Spring 2019 County Lines

Page 1

County Lines Spring 2019

The Official Publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties

Stablizing Those in Crisis An update on the state’s CSUs 26

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In This Issue SPRING 2019


Collectors Meet in Pulaski County.................................................46

Cover Story: Stablizing Those in Crisis..........................................26 AAC Board Profile: Tommy Young..................................................29 Courthouse Feature: A Treasure....................................................30 Phillips County Going Solar..........................................................33 Logan County Dedicates Jail.......................................................35 49 Cities, Counties Receive Rural Services Grants.................36 Columbia County Unveils Annex.................................................42


Inside Look

Governmental Affairs.......................................................................15

Conference Registration Form...................................................38 2019 Legislative Recap...............................................................40 More Than 100 Attend Safety Meeting........................................43 Coroners Receive Training..............................................................44 AAQC Holds Semi-Annual Meeting...............................................45

Cover Notes: Stablizing the Crisis

From the Director’s Desk...................................................................7 President’s Perspective.....................................................................9 From the Governor............................................................................11 Research Corner...............................................................................12 AG Opinions........................................................................................14 Legal Corner.......................................................................................16 Seems to Me..................................................................................... 18 Litigation Lessons.............................................................................23 Wellness & Safety.............................................................................24 NACo News Update...........................................................................49

Top Left: Pictured is the Five West Crisis Stablization Unit in Sebastian County. Top Right: The Pulaski County CSU is staffed by a muti-disciplinary team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Bottom Left: The Washington County CSU will open June 14. Bottom Right: The Craighead County CSU is set to open in the fall next to the county jail in Jonesboro. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019


(Cover Photo Courtesy of Can Stock Photo)

ne year after the first Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) in Arkansas opened — in Sebastian County — County Lines staff checked in to see how the four CSUs are doing. The Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stablization Unit is a 16bed facility that has averaged 88 patients a month. The Pulaski County CSU, which partnered with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has admitted more than 470 patients since it opened in July 2018. The Washington County CSU, housed in the former Washington County Emergency Operations Center, is set to open June 14 of this year. Meanwhile, work has begun on the Craighead County CSU, which is partnering with Mid-South Health Systems and will serve residents in Craighead, Poinsett, Clay, Mississippi, Greene, Randolph, Cross, Phillips, Lawrence, and Crittenden counties. Read more on Page 26. — Photos by Holland Doran




2019 June 18-21 Assessors’ Summer Meeting Hampton Inn, Marion June 19-21 Treasurers’ Summer Meeting FourPoints, Bentonville June 26-28 Judges’ Summer Meeting Hotel Hot Springs, Hot Springs August 4-7 Sheriffs’ Summer Meeting Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, Rogers

Contact AAC

Mission Statement: The Association of Arkansas Counties

August 20 Randy Kemp Golf Tournament Ponce de Leon, Hot Springs Village August 21-23 AAC Annual Conference Hot Springs Convention Center, Hot Springs

Calendar activities also are posted on our website:



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.

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

Mark Harrell, IT Manager mharrell@arcounties.org

Karen Bell, Administrative Assistant kbell@aacrms.com

Anne Baker, Executive Assistant abaker@arcounties.org

Risk Management/ Workers’ Compensation

Ellen Wood, Admin. Asst./Receptionist ewood@aacrms.com

Samantha Moore, Receptionist smoore@arcounties.org

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

Brandy McAllister, RMS Counsel bmcallister@arcounties.org

Mark Whitmore, Chief Legal Counsel mwhitmore@arcounties.org

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

Colin Jorgensen, RMF Litigation Counsel cjorgensen@arcounties.org

Josh Curtis, Governmental Affairs Director jcurtis@arcounties.org

Cathy Perry, Admin. Asst./Claims Analyst cperry@aacrms.com

Johnna Hoffman, RMF Litigation Support jhoffman@arcounties.org

Lindsey Bailey, Legal Counsel lbailey@arcounties.org

Kim Nash, Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster knash@aacrms.com

