employees from employer discrimination based on gender stereotyping. The courts in the Seventh and Second Circuit Courts of Appeal have ruled that gender-stereotyping and sexual-orientation discrimination should be treated similarly, both prohibited types of employer-discrimination. However, the Eleventh Circuit reached the opposite conclusion. The split circuits make this a likely case for the Supreme Court to consider.

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SEEMS TO ME ... Seize the Day

As adults and public servants we should be able to talk plainly and be understood.

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings — and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.”


hese lines were written almost 150 years ago by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. Well, it was actually a narrative poem within that book called The Walrus and the Carpenter and recited by none other than Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Lewis Carroll was known for his facility of word play, logic and fantasy. This article may seem just as discombobulated as the poem, but I trust I can make my point. While I generally have disdain toward “politically correct” terms, I’m going to embrace one term before I depart this keyboard albeit in an unorthodox way. But not before deriding the over use of political correctness — at least by some. The term “politically correct” entered the general vernacular of the American populous 30 to 35 years ago. However, the first known use of the term goes all the way back to 1934. Over the years it has taken on increasingly more meaning and intensity. Politically correct was introduced so as to not offend anyone in a multicultural society, and we have simply taken it to the extremes for no good reason. For fear of offending someone, it has become almost impossible to say what we really want to say or what we’re thinking — at least in terms that most of us would understand. When we have to ask ourselves, “What did he or she actually say or mean ... that’s usually when being “politically correct” has gone too far. You suddenly realize we have taken this “politeness” too far when authors start writing books actually making fun or satirizing the overdone practice. James Finn Garner has actually written Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. In this redo of 14 timeless fairy tales, James reworked them to become relevant fables for more modern times. These hilarious adaptations satirize and sanitize the sexist, racist, nationalist, and ageist biases of classic bedtime stories. Familiar exploits of beloved characters are related from a respectful, prejudice-free perspective: the Emperor is no longer naked in his new clothes but “is endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle.” Snow White escapes to the cottage of “seven vertically-challenged men.” And Goldilocks is “an ambitious scientist studying anthropomorphic bears.” Garner has taken time-tested tales and retold them with the “newfound sensitivity of our times.” Here is a snippet from Little Red Riding Hood. 20

In the scene where the wolf grabs Little Red Riding Hood and the woodchopper bursts into the cottage the story goes Eddie A. Jones like this: “Hands off!” cried the woodCounty Consultant chopper. “And what do you think you’re doing?” cried Little Red Riding Hood. “If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self-esteem and lower achievement scores on my college entrance exam.” I know these examples are extreme and even meant to be funny, but give me a break. Why can’t we say what we need to say to convey our message? It saves a lot of time and is much easier to understand. The arena of politics is probably the worst when it comes to the overuse of political correctness. If there is any arena where we should be plain and forthright it is in the arena of government and politics, where everyone is affected in one way or another. And there should be no doubt about what was said or done. That, of course, does not mean that we should be mean, combative, cantankerous, radical, or inconsiderate of others feelings but simply that we should be plain and simple in the explanation of our positions. That is the position we should take as a public servant: a county elected official or employee; a state representative or senator; a state constitutional officer; or a congressman. Don’t try to hide what you are actually saying in some convoluted “politically correct” jargon. Of course, we also have those today who “call” themselves “public servants” that have absolutely no civility about them. They do not think about nor are they concerned about someone else’s opinion or position on an issue, let alone think about being politically correct. That is wrong — dead wrong. Our political discourse should always be civil. Between being uncivil and uncaring and being so politically correct that no one understands what you’re trying to say, it’s no wonder nothing gets done. The definition of a “euphemism” boils down to not caring enough to use the very best word. I believe the best example and worst fad in euphemisms is “politically correct” language. Stay away from it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Just be cognizant of people’s feelings. Most anything can be said plainly but with tact. I have several friends in the public service sector whom I constantly remind that even if they are correct they should not approach the situation in a way to make the other person COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



political rhetoric to being the source of humor and just about legislators looking at tax reform are looking toward tax cutting everything in between. I have never taken much interest in more than tax restructuring. political correctness and simply try to be as considerate and Why does the state continue to look toward cutting taxes polite as possible to those that I’m working with and for. Of when funding needs are so great? In fact, when just and legal course I have read or heard a few things that were “politically debts of the state are being paid by county government. As of correct” that were plain and honest and put forth admirably June 30, 2015, a study conducted by Arkansas Legislative Au— and I’ve heard those things that were quite amusing, but in dit concluded that Arkansas counties were subsidizing the state general, I have not had much use for what has, in my opinion, circuit court system by at least $41 million per year. No doubt become a radical way of not offending people that actually it is more now. And these numbers do not include district court seems offensive in its own right. costs, which are also a state court under Amendment 80. The In reading through a list of “politically correct” terms, I Arkansas Constitution, Article 16, § 2 says that it is the responlearned a shoplifter is actually a “Cost-of-Living Adjustment sibility of the General Assembly to “provide for the payment of Specialist” and being dead is “Actuarially Mature.” Here are all just and legal debts of the State.” The state should be pressure-prompted to pay for its court system. a few others: More pressure-prompting: 911 funding. The function of • Dishonest is ethically disoriented; 911 has become an expected and needed service. It is a public • Homeless is residentially flexible; safety service that our constituents need and deserve. It was • Criticism is unjust self-esteem reducer; and sold to our counties by the telecommunication companies in • Ignorant is factually unencumbered. The list of ridiculous politically correct terms is almost end- the beginning as a service that would pay for itself through less and, in my opinion, almost useless. However, I came across user fees. Yet, in most counties it never has. Counties across one term that was somewhat interesting and one I felt could Arkansas are subsidizing 911 to the tune of $20 to $25 million be useful. So let’s segue into my infrequent positive moment of per year. The Arkansas legislature holds the keys to 911 structure and funding because it is all established in state law. The political correctness. Ever hear of “pressure-prompted”? This term is used to be state should feel pressure-prompted to help solve this public safety problem. politically correct when deWhy do we continually scribing one who is a prolook toward cutting revenues crastinator. Don’t laugh. We when our infrastructure — all sometimes find ourselves at both the state and county eing “politically correct” has become pressure-prompted because levels — is crumbling around we haven’t done something everything from political rhetoric to us? County government canin a timely manner. I suffer not keep our courthouses those pangs almost daily trybeing the source of humor and just about and jails properly maintained ing to meet some deadline. because we are spending too Let’s mull over the poteneverything in between. much of our general revenues tial use of that term and what paying for state responsibiliit could mean if it was taken ties. out of its politically correct I’m not being overly critical context. of state government for being “pressure-prompted” because It often seems as though government, at all levels, is content counties do the same thing. They don’t do things that need to to operate under the status quo until external pressures require be done until the pressures are so great they don’t have much change. While government is likely not categorized as a “prochoice. And, even then some do not have the will to do the crastinator,” it certainly is “pressure-prompted.” right thing. Look at the 2017 session of the Arkansas General Assembly Have you ever been in those meetings when the question is completed and the 2019 session coming up. No doubt we asked, “If this is the right thing to do, why weren’t you pursuing could say they were “pressure-prompted” to revise a plan to it before the current crisis?” That’s a good question. The real anallow thousands of low-income, uninsured Arkansans the use swer is not usually given. The answer normally given is that up of federal Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance until recently we weren’t faced with the pressures that exist right — the pressure of which they will revisit in 2019. now. We find ourselves in a situation that demands change. They will be pressure-prompted concerning tax reform, The real answer is that if we were properly doing our jobs we which they have been studying in the interim. I’m sure our tax would have planned for what we saw and knew was coming structure can stand some restructuring to be more competitive economically with surrounding states. The problem is most See “SEIZE” on Page 22 > > >







Continued From Page 21

— we would carpe diem! Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, more widely known as Horace, which has become an aphorism. The concise statement of principle in that Latin phrase is “seize the day.” The underlying concept is we should live in and enjoy the present, and one should not leave to chance future happenings. Rather one should do all one can today to make one’s future better. In other words, as leaders in government we should use our intellectual capacity to contemplate and plan for the future. That is part and parcel in seizing the day. My message is at least two-fold: • Don’t get caught up in the annoying use of “politically correct” terminology. Just say what you mean and mean what you say — always being considerate of others views and feelings. Almost anything can be said in a direct and plain manner as long as you use a little skill and grace. Civility goes a long way in getting your point across to others. • If you must embrace some “politically correct” term, try


our taken-out-of-its-politically-correct-context term “pressure-prompted.” Even when it becomes easier to try to maintain the status quo, continue to put pressure on yourself to stay on the forefront of strategy and good government. We should not wait for outside forces to cause us to be “pressure-prompted.” We can more effectively control our own destiny, increase public value and fulfill our mission of public service when we move forward on our own terms. Choose to be pressure-prompted, but choose your own pressures before your pressures are chosen for you. Things do change whether we like it or not. No doubt we will see some of that in the 2019 legislative session. We should no longer be sweeping dirt floors. That time has passed. I believe leadership for solving the big stuff can be found in state and county government officials. Let’s throw away the brooms, quit sweeping dirt floors, bring in the lumber and build some new floors. Seize the day!