JaNan Davis, RMF Litigation Counsel jdavis@arcounties.org

Christy L. Smith, Communications Director csmith@arcounties.org

Renee Turner,Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster rturner@aacrms.com

Melissa Hollowell, RMF Litigation Counsel mhollowell@arcounties.org

Holland Doran, Communications Coordinator hdoran@arcounties.org

Riley Groover, Claims Analyst rgroover@aacrms.com

Fonda Fitzgerald, RMF Paralegal ffitzgerald@arcounties.org

Karan Skarda, ACE Program Coordinator kskarda@arcounties.org

Greg Hunt, Claims Analyst ghunt@aacrms.com

Becky Comet, Member Benefits Manager bcomet@arcounties.org

Cindy Posey, Accountant cposey@arcounties.org

Kim Mitchell, Administrative Assistant kmitchell@aacrms.com

Ed Piker, Loss Control Consultant 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 Tommy Young 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 Polk 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.



Counties well positioned to bear hope for those addicted to drugs


.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” Taking a close look at the cover of this issue of our magazine provides a great example of despair. This level of anguish may be something most Chris Villines of us don’t see in a day, a week, a month or a year … AAC but unfortunately many Arkansans feel this level of Executive Director pain every day. This manifestation of pain can come from many sources, and the impact can run shallow or deep. It can result from many situations, such as divorce, loss of life, failings in one’s career, or fiscal distress. It runs through families, and often it results in crime, abuse, jail time, suicide, or worse. In county government, we often believe there is not much we can do about these problems for folks (notwithstanding our immediate family). I submit, however, that there are those few times and situations where we can make a difference. And I like to think that we are and will continue to do so. The cover story in this magazine is on mental health — and the crisis stabilization units (CSUs) in our state that counties are opening up. When mental health issues present during crimes or potential crimes, our jails often have found themselves as the housing of last resort. This situation is unfortunate and does not serve the arrestee or society well. There is hope. I am proud of the county and state partnership and leadership in the development of our CSUs, four of which will lead a new path in trying to accommodate and turn around the problem. AAC Chief Legal Counsel Mark Whitmore and many county officials worked hard on this issue over the last few years, and the fruits of their labor are about to help good Arkansans who would otherwise be hopeless. This embodiment of serving is what drove many of you to public office. As we build out this chapter and our potential help for the mentally ill in our state, another scourge continues to intensify, one not new to our state but growing rapidly: drug abuse. A year ago conventional thinking was that our masses hooked on opioids would evolve into a heroin epidemic, and in part, this is true. But the sad reality is that as the opioid supply begins to dry up a huge demand is developing for all sorts of other drugs — expanding to cheap and deadly alternatives such as fentanyl and methamphetamines. As we speak, the wheels of justice are turning in the form of multiple opioid lawsuits across the country, including our own well-positioned and strategically brilliant case, which combines the state of Arkansas, her counties and cities in a state, not federal, case. This case continues to evolve, and there are incredible similarities between the opioid epidemic and mental health issues in our state. In fact, many frequent fliers to our jails are hooked on drugs and suffering from mental illness at the same time. Unfortunately, the treatment for the two problems is disparate, and untan>>> 7



gling the two is complicated. As we begin to work solutions across the state on our mental health issue, I have been amazed at how far behind the curve Arkansas is on solutions for drug addiction. On a personal note, two good friends have recently sought rehabilitation for their adult children with an opioid addiction. Both living in central Arkansas, there was hope that facilities in this area could handle detoxification and rehab for these good folks. To my surprise, and theirs I’m sure, both of the adult children sought treatment in the nearest available facility, in of all places, Alabama. That’s right, two addicted people that needed long-term treatment in Arkansas wound up going to the only state with a higher opioid prescription rate in our country, Alabama, for the long-term treatment and recovery program they needed. There are several opinions from reputable sources that give an estimate of the amount of time one needs to successfully complete such a program, and they typically range from six months to one year. How unfortunate that Arkansas does not have the infrastructure to have enough of these types of