DeShields celebrates 30 years of county government service


t was the afternoon, and Benton County Circuit Clerk Brenda DeShields wondered why no one had mentioned her 30th anniversary in county government on Sept. 26, 2018. Little did she know her staff, family, friends and other Benton County officials were hiding in a courtroom waiting to surprise her. DeShields has spent her entire career in the circuit clerk’s office. She began as a criminal court deputy, and then was promoted to chief deputy, a position she held for 13 years before running for circuit clerk. Never one to seek attention, DeShields seemed genuinely surprised when she was led into the courtroom. She spoke about some of her early experiences in the circuit clerk’s office and the changes she has seen — new technology such as imaging and e-recording. Then the party moved into a breakroom, where everyone enjoyed cake and punch.

Above: Benton County Circuit Clerk and AAC Board member Brenda DeShields recently celebrated 30 years of service in county government. Her staff planned and executed a surprise party for DeShields on Sept. 26, 2018. Right: Members of DeShields’ staff clap when she accepts a token of recognition for her three decades in the circuit clerk’s office. 22


2019 NACo



Choose from more than two dozen unique workshops including: • Outlook for Federal Policy Issues in the 116th Congress • Understanding FEMA’s new Policy Guidelines • Connecting Federal Policies and County Systems of Care • Coming to You Soon? Emerging Trends in State Legislatures • Federal and State 5G Efforts and the Digital Divide Explore NACo’s full workshop lineup at





Surviving the stress of the session


he new year brings a new Legislative Session. The months leading up to the session — and the session itself — can be stressful. Stress can wreak havoc on a person physically and emotionally, leading to various health problems. Thankfully there are more stress management strategies than you can “shake a stick at.” I will discuss three of those strategies, which can help you through the session as well as other stressful times. The key to the following stress management strategies is planning. I am all for spontaneity. However, healthy habits do not just happen, and a lack of planning can create more stress. A little bit of forethought will go a long way. Here are some suggestions and ideas to help you with the stresses of the session and life in general: Be careful what you eat and drink. Your mind and body work more efficiently when you feed them nutritiously. Sugary foods and drinks may give you quick energy, but that is almost always followed by “the crash” that will leave you on edge. Caffeine in coffee, tea, and soft drinks can increase jittery feelings, impair your concentration, and keep you awake at night. Alcohol is a depressant in large quantities, but it acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Neither scenario is helpful in stressful times. Here are some foods and drinks that you may want to incorporate into you daily life and why: • Nuts — Stress depletes Vitamin B. Snacking on nuts replenishes those B vitamins. Potassium in nuts can lower blood pressure, relieving the strain that stress puts on your heart. • Bananas — Bananas are high in potassium and B6, both mentioned above. They also can calm sugar cravings. • Cashews — These nuts are high in zinc, an essential mineral that may help reduce anxiety. • Herbal teas — Chamomile, peppermint, and ginger are soothing to the digestive tract and can calm that “nervous stomach.” • Hard-boiled eggs — The yolk has the essential nutrient choline, which supports memory. Eggs also have tyrosine, an amino acid that improves alertness and memory. • Oranges — Oranges are high in vitamin C, a great cold fighter. Vitamin C can also lower the stress hormone cortisol by lowering inflammation. • Seeds — Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seed are great sources of magnesium, which 24

regulates emotions, alleviating depression, fatigue, and irritability. • Water — Dehydration leads to higher cortisol levels, making it harder to deal with everyday issues. Stress Becky Comet can cause dehydration and AAC Member dehydration can cause Benefits Manager stress. Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. (According to webmd.com, a good rule of thumb is ½ ounce to 1 ounce for each pound that you weigh. A person that weighs 150 pounds should drink 75150 ounces of water daily.) Physical activity is a stress reliever. Stressful situations increase stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Physical activity can break down those hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Exercise increases the blood flow throughout your body and can help you think more clearly. You do not have to take up some strenuous sport or activity. Walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing are good examples of exercise that will relax your muscles and your mind. Anything you enjoy and that gets you moving for about 30 minutes a day is beneficial. Plan time in your day to get some physical activity. Your 30 minutes of activity is better if you can get it all in one setting. However, that’s not always possible. Sometimes carving out 30 minutes during those long days with a multitude of meetings and late night strategy sessions is simply not an option. Alternatively, you can plan to make the most of every opportunity that you have, no matter how long or short it is. Park a little farther away than usual and walk to your destination. If you need to meet with someone one on one, ask if they mind walking while you talk. If the weather will not allow you to walk outside, then walk around the Capitol or other indoor setting. If you have numerous phone calls to make, walk while you talk. If you are back in your county at your own office, you can still be active. Do not sit at your desk all day. Get up, walk around your courthouse, and say hello to people for a few minutes. Plan to do that every hour or two for the health of it. Get enough sleep. When you sleep your body repairs, rejuvenates, and rebuilds itself. Experts recommend six to COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

AAC eight hours of sleep a night. Healing cannot take place if we consistently do not get enough sleep. If sleep is difficult during stressful times, stack the deck in your favor. Avoid caffeine and alcohol if you know it disturbs your sleep. Make your bedroom as tranquil as possible. Do not take your work into the bedroom. Stop doing things that are mentally demanding at least an hour before you go to bed. Take a warm, relaxing bath. Listen to music. Read an undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes, and help you forget about the things that happened during the day. As stated before, there are many stress management techniques and strategies. There are numerous books and articles available with more information than you can


imagine. If stress is a problem in your life, do not take it lightly. Do something about it. If you do not think you are handling your stress well on your own. If you need someone to talk to for more information about handling stress. If you are a leader in your county and you see your employees may need some help dealing with stress, contact the Southwest Employee Assistance Program (EAP). They have individual counseling services as well as group training available. County government employees may use their services at a discounted rate. Contact Terri Murphree at terri@southwesteap.com or Becky Comet at bcomet@arcounties.org or (501) 372-7550, and I will put you in touch with Southwest EAP.

Pulaski County celebrates its 200th birthday


he cold weather did not affect the turnout for the Dec. 4, 2018, celebration of Pulaski County’s 200th birthday. City, county, and state officials and employees enjoyed a program of speakers that included Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Arkansas Department of Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, and Rachel Patton with the Pulaski County Historical Society. Each remarked on an aspect of Pulaski County history. The county was created from the former Missouri Territory in 1818 and was named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, who died in the Revolutionary War in 1779. Little Rock Mayor-elect Frank Scott attended, as well. Following the outdoor ceremony, attendees were invited into the courthouse rotunda for birthday cake and fellowship. Above: Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Paul Elliott, Treasurer/ Collector Debra Buckner, and state Rep. Fred Love brave the cold to celebrate. Far left: Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde addresses the attendees. Left: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines, Judge Barry Hyde and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola pose for a photo. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018




County officials and employees display the Information Network of Arkansas’ Digital Transformation Award certificates they received.

Thirteen counties recognized for their digital achievements at INA’s 2018 Arkansas Digital Transformation Awards


hirteen Arkansas counties received honors at the Information Network of Arkansas’ (INA) second annual Arkansas Digital Government Transformation Awards luncheon Sept. 19. The awards recognized the achievements of Arkansas government offices at the local level that have used technology to drive innovation and make positive, measurable changes that affect citizens and businesses across the state and beyond. More than 150 Arkansas local government leaders and public servants from across the state attended the event. Cities and counties were elgible to receive five awards: Business Service Award, Citizen Service Award, Digital Pioneer Award, Efficiency Award and the Governor’s Award, which is awarded to one city or county. The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) Risk Management Services and Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery received the Governor’s Award for their work on Justice Bridge, a video arraignment phone system. AAC Executive Director Chris Villines presented the award to Sheriff Montgomery, AAC Risk Management Director Debbie Norman and AAC IT Director Mark Harrell. “The Justice Bridge has been a passion project for AAC for the past couple of years, but it was Sheriff Montgomery who approached us with the idea,” Villines said. “Over the last two years Sheriff Montgomery has worked tirelessly with the AAC staff to make this program a reality.” 26

Sheriff Montgomery thanked AAC and explained that Baxter County has “already saved thousands and thousands of dollars, and potentially saved lives,” with Justice Bridge. “I personally want to thank Chris and his team for jumping on board, and they have worked around the clock to make this happen, and I am honored to be a part of it,” Montgomery said. Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke to attendees through a video message. “It’s easy to talk about transformation, but transformation is hard work,” he said. “This year’s nominations represent many great achievements in digital transformation. Our office reviewed 53 nominations, and we were impressed by the creativity, innovation and passion for public service that our cities and counties have demonstrated. The work these public servants are doing helps the people in their communities, and I hope that cost savings and improvements represented by these award-winning initiatives inspire leaders from around the state.” More than 30 government offices entered more than 50 nominations, which were evaluated by the INA Board, the Secretary of State, the Department of Information Systems and State Chief Technology Officer, the state’s Chief Transformation Officer, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. These individuals chose the winners and finalists in each category and presented them at the awards ceremony. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



2018 Arkansas Digital Government Transformation awards for counties Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery & Association of Arkansas Counties Risk Management Services Governor’s Award — winner Justice Bridge

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin congratulates cities and counties for their diligence in applying technology to improve their services to citizens.