programs in our state to meet the ever-growing demand. As evidenced by the crisis stabilization units we are working on around the state, these facilities can be created and staffed in short order, but they are only 72-hour facilities, not the multiple-month facilities addiction rehabilitation demands. I hope as we begin the process of cleaning up the mess the pharmaceutical industry has allegedly created, this is taken into account. If this case produces financial resources to fix the problem, Arkansas must start at the ground floor when many of our counterparts have existing infrastructure. We can do this, and we will. Many of you have personal stories of someone’s despair as they struggle with addiction. What I so appreciate about our great state is that many of the same people will be the first to roll up their sleeves and get to work to create change and solutions. Just like with the CSUs, our work is cut out for us, but we have succeeded. The opioid lawsuit is about to move very quickly — and our opportunity to change our state’s future will lie before us. County government is amazingly well positioned to seize these opportunities and just like with the CSUs, we will be on the front-line bearing hope.

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Continuing education contributes to success of elected officials


n a nutshell, the Association of Arkansas Counties’ (AAC) mission is to serve as a one-stop shop for county and district officials seeking information, and to work for the improvement of county government in Arkansas. The AAC accomplishes that mission by providing legislative representation at the state Capitol, assistance and research, and training. For newly elected officials, it may seem that the AAC’s largest focus is on legislative advocacy. After all, the General Assembly’s 2019 regular legislative session began at the start of your term and wrapped up only a few short months ago. There has been much to discuss about the session, so many of the communications you have had with our AAC staff has centered on the session. But training — or continuing education — for county and district officials is just as much a priority. I can’t stress enough how lucky we are to have such outstanding programming at our disposal. In 2011, the AAC created its in-house continuing education program. The ACE Continuing Education Program receives high praise from those who attend the sessions, held around the state for six affiliate organizations three times a year. Those who do not attend the meetings may not realize what they are missing. During each legislative session, the General Assembly appropriates funds to the Auditor of State to carry out “the responsibilities for maintaining and operating a continuing education and certification program” for county judges, circuit clerks, county clerks, treasurers, collectors and coroners. The appropriation for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year was $75,000 for each of those groups (see Act 23 of 2019). The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association is charged with training sheriffs, and the Assessment Coordination Department provides continuing education for assessors. Those agencies receive appropriations to conduct their meetings, as well. Justices of the Peace do not have a formal continuing education program. However, they reap the benefits of attending the annual AAC conference as well as their individual 75-member annual meeting staffed by AAC — and the firstrate programming provided.

Continuing education meetings have a propensity to grow stale. But the two ACE Coordinators the AAC has employed since 2011 — Brenda “Emmy” Emerson and Karan DEBBIE WISE Skarda — have strived to offer AAC Board President; new ideas, new locations and fresh Randolph County Circuit Clerk speakers to keep attendees excited and engaged. Karan — and Emmy before her — has taken the education of our affiliate organizations to a higher level. June is undoubtedly the busiest season for continuing education meetings. Karan will have orchestrated six association meetings by the end of June, but her work begins long before the meetings. She searches for appropriate meeting spaces in the counties where our officials would like to meet. She oversees registration — both for county officials and sponsors/ exhibitors. She works with each group to create and finalize meeting agendas. She’s always on the lookout for new and interesting speakers and activities, and she works tirelessly to resolve any obstacles county officials may experience during the registration process and during the meetings themselves. She wears a lot of hats, and she answers to a large number of county officials. I appreciate her and the effort she puts into our meetings because those meetings are valuable tools in shaping the success of our county officials. Many of the county officials who have excelled in their careers and within their organizations participate regularly in these meetings. The meetings offer good information and access to mentors who are more than happy to lend their time and knowledge to others. The process of mentoring benefits the teacher as well as the student. So I urge all our county officials to take advantage of the continuing education programs the AAC offers. I have benefitted immensely from these meetings, and I know you will too.