Association of Arkansas Counties Executive Director Chris Villines announces award recipients.

Baxter County Sheriff’s Office Governor’s Award — winner Baxter County Sheriff’s website and free mobile app Baxter County Collector Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Baxter County Tax Collector App

Madison County Assessor Efficiency Award — honorable mention ESRI mapping tool Miller County Collector Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Pulaski County Treasurer Digital Pioneer Award — winner Live chat

Benton County Digital Pioneer Award — finalist New modernized Benton County website

Saline County Circuit Clerk Business Service Award — finalist Electronic recording of land records

Boone County Collector Digital Pioneer Award — honorable mention Multiple technology enhancements to improve communication with citizens

Citizen Service Award — finalist Honor reward program for local veterans Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Enhanced passport photo service

Citizen Service Award — honorable mention SMS text messaging

Citizen Service Award — winner Free fraud protection program

Columbia County Treasurer Efficiency Award — honorable mention Going digital

Saline County Collector Efficiency Award — winner eNotify

Craighead County Clerk Digital Pioneer Award — finalist Transparenccy improvements via craigheadclerk.com

Saline County Clerk Citizen Award — honorable mention The Checkmark eNewsletter

Business Service Award — winner E-recording of land records


Hempstead County Assessor Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Offering online personal property assessment

Benton County Circuit Clerk Business Service Award — finalist Use of technology to improve existing services and launch new ones

Faulkner County Circuit Clerk Efficiency Award — finalist Electronic transcripts replacing physical documents

Columbia County Deputy Treasurer Patricia Haltom and Columbia County Treasurer Selena Blair received an honorable mention for their office’s efforts in going digital.

Greene County Judge Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Consolidation of 911 call center

Faulkner County Clerk Citizen Service Award — finalist Using technology to make citizens’ lives better

Washington County Assessor Digital Pioneer Award — honorable mention Improving public access to county septic system records Citizen Service Award — honorable mention Use of digital information board to communicate important information Efficiency Award — finalist CAMA scanners See


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Continued From Page 27

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, AAC Executive Director Chris Villines, AAC Risk Management Director Debbie Norman and AAC IT Manager Mark Harrell display the Governor’s Award they received for their work on Justice Bridge video arraignment system.

Faulkner County Deputy Circuit Clerk Diana Varner, Faulkner County Circuit Clerk Crystal Taylor and Deputy Circuit Clerk Bekah Donohue smile for a photo. Their office won a Business Service Award and were finalists for two other awards.


Information Network of Arkansas (INA) President and General Manager Bob Sanders (left) chats with Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and AAC Executive Director Chris Villines.

Award winners from Saline County pose for a photo with their certificates.

Above left: Pulaski County Assistant Chief Deputy Treasurer/Collector Angie Martin, Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector Debra Buckner, IT Director Shannon Chronister and Chief Deputy Treasurer/Collector Bentley Hovis display an award they recieved. Above middle: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines smiles for a photo with Franklin County Judge Rickey Bowman. Above right: Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector Debra Buckner chats with Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon. Greene County received a Citizen Service Award honorable mention for the consolidation of county’s 911 call centers. 28


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Meet the leadership in the 92nd General Assembly


rkansas’ 92nd General Assembly will convene Jan. 14, 2019, and the hallways of the state Capitol will soon house frenzied legislative activity. As this edition of County Lines was planned, it was decided to introduce Senate and House leadership to our readers. On the following pages you will read more about President Senate Pro Tempore Jim Hendren, Speaker of the House

Matthew Shepherd, Senate and House Majority Leaders Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. Marcus Richmond, and Senate and House Minority Leaders Sen. Keith Ingram and Rep. Charles Blake. County and district elected officials will encounter these gentlemen on the hill and at legislative functions. We hope you find this issue of the magazine informative, and we look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

Sen. Jim Hendren Senate President Pro Tempore

Rep. Matthew Shepherd Speaker of the House

Sen. Hendren, R-Gravette, succeeds Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, as President Senate Pro Tempore in the 92nd General Assembly. Hendren served in the state House of Representatives from 1995-1999, and was first elected to the Senate in 2012. Hendren served as Senate Majority Leader during the 2017 session. In a March 2018 interview with Talk Business & Politics, he said his mission as Majority Leader was to “implement the Republican agenda” in the Senate. He views his role as President Pro Tempore differently. “As President Pro Tempore, my job’s a little bit different. It’s to make sure that the Senate functions efficiently, the Senate maintains decorum. That we make sure that we protect the institution, and it’s certainly somewhat in tatters now because of some of the behavior that’s been going on the last few years. So, my first item is going to make sure that we do everything we can to protect the integrity of the Senate, and instill a culture of integrity and ethics.” Hendren represents Senate District 2, which includes portions of Benton and Washington counties. During the early filing period, he and Sen. Keith Ingram have filed a joint resolution that would amend the Arkansas Constitution to reduce the number of days the legislature is in session and repeal the fiscal session, among other things.

In June 2018, the House of Representatives elected Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, as speaker to succeed Rep. Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, who resigned to take a job with the University of Central Arkansas. Following his election, he told reporters his top priorities as speaker would include ethics, transformation of state government, the management of the House and making sure representatives properly vet legislation. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Shepherd told his fellow representatives, “I hope that every day that we serve that we understand that we are here not just in and of ourselves, that we represent our constituents back home and represent this state, and that we should hold ourselves to the highest standards of conduct and ethics.” One defining piece of legislation that came out of the 2017 legislature after lengthy debate, was a rule change allowing the Speaker of the House to make all committee assignments. Shepherd will be the first Speaker to do so when the 92nd General Assembly convenes in Janaury. Shepherd represents House District 6, which includes part of Union County. 2019 will mark the start of his fifth term. Shepherd, who is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Arkansas School of Law, is a practicing attorney in El Dorado.


Sen. Bart Hester Senate Majority Leader Arkansas State Sen. Bart Hester, RBentonville, represents Senate District 1, which includes portions of Benton and Washington Counties. He served his first term in the Senate in 2013. He was Majority Whip during the 2017 legislative session. Also during the 91st General Assembly in 2017, Hester co-sponsored, along with Reps. Kim Hammer, Karilyn Brown, Jeff Williams, and Mickey Gates, a bill championed by the Arkansas Tax Collectors Association. Senate Bill 114 — now Act 514 of 2017 — amended the requirements for publishing notice of delinquent taxes on mineral interests. Rather than publishing the parcels in a newspaper at a cost of about $1.50 per parcel, collectors now publish their delinquent mineral parcels on a free web site maintained by the Association of Arkansas Counties. Collectors used the web site for the first time in 2018. Van Buren County alone reported savings of $25,000 on publication costs. During the early filing period for the 92nd General Assembly, Hester has filed a bill that would restructure state government and reduce the number of department heads who report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Professionally, Sen. Hester works in real estate and construction. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



Rep. Marcus Richmond House Majority Leader

Sen. Keith Ingram Senate Minority Leader

Rep. Charles Blake House Minority Leader

Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey, will be serving his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives when the 92nd General Assembly convenes in January. He represents District 21, which includes part of Scott, Perry, Garland, Yell, Crawford, Sebastian, and Polk counties. A retired businessman and cattle farmer, Richmond is from Harvey, Arkansas. In 2014, he was elected to succeed Terry Rice, who won the District 9 seat in the Senate. In his first term in office, Richmond served on the Aging, Children, and Youth Legislative and Military Affairs Committee, and the Public Transportation Committee. He served as 4th Caucus District Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore in 2017, and was also the House Majority Leader in 2018. House committee assignments will not be made until the General Assembly convenes. At press time, Richmond had not filed any bills during the early filing period.

Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, has enjoyed a long career in public service. He was mayor of West Memphis from 1987-1994. He served two terms in the state House of Representatives — in 2009 and 2011. He first elected to the state Senate in 2013 and served as Senate Minority Leader in 2017. Ingram represents Senate District 24, which includes Crittenden County and parts of Cross, Lee, Phillips, and St. Francis counties. During the 92nd General Assembly, he will serve on the Senate Revenue & Taxation Committee; and the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. He will represent the 1st Congressional District on the Joint Budget Committee and the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee. Sen. Ingram will serve as vice-chairman of the Joint Retirement & Social Security Committee. During his political career, Sen. Ingram has received many legislator and statesmanship awards from various organizations and groups. Professionally, he is vice president of Razorback Concrete.

Rep. Charles Blake, D-Little Rock, is entering his third term in the House. His District 36 includes a portion of Pulaski County. He succeeds former Rep. Michael John Gray as House Minority Leader. During the 2017 legislative session, Rep. Blake serves on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee, and the Joint Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. At press time, Blake had filed House Bill 1004, which would create the Arkansas Voter Integrity and Security Act, requires automatic voter registration, and amends other election laws. Blake has served as Director of Advancement, Director of Finance and Operations, and a founding member of Little Rock Preparatory Academy. He has served on the Little Rock Citizen’s Evaluation of New Tax Committee, Daisy Gaston Bates Holiday Committee, Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas board, and the Southside Main Street board.

By the numbers House


76 Republicans

26 Republicans

24 Democrats

9 Democrats

2019 Regular Session Dates and Deadlines Jan. 14 — Legislature convenes Jan. 28 — Deadline to file retirement legislation and certain health care legislation Feb. 13 — Deadline to file constitutional amendments March 4 — Deadline to file appropriation bills March 11 — Final deadline to file any legislation





Governor announces government transformation plan (From the Governor’s Office) In October, Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled his plan to cut the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15. This is first comprehensive effort to trim state government since 1972. “This long-overdue and comprehensive reorganization effort will realign agencies to reflect a more modern and efficient way to operate state government without cutting any services,” Hutchinson said during his presentation at the Arkansas State Capitol. “This will result in improved delivery of services and will ultimately save the state money and the taxpayer time.” “Additionally, as was the case in the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during my time as Undersecretary, all reorganization efforts will be implemented using existing resources and without adding any additional staff,” he said. The Governor’s proposal accomplishes six key objectives to improve state government: 1. This proposal will reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies by nearly 65 percent, from 42 to 15 without sacrificing services. This move will increase an agency head’s flexibility to make quicker decisions that will improve the quality and delivery of services. 2. The proposed mergers will strengthen the affected agencies by providing more resources while at the same time eliminating duplicative processes. For example, both the Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD) and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) will be strengthened by bringing ANRC under AAD. And the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) will be strengthened by bringing the two departments into one larger cabinet group. NOTE: Higher Education Institutions will remain independent. 3. This proposal will assign more than 200 boards and commis-

sions to a larger umbrella department. NOTE: Regulatory and Licensing Boards will retain their authority and revenue sources. 4. This proposal will improve the delivery of services to Arkansas taxpayers by breaking down silos within state government. For example, the Department of Health and 15 health-related boards and commissions will be brought together under one umbrella department. And the new Department of Public Safety will bring all law enforcement and protection agencies together for the first time. 5. This proposal will improve management control throughout state government through the creation of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services: Office of Personnel Management Division of Procurement Employee Benefits Division Division of Building Authority Department of Information Systems Geographic Information Systems This proposal will allow agencies to maintain their independent services, where appropriate. NOTE: Any agency/board/commission will retain its special revenue streams required by law. Some agencies will remain independent for constitutional reasons or because of their specific function. 6. This proposal will create savings for the state and taxpayers beginning in the FY 2021 budget through lease and rent savings, shared services, and a more responsive management approach. Finally, in the same way the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created during Gov. Hutchinson’s time as Undersecretary of Homeland Security, all reorganization efforts will be implemented using existing resources and without adding staff.

The AAC policy team


Terry McNatt, Chair, Legislative Committee

Chris Villines, Executive Director

Mark Whitmore, Chief Legal Counsel

Josh Curtis, Governmental Affairs Director

Lindsey Bailey, Legal Counsel

Eddie A. Jones, Consultant

Christy L. Smith, Communications Director

Anne Baker, Executive Assistant COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018


Preparing the AAC legislative package


he nine associations under the AAC’s umbrella — the County Judges’ Association of Arkansas; the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association; Arkansas Assessors’ Association; Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts; Arkansas Circuit Clerks’ Association; Arkansas Collectors’ Association; Arkansas Treasurers’ Association; Arkansas County Clerks’ Association; and the Arkansas Coroners’ Association — go through a rigorous process to develop their legislative packages, which if approved by the AAC Legislative Committee and AAC Board of Directors will become part of the AAC’s legislative package. Soon after a Legislative Session ends, county and district officials, along with their AAC policy team liaison, begin discussing within their respective associations issues they believe should be addressed COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

during the next Legislative Session. The Arkansas General Assembly convenes their regular sessions every two years. In the interim, members of the nine associations representing county and district elected officials hold intense discussions about the issues they would like the Legislature to address. Each group has a legislative committee, and any proposed legislation must be approved by the legislative committee and then the entire body. Once those proposals are finalized, they are presented to the AAC Legislative Committ for review and approval or disapproval. Then the AAC Board of Directors reviews and approves or disapproves the proposals. The process allows each association to hear the other associations’ packages and note items that could adversely impact their offices. The AAC presents about 30 proposed bills to the Legislature.


Above left: Randolph County Circuit Clerk and AAC Board President Debbie Wise and Craighead County Treasurer and AAC Legislative Committee Chairman Terry McNatt discuss a proposed bill during the Legislative Summit in October. Above right: Saline County Clerk Doug Curtis presents the Arkansas Association of County Clerks’ proposed legislation. Bottom left: Pulaski County Coroner and AAC Board Member Gerone Hobbs and Saline County Coroner and AAC Board Member Kevin Cleghorn participate in the summit discussion. Bottom right: Polk County Judge and AAC Board Vice-President Brandon Ellison explains the contents of the County Judges’ Association of Arkansas package. Pictured next to him are Madison County Judge and CJAA President Frank Weaver (left) and Faulkner County Treasurer Scott Sanson (right). 33



2018 Legislative Reception Members of the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly gathered at the Association of Arkansas Counties Thursday, Nov. 8, for a legislative reception to recognize new and current legislators.


(1) Arkansas Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd. (2) Arkansas County Assessors’ Association President and Pope County Assessor Dana Baker; AAC Board of Directors member and Stone County Assessor Heather Stevens; AAC Board member and Columbia County Assessor Sandra Cawyer.



(3) Bryan Freeling with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and Arkansas County Treasurers’ Association President, AAC Legislative Committee Chair and Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt. (4) State Representatives Mark Lowery and Mike Holcomb, and Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin.


5 6

(5) AAC Executive Director Chris Villines. (6) State Representatives Les Eaves and Rebecca Petty. (7) Jackson County Judge Jeff Phillips and AAC Litigation Counsel Colin Jorgensen. (8) AAC Board of Directors Vice-President and Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison (center). 34







(9) State Representatives Milton Nicks, Monte Hodges, DeAnn Vaught and Fredrick Love. (10) State Representatives John Maddox and Steve Magie.



(11) Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson and Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin. (12) Representative-elects Jamie Scott, Denise Garner, Tippi McCullough, Nicole Clowney and Megan Godfrey. (13) AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis and State Rep. Danny Watson. (14) State Rep. Harlan Breaux, Rep.-elect Stu Smith and Rep. Michelle Gray (15) Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Scott Bradley and State Rep. Douglas House

13 15

(16) State Representatives Karilyn Brown and Jack Ladyman.

14 16


(17) State Rep. Joe Jett and Arkansas Chief Justice Dan Kemp. .