Debbie Wise Debbie Wise Randolph County Circuit Clerk / AAC Board President

Follow us on Facebook @75ARcounties COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019





Historic flooding doesn’t dampen Arkansas’ spirit

have written to President Trump to request that he declare the Flood of 2019 a major disaster and provide the federal assistance that we will need to get back on our feet. My letter outlines the extensive destruction and loss along the Arkansas River and its tributaries from the Oklahoma border to Tennessee. I made this request after I determined that the cost of recovery from the storms and flooding since May 21 is beyond the capacity of the state and local governments. It is important to note that I made the request while we are still under water. We won’t know the full extent of the loss until the water recedes. Early estimates show that nearly 900 homes in eight counties sustained major damage or have been destroyed. I requested individual assistance for those eight counties. We are estimating that our losses will exceed $100 million in terms of public damage. Fortunately, Arkansans have heeded the advice to evacuate and to avoid driving through high water, and only one person has died in the flood. For all the loss we’ve seen, it’s not as bad as it might have been because of the remarkable way Arkansans have pitched in to help — from the 6-year-old in Faulkner County to high school students to senior citizens. People cooked meals for volunteers and delivered meals to those whose health or circumstances prevented them from going to the food sites. Volunteers staffed the shelters for people who had to leave home. And everywhere you looked from the Oklahoma-Arkansas line to the other end of the Arkansas River, people were filling sandbags. Thousands of Arkansans have filled tens of thousands of bags. Six-year-old Collin Bradshaw and his 10-year-old brother, Spencer, were two of the youngest volunteers to shovel sand into bags. They were at the Conway Transportation Department in Faulkner County with their mother, Lindsay, a teacher with Conway Public Schools. She told the Log Cabin Democrat that she was proud to see many of her students helping others when they could have been out

enjoying their summer break. Tracy Touts was another teenager bagging sand. The 14-year-old lives near Tucker Creek. He was working at the Hon. ASA Beaverfork Fire Department. HuTCHINSON His work could protect his own Governor of Arkansas home as well as others, he told the Conway newspaper, and he encouraged others to help. High school athletes turned out in big numbers. There’s no way to know how many teams volunteered, but I’m aware of a few — the Wampus Cat football players from Conway, Panthers football players from Greenbrier, Eagles from the Vilonia football team, Charging Wildcats basketball players from North Little Rock High, and a college baseball team, the Oklahoma City Ambassadors, which was in the state for a tournament. Bobbie Peterson was another person who did what needed to be done. This wasn’t her first flood. She’s lived in the Dixie community in North Little Rock for more than 50 years. In the 1990 flood, the water was waist deep, she told a reporter. Bobbie, who is in her 70s, helps deliver meals, and then she goes back to filling bags. The pictures and the video we’ve seen tell us this has been a bad flood. The weather watchers tell us we’ve never seen another one like it, and we’ve only just begun to count the cost. What I love about Arkansas is that I’ve never seen a catastrophe that’s bigger than our people. Thank you, Arkansas, for always rushing to help.

Asa Hutchinson The Honorable Asa Hutchinson Governor of Arkansas

75 Counties - One Voice COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019




An overview of wage and hour compliance


ne of the most common questions I receive from county officials across the state is whether they are handling their comp time/overtime correctly. This article is by no means all encompassing, but instead will give some of the main points to remember when trying to determine if you are compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is the federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime requirements for employees. The FLSA is administered and enforced by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). There are two distinct times when the federal DOL has jurisdiction under the FLSA: 1) when a non-exempt (hourly) employee does not receive minimum wage for all of their hours worked, and 2) when a non-exempt employee does not receive time and a half (overtime or compensatory time) for any overtime hours worked in a period. These provisions only apply to non-exempt employees as defined by the Act. In contrast, exempt employees are exempt from the requirements of the FLSA. An exempt employee must be one who makes at least $455/week and who meets one of the duties tests laid out by the law. If you have a qualifying employee (based on wage and duties) then they may be classified as exempt and paid on a salary basis. However, keep in mind there is no requirement that you classify qualifying employees as exempt. You may continue to treat all employees as non-exempt at your discretion. The two most important points to remember regarding exempt employees who meet the duties and wage tests are: 1) you must have an accurate job description on file demonstrating the nature of their duties; and, 2) they must make the same amount of money each pay period regardless of the hours worked, or the quality of the work performed. Alternatively, if an employee is non-exempt, they are considered an hourly employee, and you must be sure to comply with the FLSA regarding their hours worked and their overtime calculation. Another common question I get is whether a non-exempt employee is salaried or hourly. Many counties have non-exempt employees they pay on a salary basis based on the quorum court appropriation. Other counties classify their non-exempt employees as hourly. Please keep in mind that just because you hire and pay an employee on a salary basis, does not make them exempt from the provisions of the FLSA. Salaried employees that do not meet the wage and duties tests under the law still must be paid minimum wage and still must be paid overtime at a rate of one and half times their regular wage. The law says the salary may be paid to cover a set number of hours (regularly 12