NACo Executive Director Matt Chase updates the Board of Directors during its Fall meeting Dec. 7 in San Diego County, Calif. — Photo by Hugh Clarke

NACo Board approves legislative priorities for 2019, adds EELU subcommittee Story by Charlie Ban County News digital editor and senior writer


he National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors adopted seven legislative priorities for 2019 and established a new subcommittee for parks at its fall meeting Dec. 7-8, 2018, in San Diego County, Calif. The Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee will now include a subcommittee for parks, open space and trails. President Greg Cox, who proposed the addition, said it would have no fiscal impact on NACo’s operations. “Parks open space and trail something all of us look at as an integral part of our communities,” Cox said. “They’re promoting healthy living, promoting people getting out and exercising,” “They certainly have economic benefits. I think this is the sort of thing we should focus on as a national organization, particularly as funding sources become available.” The year’s legislative priorities are not dramatic changes for NACo, with most reflecting the association’s long-term mission. The priorities include: The Farm Bill — NACo supports full funding for all Farm Bill titles. Broadband Deployment — NACo urges Congress and federal agencies to recognize counties as co-regulators, providers and partners in extending telecommunications and broadband technology. Federal policymakers should support the local decision making and accountability of local officials and oppose any actions that would preempt or limit the zoning or siting authority of local governments. 36

A more effective definition of Waters of the U.S. — NACo calls on Congress and the administration to develop and implement a new, more practical Waters of the U.S. definition in consultation and collaboration with state and local governments. Infrastructure — NACo supports ensuring any federal infrastructure package reflects county priorities, including allocating more federal seed capital and matching funds for locally-owned infrastructure, increasing local decision-making authority and flexibility and streamlining and shortening the federal permitting process while still requiring robust public participation and environmental stewardship. PILT and SRS — NACo supports restoring full mandatory funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program and extending the Secure Rural Schools program until the federal government implements a sustainable, long-term forest management program with adequate revenue sharing for forest counties and schools. Mental health, substance abuse treatment and criminal justice reform — NACo supports new policies and approaches that would enhance the ability of county officials and partners to prevent and treat mental health and substance abuse disorders in the community and within the criminal justice system. Economic mobility and opportunity — NACo supports federal investments and policies that help advance and leverage regional and local strategies focused on serving those most in need, including those addressing the root causes of poverty. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



What’s next? Federal human services policy in the 116th Congress Story by eryn hurley Associate Legislative Director — Human Services and Education


ounties play a pivotal role when it comes to connecting residents to critical human services. When it comes to breaking the cycles of poverty, counties provide and administer federal, state and local systems of services from early childhood development and nutrition assistance programs to workforce and economic development. In fact, counties invest $58 billion annually in human services while serving as the front-line social safety net. The 2018 midterm elections resulted in a divided 116th Congress in which both parties could struggle to advance legislative priorities, but on some issues alignment of the parties’ priorities could result in bipartisan agreement. As counties are administrators, in many cases, of these federal programs, NACo will continue to advocate for increased funding and local flexibility. Of the following, TANF and SNAP still await reauthorization, as of County News press time: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program In May 2018, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced a TANF reauthorization that would extend the program through FY 2023 and enact changes to its structure. The U.S. Senate is in the beginning stages of developing its own version of a TANF reauthorization bill. With Democrats taking control of the House and Republicans maintaining control in the Senate, bipartisan consensus on the next TANF reauthorization bill will be necessary. TANF has operated on a series of short-term extensions since the last major reauthorization expired in 2010. The proCOUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

gram provides funds to states to operate cash assistance, child care and other programs for individuals and families. The FY 2017 omnibus bill provided $16.5 billion for TANF, which was consistent with FY 2016 funding levels. Like Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), TANF is countyadministered in 10 states. TANF is a federal cash assistance program for low-income families with children that is designed to produce better outcomes for kids and help adults move from welfare to work. TANF is due for reauthorization at the end of FY 2018. The 10 states where counties administer TANF make up more than half of the total population covered by the program. Changes in program funding or structure could impose increased administrative requirements on county agencies. Counties support better streamlining of federal assistance programs to allow county agencies to work in tandem to produce results for individuals and communities. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) In June 2018, both the House of Representatives and Senate developed and passed their respective farm bill reauthorizations. Since then, lawmakers have been at odds for months on whether to overhaul work requirements for SNAP recipients and other provisions as they work to reconcile differences between the House- and Senate-approved bills. The previous farm bill expired at the end of September 2018. SNAP, which is also county-administered in 10 states, is a public assistance program that offers nutrition support to eligible low-income individuals and families. See


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Designed with and for first responders, FirstNet enhances the ability of multiple agencies to communicate, coordinate and responde to situations. FirstNet offers enhanced security on a dedicated, physically separate network core that prioritizes first responders’ communications. — Photo courtesy of FirstNet

FirstNet: Public Safety’s Network Story by KELLEY ADLEY Director, Public Safety Strategy and Policy, AT&T-FirstNet


ast year, Arkansas recognized the importance of a reliable, stand-alone emergency communications system for public safety and first responders by being one of the first states to opt-in and have AT&T build the RAN associated with FirstNet in Arkansas. While communication is critical for all industries, when it comes to public safety, lives are on the line. And while other industries have moved forward technologically, we have been stuck using decades-old technology. But thanks to Arkansas opting in to the FirstNet network platform being built by AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), public safety agencies in the state are getting a long overdue and much needed technology upgrade. FirstNet is the country’s nationwide communications platform dedicated to public safety to help first responders connect to the critical information we need every day and in every emergency. A network for public safety, by public safety FirstNet is designed with and for first responders to enhance our ability to communicate, coordinate and respond — no matter the situation. It gives first responders enhanced security on a dedicated, physically separate network core that prioritizes our communications. And it brings FirstNet subscribers 38

in Arkansas the technology, features and functionality designed to properly handle their rigorous, specific and niche demands. The recommendation for a dedicated, purposebuilt solution for first responders was born from the communication challenges public safety experienced during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those challenges made it clear that the needs of public safety demand more than what commercial offerings provide. That recommendation turned into a vision championed by the public safety community. And that vision was advanced by Congress in 2012 when they formed the FirstNet Authority — an independent government agency charged with carrying out public safety’s vision of FirstNet, bringing first responders our own, separate, dedicated communications ecosystem. In January 2016, the FirstNet Authority issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to create a public-private partnership to help bring FirstNet to life. AT&T responded because it believes in the importance of FirstNet for the good of our nation, its citizens and for those of us charged with ensuring the safety of our communities. Following a rigorous RFP process, AT&T was selected in March 2017. A lot of progress has been made in the past year to begin making FirstNet a reality for public safety nationwide. All 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia recognized the value of FirstNet, joining in its mission to strengthen and modernize public safety’s communications capabilities. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

AAC AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are taking a “for public safety, by public safety” approach to planning and deploying the dedicated communications ecosystem. The two are continuing to work hand-in-hand with the public safety community to understand the capacity, coverage, service and other public safety-grade features needed to communicate using 21st century tools that will help first responders stay safe and keep those we protect out of harm’s way. How FirstNet is helping Arkansas Arkansas first responders and the communities they serve are already benefitting from FirstNet. The network communications platform is transforming the way Arkansas’ fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. And now is the time for all of public safety to take action and join our network — a network we championed to bring to life over the past decade. Before FirstNet, first responders traditionally had to rely on thousands of disparate, incompatible and often proprietary radio networks to communicate with one another. This makes it hard for responders to effectively work together to save lives. Furthermore, traditional public safety networks, specifically land-mobile-radio (LMR) networks, don’t support apps or data sharing. FirstNet complements our state-wide AWIN LMR system, as well as other radio systems, to carry high-speed data, location information, images and video that can make all the difference when seconds count. This means enhanced situational awareness — changing the way we can achieve our mission. With FirstNet, Arkansas public safety subscribers — both agencies and individual first responders — will have access to a more reliable and interoperable communications solution dedicated to them in their times of need. This network will be available in highly populated cities as well as rural areas where connectivity can be more challenging. After all, emergencies don’t only occur in highly populated areas. That is why reaching rural America is one of FirstNet’s top priorities. Over the next several years, the FirstNet team at AT&T is actively addressing rural coverage needs by building out FirstNet with new towers using public safety’s Band 14 spectrum, which can cover more rural space with less total infrastructure. Public safety agencies subscribing to FirstNet also have access to optional satellite solutions and a nationwide fleet of 72 dedicated deployable network assets. The fleet of assets can be deployed for planned events, such as large concerts, or requested in emergencies at no additional charge. Once complete, FirstNet will cover over 99 percent of both the U.S. population and its geography. During emergencies, public safety needs to be able to communicate without interruption. It is vital that our nation’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018


and other first responders have always-on priority and preemption for our daily and emergency communications needs across voice and data. Priority means you will always be ahead of commercial users on the network for access, and if the network becomes overloaded, you will have preemption to keep you connected. Plus, during emergency situations, FirstNet isn’t connecting only first responders, but also “extended primary” agencies such as local government, healthcare, utilities and transportation entities that are called upon to support the response effort. This will help ensure a coordinated response to manmade attacks or natural disasters when the ability to communicate is essential to public safety. Incident commanders need access to vital data and, more importantly, the ability to share it in near real time with emergency responders. Imagine the time that can be saved, if we know what resources are available from neighboring jurisdictions and are able to communicate efficiently when they arrive on scene. Creating a safer tomorrow The FirstNet Authority and AT&T are driving innovation in lifesaving, public safety technology. Just as smartphones have created a new era of near real-time information and connectedness for individuals, the FirstNet platform, devices and applications will help enable the awareness and collaboration the public safety community needs to save lives. With the potential for millions of public safety users on a single LTE network, FirstNet is creating a new ecosystem in which entities compete to deliver applications and other services for public safety through the FirstNet platform. Plus, the nationwide scale brought by FirstNet will help maximize the value of every public safety dollar spent by allowing public safety end users to take advantage of an increasingly competitive marketplace. FirstNet will forever change the way first responders think about and use communications. It is a force for good, and it will help make first responders’ communications simpler, more collaborative and more secure to help us achieve our lifesaving missions. To learn more about FirstNet, go to www.firstnet.com. Kelley Adley is a former first responder with more than 17 years in law enforcement. His career path led him into criminal investigations with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, as well as specializing in capital murder cases and forensic crimes with the Collin County District Attorney’s office. He also worked in the public safety communications space with Harris Corporation prior to joining AT&T as director of public safety strategy and policy for FirstNet. 39


FEATURE AAC director elected president of National Council of County Association Executives board


AAC Executive Director Chris Villines has been elected president of the National Council of County Association Executives, an affiliate organization of the National Association of Counties. His term runs through the end of 2019.

hris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties, recently was elected president of the National Council of County Association Executives (NCCAE) board. NCCAE is an official affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo). According to the NCCAE web page, NCCAE provides a vehicle through which its membership improves the administration of the various associations of counties and associations of county officials. It provides a forum through which members meet and exchange information of importance, and it assists, in accordance with the policy determinations of the council, NACo in its efforts to promote and improve county government. Villines will serve as president through the end of 2019. Other NCCAE board members include First Vice President Suzanne Dulaney, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio; Second Vice President Bob Wilcox, executive director of the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners; Third Vice President Julie Ring, executive director of the Association of Minnesota Counties; and Immediate Past President Vivian Parsons, executive director of the County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia.

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FEATURE Wall memorializes opioid victims


he AAC, Arkansas Municipal League, and other sponsors joined Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to bring the traveling Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis exhibit to Fayetteville in October. The exhibit was on display for seven days at the University of Arkansas. The wall is part of the National Safety Council’s effort to put a face, rather than statistics, on the opioid crisis. The black paneled wall features 22,000 engraved white pills, each bearing the face of an opioid overdose victim. “The data speak to our head but the individual stories speak to our hearts. The Prescribed to Death memorial not only brings visitors face to face with this everyday killer, but also encourages actions that will help us eliminate these preventable deaths,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council said in a news release.

Top: University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz looks at the Prescribed to Death Wall, which features 22,000 white pills to represent the number of Americans who died due to opioid overdose in 2015. Bottom Left: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Association of Arkansas Counties Executive Director Chris Villines pose for a photograph at the unveiling ceremony. Bottom Right: Andy Agar speaks to attendees and shares the story of how his family lost a son, Jake, to drug addiction. 42




Above: The Prescribed to Death wall features 22,000 white pills, each with a face engraved on it, to represent the number of Americans who died due to opioid overdose in 2015. There is a pill missing on the third row down of this section of the wall. Middle: Jake Agar, 21 and a student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, died of an opioid overdose on December 4, 2013. The traveling exhibit allows viewers to enter the name of a loved one they have lost to opioids. Jake’s father, Andy Agar, added his son’s name to the display. Bottom left: After sharing the moving story of how his son struggled with addiction, Andy Agar, added a white pill representing Jake Agar to the empty spot on the Prescribed to Death wall. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018




Left: The Richardsonian Romanesque portion of the Pulaski County Courthouse was built in 1889, Top: he interior of the 1889 courthouse features double quarter-turn staircases make of heavy Eastlake cast-iron newel posts and castiron balustrades. Bottom: Both the 1889 and 1914 courthouses have many ornate features.

Ornate Beauties Each visit to the Pulaski Courthouses reveal new architectural details.


Story and photos by Holly Hope Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

he Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock consists of an original 1889 Richardsonian Romanesque building and a 1914 annex constructed in the Beaux Arts style. Both are strikingly beautiful examples of the most popular institutional architecture of their time. Pulaski County was created from the former Missouri Territory in 1818 and was named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, who died in the Revolutionary War Battle of Savannah in 1779. County business was originally 44

conducted in the Little Rock Statehouse, constructed in 1842. A building dedicated to a county courthouse was necessary by 1883, as the Statehouse was needed for state government. After a period of occupying a residence and a church, land at the corner of Spring and Second streets was acquired for a two-story building with a basement dedicated solely to Pulaski County government. The Richardsonian Romanesque style was chosen for the new courthouse and architect Max Orlopp, Jr. provided the design. Granite from the Fourche Mountain subdivision in the Ouachita Mountains was chosen for the form, and Orlopp provided a typically exuberant presentation. Contrasting details were exhibited through the use of COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



Left: Increasing population numbers necessitated the construction of a new courthouse North of the 1889 building. It was constructed in the Classical Beaux-Arts style and completed in 1914. Right top: The center rotunda of the 1914 building opens to the second floor and is lit by an intricate stained glass dome that doubled as a skylight. Right middle: The entrance is accessed via three centered arches featuring transom fans infilled with decorative iron grills above glass double-doors embellished with ironwork. Masculine stonework faces, or mascarons, ornament the keystones above each entry arch. Right bottom: Decorative elements abound in both buildings.

limestone belt courses, arches and window lintels and deep red terra cotta gables, cornice molding and columnettes with Corinthian capitals. The complex roof configuration was originally slate, but by 1979 it had been replaced with composition shingles. In 2004, the county received a $140,000 grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage to reinstall a slate roof. Three corners of the building feature round two-story towers with conical roofs topped with iron finials. Asymmetry is introduced on the southeast corner through the use of a four-story square clock tower with domed roof. In 1961 storm damage necessitated the removal of the top two levels of the tower. In 1995 the Department of Arkansas Heritage provided $90,000 in grants to restore the tower to its original appearance, including the four clock faces for each cardinal direction and the terra cotta COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

seal of the state of Arkansas. The interior of the 1889 courthouse was appropriately appointed with the most current fittings. Double quarterturn staircases feature heavy Eastlake cast-iron newel posts and cast-iron balustrades exhibiting a curving floral design. The iron risers of the stairs display a fish scale pattern. Matching arches to the east and west of the lobby area are constructed of highly glazed brown bricks with plaster keystones at the crown. By the turn of the century the original courthouse had become too cramped. Increasing population numbers and the annexation of Argenta (later renamed North Little Rock) as the city’s eighth ward taxed the efficiency of the 1889 building. It was decided that a new courthouse would be built north of the original courthouse to provide See


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Continued From Page 45


office space, additional courtrooms and judges’ chambers. courthouse is equally as ornate as the Classical exterior. The A passage was appended to the northeast corner providing center rotunda opens to the second floor and is lit by an access to both buildings. intricate stained glass dome that doubled as a skylight. The The Classical Beaux-Arts style was chosen for this second floor opens to the lobby through coffered arches addition, which was often referred to as the Annex. In lined with rosettes, each of which hold a clear lightbulb. 1912, architect George Mann, known for his design of Sculptural groupings carved by Italian sculptor Giusto Liva the Arkansas State Capitol, was selected to draw plans. and his two sons, Paul and John, are situated at each corner Contractor A.O. Campbell completed the four-story of the rotunda. The sculptures representing art, justice, courthouse constructed of Batesville limestone in 1914 at agriculture and machinery are placed atop a classical a cost of $566,000. arrangement of architrave, frieze and cornice supported by The building presents a massive, symmetrical form and two-story pink marble Corinthian columns. White marble Roman architectural elements. The first floor of the main, urn balustrades fill the open arches. northern facade is delineated from the upper two stories The rotunda features a radiating floor pattern of through the use of rusticated stonework. Windows on that contrasting pink, grey and brown marble, in the center level are arched with multi-paned lights. The entrance is of which is a bust of Count Pulaski. Other details include accessed via three centered arches leading to a recessed scallop shell niches in the rotunda, elevator indicator portico. Each arch features transom fans infilled with plaques featuring bas-relief cornucopias, marble and oak decorative iron grills above glass double-doors embellished wainscoting, barrel vaulted stairwells and plaster bas-relief with ironwork. Masculine stonework faces, or mascarons, carving in arch spandrels. The decorative elements abound ornament the keystones above each entry arch, while the in both buildings and provide the pleasure of revealing new keystones above each window display simple scroll patterns. details with each visit. The second and third stories are composed of smooth Since 1979, Pulaski County has received $319,459 limestone blocks and rusticated quoins. Seven rectangular in grants from the Department of Arkansas Heritage 42 light windows light the second and third stories. On the for the restoration and preservation of the original 1889 second floor, rounded stone drip molds top the windows at courthouse and the 1914 annex. the east and west side bays of this façade while the five center Pulaski County celebrated its 200th anniversary on windows are topped with gabled drip molds. The center Dec. 4, 2018. Featured speakers included Pulaski County windows are flanked by two-story Ionic pilasters. Short urn Judge Barry Hyde, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, and balustrades situated in front of each second-story window, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst. provide visual separation from the first floor. The third floor Commemorative events will continue throughout 2019. windows break with the uniformity as they do not utilize drip molds. At the roofline the wide Among the many programs and services of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program center cornice is carved with the is the County Courthouse Restoration Grant Program. Created in 1989, this grant words “PULASKI COUNTY program has helped to extend the lives of courthouses that hold vital links to community pride and local history. These grants are funded through the Real Estate Transfer COURTHOUSE.” Egg and Tax, administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Since the dart detailing and a line of thick beginning of the program, the AHPP has awarded $24,721,298 to 79 historic courtmodillions beneath a projecting houses and courthouse annexes around the state for use in rehabilitating, preserving and protecting these important historic resources. Since 1979, Pulaski County has received cornice span the northern elevation eight grants totaling $319,459 for the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock. and the east and west side bays. AHPP County Courthouse Restoration Grants An urn balustrade surrounds the awarded for Pulaski County Courthouse shallow, metal hip roof on all FY1979 Preparation of development documents; elevations, concealing the fourth Renovate and restore courthouse $25,000 floor windows. The rooftop FY1990 Clock tower restoration $38,000 centerpiece of the north façade FY1991 Clock tower $20,000 features male and female figures FY1992 Clock tower restoration, windows $22,000 FY1993 Clock faces $11,000 flanking a shield carved with the FY2004 Roof (slate) $140,134 date 1912. The shield is embellished FY2006 Roof repair for 1914 addition $46,200 with fruit and floral swags. FY2009 Condition assessment of skylight (1914 addition) $17,125 The interior of the 1914 46