scheduled hours). If their hours exceed 40 in a workweek, you must calculate their hourly rate and pay overtime, or compensatory time, for all hours over 40. Another significant, and often Brandy McAllister overlooked, point under the RMF Legal Counsel FLSA is the employer’s requirement to keep accurate time records. What this means is that your time sheets should accurately reflect the time of day each employee arrives, the time of day they take any unpaid breaks, and the time of day they leave. This can be done on handwritten time sheets or through a time clock or other electronic system. As long as the time sheets are accurate, it doesn’t matter what form they take. Time sheets that simply put down 8 for hours worked for the day, or time sheets that show an employee arrives every day at 8 a.m. and leaves every day at 4 p.m. with a 60-minute lunch in the middle, are likely not going to be considered accurate under the FLSA. Also, when calculating hours, it must include all hours worked, not just scheduled hours. If you have employees coming in early or leaving late that must be reflected on the time sheets as well. You can set policy prohibiting employees from working outside of regularly scheduled hours, you can discipline employees for violating your policy, but you must pay employees for the time regardless. Employees who work more than 40 hours in a single work week (seven-day period) must be paid time and a half or receive compensatory time at the rate of time and a half for any time worked over 40 hours. If your county has adopted the 207(k) exemption for law enforcement (jailers and deputies only), then overtime is not required until after the law enforcement employee exceeds the designated number of hours. Under 207(k), an employer may select any work period between seven and 28 days, and then the law designates at what point overtime begins. Examples of this would be a 28-day work period and 171 hours worked, or a 14-day work period and 86 hours worked. The work period should be laid out in the county personnel policy or in the sheriff’s department policy. This article is only intended to touch on some of the most basic requirement under the wage and hour laws and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about whether your office or county is compliant with wage and hour requirements please contact your appropriate legal counsel for further evaluation. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019



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AG Opinions: From professional services to firearms in vehicles AG OPINION NO. 2019-001 The Attorney General long ago determined that counties may engage certain types of construction management consultants as professional services under Ark Code § 19-11-801. However, use of construction managers by counties has limitations. In Arkansas construction contracts of public buildings and bridges by counties must use competitive bidding. Article 19, § 16, of the Arkansas Constitution explicitly prescribes: “All contracts for erecting or repairing public buildings or bridges in any county, or for materials therefore … shall be given to the lowest responsible bidder, under such regulations as may be provided by law.” Also, public works contracts under Ark Code § 22-9-201 et seq. require counties to use competitive bidding of the actual construction work. The AG has so concluded on many previous opinions. See: AG OP 2013-051; 2009-038 and 2009-033. The recent opinion request seeks to ascertain whether a construction manager selected by a county as a professional service may also serve as a contractor or general contractor for performing the work under the underlying construction project? The answer is no. A construction manager is a professional service, and professional services in Arkansas may not be selected by competitive bidding (but are to be selected by comparative bidding). Also, the AG noted that award of construction contracts by counties to a contractor for the performance of the actual construction work must be made by competitive bidding (to the lowest responsible bidder) as provided by Ark. Const., Art. 19, § 16; and Ark Code § 22-9-201 et seq.