Collectors meet in Faulkner County

Saline County Collector Joy Ballard and Garland County Collector Rebecca Talbert, both officers on the Collectors’ Association Board, chat during a break.

County tax collectors convened Dec. 5-7, 2018, in Faulkner County. Their program included instruction on researching acts, bills and Attorney General opinions; a presentation on dealing with difficult people; the election of 2019-2020 officers; and a dinner/celebration for collectors who are retiring at the end of this year.

Carroll County Collector Kay Phillips-Brown(left) and Craighead County Deputy Collector Linda Denny (right) pause to take a photo.

Johnson County Treasurer/Collector Leta Willis (left) and Sebastian County Treasurer/ Collector Judith Miller (right) catch up during the lunch break.

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Pope County Deputy Collectors Anita Gray (left) and Darci LaRue grab their seats and prepare for the tax collector’s December meeting to begin.




Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department (ACD) Director Bear Chaney (right center), and ACD Deputy Director and former Faulkner County Assessor Angela Hill speak to conference attendees.

Hempstead County Assessor Kim Smith (left) and Chief Deputy Assessor Kenna Smith listen during a conference.

Assessors meet in Pulaski County for fall conference More than 170 assessors, deputy assessors, and appraisal professionals from across the state gathered, Nov. 13-15, 2018, for the Arkansas County Assessors’ Association fall conference held in Little Rock/Puaski County. They discussed topics such as city annexations, the upcoming census and ballot issues.

Conference attendees gathered for the general session.

2017-2018 Arkansas Assessors’ Association officers and board members prior to the swearing in of the 2019-2020 board. From left to right are Stone County Assesor and AAC Board Member Heather Stevens; Ashley County Assessor and Board Member Beth Rush, Crittenden County Assessor and Board Member Kimberly Hollowell; former Van Buren County Assessor and Association Vice-President Trina Jones; Pope County Assessor and President Dana Baker; Baxter County Assessor and former Secretary/ Treasurer Jayme Nicholson; former Sevier County Assessor Board Member Judy Smith; Franklin County Assessor and Board Member Cathy Bennett; and Columbia County Assessor and AAC Board Member Sandra Cawyer. 48




AAC hosts Guardian RFID training

Sgt. Greg Piper, Guardian training and implementation specialist, speaks to more than 40 jail administrators and personnel from aross the state Oct. 22.

Jail administrators and personnel from across the state gathered at AAC for Guardian RFID training Monday, Oct. 22. The training was led by Sgt. Greg Piper, Guardian training and implementation specialist, who demonstrated how to use the state-of-the-art inmate jail monitoring system with hands-on activities.

Left: Lt. Lacretia Flowers with the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office practices using the Guardian SPARTAN hand-held device to scan jail cell tags. Right: Cpt. Chris Riedmueller with the Faulkner County Detention Center, and Deputy Jailer James Varnado and Lt. Misty Jones with the White County Detention Center, inspect Guardian wristbands that help track inmates.

Jail Administrator Cpt. Sarah Haney and Sgt. Veronica Spencer at the Pike County Detention Center test the features of Guardian’s SPARTAN hand-held device. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018

Lt. Steven Hacker with White County Detention Center and Sgt. Greg Piper with Guardian discuss the features of Guardian’s SPARTAN hand-held device. 49



Circuit clerks meet in Saline County, swear in new officers More than 80 circuit clerks from around the state gathered in Benton/Saline County Oct. 9-11, 2018, for their fall conference. They covered timely topics such as writs, modernization of their systems and the association’s legislative agenda. They also heard the pros and cons of Issue 1 on the Arkansas ballot.

Arkansas Circuit Clerks’ Association President and Monroe County Clerk Alice Smith welcomes clerks.

Gloria Thompson with the Administrative Office of the Courts answers questions from circuit clerks. 50

Ashley County Circuit Clerk Vickie Stell and Bradley County Circuit Clerk Cindy Wagnon listen during a conference session. Circuit clerks received a visit from Arkansas State Rep. Kim Hammer, Saline County Assessor Bob Ramsey, Saline County Treasurer Larry Davis, Saline County Judge Jeff Arey and Arkansas State Rep. Lanny Fite during the conference.

Franklin County Circuit Clerk Janice King (right) speaks during a roundtable discussion. Calhoun County Circuit Clerk Jeanie Smith (left) listens. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018



Left: Arkansas Association of County Clerks President and Boone County Clerk introduces AAC Legal Counsel Lindsey Bailey. Above: Little River County Clerk Deanna Sivley chats with Ouachita County Clerk Britt Williford.

County clerks meet in Garland County for conference

Senior Stakeholder Liaison for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Gregory Metcalf speaks covers updates at the IRS that pertain to county clerks.

County clerks covered voter registration and ID, election procedures, ballot issues, IRS updates, polling locations and more during their fall conference. They met Sept. 26-28, 2018, in Hot Springs/Garland County.

Heather McKim, director of the State Board of Election Commissioners, covers 2018 general election updates with clerks.

St. Francis County Clerk Brandi McCoy makes a comment on election equipment during a breakout session. Poinsett County Clerk Teresa Rouse (right) listens. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018




Treasurers meet in Pulaski County, honor retirees County treasurers gathered in North Little Rock/Pulaski County Sept. 19-21, 2018 for their fall conference. They covered topics such as reporting unclaimed property, office transitions, county budgeting, and more.

Arkansas Treasurers’ Association President and Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt welcomes conference attendees.

AAC Consultant Eddie A. Jones leads recap of topics addressed among treasurers during their roundtable discussions. To the left, Izard County Treasurer Warren Sanders, Miller County Treasurer and Cross County Treasurer Karen McCorckle.

The Arkansas Treasurers’ Association honored retiring treasurers during a dinner. Retirees pictured are Searcy County Treasurer Jim Arnold, Clark County Treasurer Sandy Jester, Fulton County Treasurer Seth Jones, Lafayette County Treasurer Gayla Teague, Desha County Treasurer Pam Stallings, Boone County Treasurer Tommy Creamer, Sevier County Treasurer Risa Krantz and Carroll County Treasurer Cindy Collins. Retirees not pictured are Lawrence County Treasurer Marilyn Crafton, Crittenden County Treasurer Charles Suiter, Phillips County Treasurer Fairie Bailey and Dallas County Treasurer Leslie Nutt. Miller County Treasurer Teresa Barnes Reed (center) and Miller County Chief Deputy Treasurer Leslie Ross play a game.

Attorney Mike Rainwater reviews policies on hiring, firing, office transitions and family medical leave. 52




Washington County Judge Joseph K. Wood shares with conference attendees his life story of finding the man who rescued him as an infant in Chicago.

Charles “Chuck” and Nancy Banks; Madison County Judge Frank Weaver; Clay and Paige Stephens, parents of the first A.A. “Shug” Banks scholarship receipient; and Mary Lois and Brett Banks. The Banks family created the scholarship to honor their late father and AAC founder A.A. “Shug” Banks.

Judges hold fall meeting in Pulaski County

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is greeted by AAC Executive Director Chris Villines (second from left), Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management A.J. Gary and AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis.

County judges gathered in North Little Rock/Pulaski County for their fall conference. The week consisted of hearing from guests speaking on topics such as ballot issues and infrastructure. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was the guest speaker at the Thursday luncheon. The Judges’ association also honored retirees during a dinner Thursday evening. Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass asks guest speaker Gov. Hutchinson a question during the conference lunch.

Arkansas Department of Transportation Director Scott Bennett (at podium) speaks as part of an infrastructure panel. He is joined by, from left to right, President of the Arkansas Trucking Association Shannon Newton, Arkansas Asphalt Pavers Association Director Park Estes, and Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Director Joe Quinn. COUNTY LINES, FALL 2018




Coroners meet for MDI course in Ouachita County The Arkansas Coroners’ Association held a 40-hour Medicolegal Death Investigation course at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Sept. 10-14. 2018, in Camden/ Ouachita County. Arkansas Department of Health Program Specialist Tiffany Washington explains how to record death investigations.

Saline County Coroner and Arkansas Coroners’ Association President and AAC Board Member Kevin Cleghorn talks to course attendees about important equipment they should have readily available. Garland County Coroner and Arkansas Coroners’ Association Treasurer Stuart Smedley speaks to coroners, deputy coroners and law enforcement about a new death investigation reporting tool.

Andrew Hradesky (left) with the Arkansas Department of Health shows Pope County Coroner Alan Bradley (center) and James Hopper with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, tools that can be used in the event of a disaster.



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STAFF PROFILE Law Clerk – Kristina Farmer

Family information: I am the oldest of four. Also, a fun fact is that I am an Irish triplet. My younger sisters are twins and were born 11 months after me, so one month out of the year we are the same age.

The hardest thing I have ever done is: Leaving my family in Maine — my home state — to travel down to Arkansas to start my Teach for America commitment in 2014. You might be surprised to learn that: I love theater — plays and musicals. During my time in El Dorado, I was in a number of productions with the South Arkansas Community Theater. I also starred in my senior high school musical Once Upon a Mattress as Princess Winifred.

My favorite meal: I love anything from @ TheCorner Diner in downtown Little Rock. When I’m not working I’m: I can usually be found walking my lab dog, Castle, around Little Rock or reading a case for my law school classes. On the weekends I spend time mentoring a local foster teen through a mentor program with DHS and The Call.

Kristin a Farm er

The accomplishments of which I am most proud: Being a 70.3 Ironman Triathlon Finisher in Austin in fall 2017. At the top of my bucket list is to: Compete in the Age Group Division for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.


How long have you been at AAC and can you describe some of your successful projects? I started at AAC in August 2018. I work closely with the attorneys to advocate for counties in and outside the courtroom.

What do you like most about your position at AAC? I love working under caring and hardworking attorneys. As a full-time law student and aspiring attorney, the AAC attorneys provide me with real world experience outside the classroom, researching case law and relevant issues that I find very interesting.


AACRMF benefits continue to strengthen program!


he AAC Risk Management Fund program offers General Liability, and Auto and Property Protection. The fund is managed by a board of trustees comprised of your county colleagues. As a member, you help develop the fund’s products to meet the needs of our unique and valued county resources and employees.


ur latest added benefit is the Justice Bridge video/audio communication system for law enforcement, prisons and the judiciary. The program allows inmate visits and hearings to be conducted via teleconferenece, provides advancements in parole and probation processes, and improves courtroom safety and efficiency.

Justice Bridge This innovative program is a simple video/audio communicaiton system for use in circuit and district courts, sheriff’s offices, inmate box portals, and state prisons. Benefits include: n Reduced inmate transports to court hearings. n Reduced liability due to vehicular accidents, inmate assaults and medical costs. n Reduced contraband in prisons. n Reduced escape potential; increased public safety.

Other AACRMF benefits Guardian Inmate tracking system n 20x faster and more defensible than barcode. n Exclusively endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association since 2008, the first product in the world to earn this distinction. n The only Inmate Management System in the world that exclusively leverages radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. n GUARDIAN RFID® Mobile™ is the most widely used mobile app in corrections, actively deployed in 25 states.

Codification of county ordinances n A single-bound volume of your substantive county ordinances gives you easy access.

Drug testing n Free CDL drug testing with participation in the RMF Auto Program.

Partnership with Metro to provide P.O.M Services n Your peace of mind partnership for emergency claim services. RMF members receive priority response with participation in the Property Program.

For information: Debbie Norman, Risk Management Fund Director, (501) 375-8247

Becky Comet, Member Benefits Manager, (501) 372-7550




Continued From Page 37

The program serves approximately 42 million residents across the nation and accounts for 80 percent of spending in the omnibus food and agriculture legislation known as the farm bill. The county role in administering SNAP is one of the many ways in which counties serve as the front-line social safety-net for the nation’s communities. Counties operate healthy eating, school nutrition and senior nutrition programs across the country. In every county, SNAP is an important aspect for healthy eating, especially in areas lacking access to sustainable and fresh food supplies. NACo supports a long-term reauthorization of the farm bill to help counties provide critical investments in our nation’s most underserved communities. Additionally, while NACo supports the goal of enabling individuals to find and secure long-term employment, more stringent work requirements may both negatively impact residents and unintentionally increase administrative costs for counties in county-administered states. Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) SSBG received $1.7 billion in the FY2019 Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending package, which is level with FY 2018 funding. SSBG is county-administered in 10 states and provides funds for activities serving vulnerable populations, including adults and children at risk of abuse and neglect. Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) CSBG received $742 million in the FY 2019 Labor-HHS-


Education and Defense spending package, which is level with FY 2018 funding. CSBG is a NACo-supported program, which allows counties to design and implement anti-poverty programs tailored to an individual community’s needs. Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) CCDBG, which is the primary federal funding source supporting child care for low-income families, received $5.2 billion for FY 2019, consistent with funding for the previous year. Because of CCDBG, counties connect families to safe, reliable and affordable child care that allows parents to work, and promotes children’s health growth and development. Head Start The FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending package builds on increased funding outlined in the FY 2018 omnibus bill to make further investments in Head Start and would allocate $10.1 billion for the program in FY 2019. NACo supports increased investments in Head Start and other county-run early childhood programs, which connect preschool children to education, nutritional and social services. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) LIHEAP was funded at $3.6 billion in FY 2019 LaborHHS-Education and Defense package. LIHEAP delivers critical short-term aid and helps pay for home heating and cooling for the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including those with low incomes, the disabled and the elderly.

Advertiser Resource Index AAC Risk Management. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Crews and Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Custom Pavement Maintenance and Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 DataScout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover Ergon Asphalt & Paving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Financial Intelligence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Guardian RFID. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Keystone Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 National Association of Counties. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Nationwide Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Rainwater Holt & Sexton, PA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover Southern Tire Mart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Tax Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 US Communities.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


This publication was made possible with the support of these advertising partners who have helped to underwrite the cost of County Lines. They deserve your consideration and patronage when making your purchasing decisions. For more information on how to partner with County Lines, please call Christy L. Smith at (501) 372-7550.


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Articles inside

County Clerks gather in Garland County article cover image

County Clerks gather in Garland County

page 51
Judges hear topics such as ballot issues, infrastructure article cover image

Judges hear topics such as ballot issues, infrastructure

page 53
Treasurers honor retirees article cover image

Treasurers honor retirees

page 52
Circuit Clerks meet in Saline County article cover image

Circuit Clerks meet in Saline County

page 50
AAC hosts Guardian RFID user training article cover image

AAC hosts Guardian RFID user training

page 49
Pulaski County Courthouses: Ornate Beauties article cover image

Pulaski County Courthouses: Ornate Beauties

pages 44-46
Wall memorializes opioid victims article cover image

Wall memorializes opioid victims

pages 42-43
First Net: Public Safety’s Network article cover image

First Net: Public Safety’s Network

pages 38-41
Federal human services policy in the 116th Congress article cover image

Federal human services policy in the 116th Congress

page 37
How AAC forms its legislative package article cover image

How AAC forms its legislative package

page 33
Meet the AAC policy team article cover image

Meet the AAC policy team

page 32
Meet the legislative leadership for the 92nd session article cover image

Meet the legislative leadership for the 92nd session

pages 30-31
NACo approves 2019 legislative priorities article cover image

NACo approves 2019 legislative priorities

page 36
13 counties, AAC honored with INA digital awards article cover image

13 counties, AAC honored with INA digital awards

pages 26-29
Research Corner article cover image

Research Corner

pages 12-14
Legal Corner article cover image

Legal Corner

pages 18-19
President’s Perspective article cover image

President’s Perspective

pages 9-10
Governmental Affairs article cover image

Governmental Affairs

pages 16-17
From the Governor article cover image

From the Governor

page 11
Pulaski County turns 200 years old article cover image

Pulaski County turns 200 years old

page 25
From the Director’s Desk article cover image

From the Director’s Desk

pages 7-8
AG Opinions article cover image

AG Opinions

page 15