AG OPINION NO. 2018-142 Can the disabled veteran property tax exemption be claimed and applied to two separate homesteads (where the married couple are each disabled veterans)? The AG concluded that disabled veterans can own only one homestead for purposes of claiming a tax exemption under Ark. Code § 26-3-306. The law plainly states that the disabled veteran shall be exempt from payment of all property taxes on the homestead owned by the disabled veteran. The statute contemplates a veteran may claim their homestead property tax exemption on only one homestead, regardless if the disabled veteran spouses both have ownership in more than one homestead. AG OPINION NO. 2018-137 The AG opined that the disabled veteran property tax exemption does not apply to assessment for local improvements such as suburban improvement districts. The AG explained that it is well established that a constitutional or statutory exemption from taxation is to be taken as an exemption of ordinary taxes of state and local government. Such an exemption does not relieve obligations to pay special assessment of improvement districts, which are assessments charged upon property for the special benefit of the property. A disabled veteran is not exempt from payment of assessments upon their property by suburban improvement districts. AG OPINION NO. 2018-143 The AG was asked whether a city, by virtue of a city policy, can prevent a city employee from having a firearm in

their vehicles parked in parking lots for city buildMark Whitmore ings. What if the employee AAC Chief Counsel has an enhanced carry license? If the city prohibits firearms inside their city buildings, must notice be present at the entrances? Ark. Code § 5-73-122(a) generally prohibits persons from carrying or possessing a firearm in a publicly owned building or facility; and Ark. Code § 5-73-306 prohibits carrying by conceal carry licensees in certain public places. The AG differentiated between a city policy and state law. AG noted that Ark. Code § 5-73-122(a) (3)(C) affirmatively provides that a conceal carry licensee may leave his or her firearm in his or her locked and unattended motor vehicle in a publicly owned and maintained parking lot. The AG further noted that Ark. Code § 5-73-306(18) provides cities may post signs in entryways to public buildings to prevent carrying by employees with a conceal carry or enhanced carry license. The AG noted that subject to these laws and other laws, the city is subject to Ark. Code § 14-54-1411 and Ark. Code § 14-16-504, which constrain the capacity of cities to adopt policies on firearms. The AG referenced AG OPINION NO. 2018-079, which further outlines the AG’s opinion on the scope of law regarding enhance carry license holders. In AG Opinion 2018-079 the AG opined that Ark. Code § 5-73-322(h) allows persons with an enhanced carry license to carry a concealed handgun into certain places without incurring criminal liability.

www.arcounties.org 14




A wrap-up of a successful session


ince joining the AAC, I have placed every single issue of this magazine on my desk. Sometimes they get messy and out of order, or Mark leaves his coffee or a straw in the middle of them. I was cleaning up my desk after session and placed the 2019 winter issue over the 2018 fall issue and noticed the difference in the two covers. Many individuals, including myself, are fond of the winter cover. The cover for the fall 2018 issue had an empty staircase leading up to the House chamber on the north side of the state Capitol. The 2019 winter issue had that same staircase on the cover, but in a sharp and symbolic contrast, it was filled with almost 50 county officials, legislators, agency officials and AAC staff. Counties had an ambitious legislative package entering the 92nd General Assembly. The only other legislative package that compared to ours was that of Gov. Asa Hutchinson. His four “T’s” package included raising teacher pay, tax cuts, transportation and transformation. HB1145 raised the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next four years. The second “T” stands for tax cuts. SB211 was the third phase of Hutchinson’s three-part plan to reform Arkansas’ tax code. In 2015 and in 2017, he signed into law the two biggest tax cuts in the state’s history. With the passage of SB211, 100 percent of Arkansas income-taxpayers will benefit from nearly $250 million in reduced income taxes. The Governor has been successful cutting taxes in a responsible manner, and I suspect to see another round of tax cuts in 2021. The third “T,” which is important to our counties, is transportation. Road funding is a top priority for the County Judges Association of Arkansas heading into all sessions. With the help of the Governor and the General Assembly, road funding became a reality this time. Act 416 will provide an additional $12.6 million per year for county roads and bridges. The second part of the funding plan comes in the form of a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the people. If approved, the amendment will make permanent the one-half cent sales tax set to expire in 2023. This will continue bringing in about $44 million for counties. The Governors last “T” is transformation. This transformation effort will reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15 which is the largest reorganization of state government in almost 50 years. Act 910 should create greater efficiencies, streamline government and save the state taxpayer dollars. Gov. Hutchinson’s successful legislative “Priori-‘T’s” should improve the lives of all Arkansans. In the last issue of County Lines, AAC Executive Director Chris Villines outlined several major accomplishments counties made during the 2019 session. Those include road funding, marketplace fairness, 911 reform, voting equipment and retirement. These successes were the fruits of a lot of work by county officials talking to legislators and taxpayers. We recently heard the chairman of the House Transportation Committee say at the 2019 Rural Development Conference that he did not COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

receive one single call to complain about voting to raise taxes on gas and diesel. That says a lot for a state with a majority conservative population. Our constituents recognized the needs for better infrastructure, and counties played a huge role in getting Josh Curtis the required votes to increase road Governmental Affairs funding. County officials banding Director together to accomplish goals for the betterment of their constituents was on full display at the Capitol. House and Senate leadership were a big part of the success counties had, and I recently spoke with them about our accomplishments this session. Speaker of the House of Representatives Matthew Shepherd said, “The House has 14 members who have served in some capacity in county government. Their understanding of locallevel challenges contributed to our monumental accomplishments. From passing the biggest highway funding package in decades to reforming our 911 systems, it is evident that our members recognized the important role our counties play. When we improve the lives of Arkansans, we improve our communities. For that reason, local governments also stand to benefit from the work we accomplished to reduce taxes, reduce red tape for business owners, reform our juvenile justice system and improve education statewide.” Senate Pro Tempore Jim Hendren said, “Our Senate members weighed the needs of county government and responded logically. They studied and helped modernize the 911 emergency funding structure to help ensure public safety. We utilized existing revenues to fund election equipment. Additionally, the Senate overwhelmingly supported increased funding for local and state road improvements.” What’s next? First, thank your representatives and senators. They made tough votes but did the right thing to improve many aspects of life for all Arkansans. Second, educate yourself on the new laws and how they will affect you and your county. We recently held a two-day legislative recap at the AAC with more than 150 elected officials in attendance. AAC staff explained the different bills that became law. If you did not have a chance to attend, we will be mailing our Index of Acts to all elected officials. This is a catalog that lists all the acts that have any impact on county government. You can find an electronic version of it under the “Publications” tab on our website, as well. Third, which sometimes is the hardest part of the lawmaking process, is implementation. Change is hard but necessary. You should get a good dose of collaboration with your colleagues at your summer association meetings. Last — and I hope you don’t laugh at this — it’s time to start talking about priorities for the 93rd General Assembly. 15



Arkansas lawmakers focus on elections in 2019 General Session


hile the Arkansas General Session of 2019 issue on the ballot; mere political saw several headliner legislative topics, rhetoric is not included in the defsuch as transformation, transportation, inition of prohibited electioneertax reform, and public safety, one area ing. The United States Supreme in which numerous bills were filed, but largely flew under Court has recently said that such LINDSEY BAILEY the public’s radar, was elections. In addition to the defeat broad prohibitions infringed on General Counsel of various elections-related bills that would have resulted in First Amendment rights, and Act unfunded mandates to the counties and inefficient or unsus533 brings Arkansas in complitainable voting procedures, this session brought more than ance with that decision. Acts 207 a handful of successful bills to make elections in Arkansas and 642 also provide clarification and uniformity, estabmore uniform, efficient, and transparent. lishing that all city and county runoff elections are to be Act 597, effective July 1, 2019, was the County Clerks held four weeks after the general election. Association’s legislative package condensed into one bill, One of the major objectives for the counties in electionsled by Rep. Jusrelated legislation tin Boyd and Sen. was to increase effiBob Ballinger. For ciency. Act 199 prohile the Arkansas General Session of 2019 saw the sake of uniforvides that if a county mity and efficiency, has more than 15 several headliner legislative topics, such as transthis bill eliminated sample ballots, they different and conformation, transportation, tax reform, and public safety, one no longer have to fusing candidate post all of the sample area in which numerous bills that would have resulted in filing periods and ballots on the wall of signature petition every polling place. unfunded mandates to the counties and inefficient or unsuscirculation periRather, the county ods in the county may post the sample tainable voting procedures, this session brought more than a clerk’s office. Now, ballots online, and all candidates who handful of sucessful bills to make elections in Arkansas more then have at each file for office with polling site accessible the county clerk to voters either two uniform, efficient, and transparent. will file during the bound volumes of same one-week filthe sample ballots or ing period, either one bound volume one week designated before the primary or one week desigand one version of the sample ballots that is available on nated before the general election. Additionally, all signature an electronic device. Other acts that will save taxpayer dolpetitions filed in the county clerk’s office will have a 91-day lars are Acts 328, which allows high school students to be circulation period. Act 597 also clarified that unopposed trained and perform election official duties, and Act 539, school board candidates do not have to be placed on the which allows poll workers to work on a voluntary basis if ballot and requires a school district wishing to change their they waive their right to payment. annual school election date to provide a 100-day notice to Act 1013 was the result of a smart compromise on a bill the county clerk prior to the primary filing period before that would have cost the counties unnecessary dollars, and doing so. the voter unnecessary time in the voting booth. Formerly There were also several acts passed this session that proHB1460, the bill sought to add all unopposed candidates vide clarification in the elections process. Act 533 clarifies back on the ballot, going against what the people voted on what is and is not considered prohibited “electioneering” in Amendment 95, and what the General Assembly nearly at or within 100 feet of a polling site. Prohibited electionunanimously passed in Act 730 of 2017. An end of session eering must specifically reference a particular candidate or compromise resulted in Act 1013 putting only statewide






unopposed constitutional officers (which are virtually always contested) and General Assembly candidates back on the ballot. I believe this bill will have a minimal impact on the ballot length, putting at most five or six names back on the ballot, rather than adding 10 additional screens of 50 or more names that the voter would have to scroll through. I am grateful the sponsors and county clerks were willing to reach this reasonable compromise. Act 545 was an attempt to remedy the recent trend of uncertainty and inconsistency of the primary election date. In 2015, the General Assembly temporarily moved the 2016 presidential primary election date from May to March so the state could participate in the “SEC primary,” also known as “Super Tuesday,” the date the greatest number of states hold primary elections. This move was seen as giving Arkansas a louder voice in deciding who the parties’ nominations for president would be. Then in 2017, the effort to move the primary election date to March permanently failed. Act 545 was the compromising result of lawmakers wanting to be part of the SEC primary in March on presidential years, yet avoid the early winter/holiday season campaigning by


keeping the primary election in May on non-presidential, gubernatorial election years. The change every two years will certainly take some getting used to, but I hope the public as well as election officials will acclimate to the change, and that it will remain consistent going forward. Finally, the legislature sought to increase transparency in the elections process. Act 888 allows the State Board of Election Commissioners to perform audits post-election on voting equipment to ensure integrity in the elections process. There were other elections-related issues the General Assembly did not have the opportunity to adequately address. Many of these issues will be studied in the interim with the opportunity for legislation in the 2021 General Session. Rep. Justin Boyd filed Interim Study Proposal 2019-079 to be sent to the House State Agencies Committee to study elections-related issues including, but not limited to: election administration and process, technological upgrades, security and safety measures, methods to improve the initiative and referendum process, inconsistent terminology in the law, streamlined election dates, cost efficiency, absentee voting, voting hours, and voter registration through Revenue Offices.




SEEMS TO ME ... Circling the wagons for defense

s a kid growing up in the 1950s and 60’s our home laws as “shoot first” laws — a return to in Randolph County was often packed with folks the wild, wild, West with more regard to watch TV. Not everyone had a TV back in the for property than human life. 50’s. I nostalgically remember relatives and neighI believe the vast majority of Arkansas bors huddled around that black-and-white picture county officials are strong advocates of coming out of a wood grain box cabinet in our living room at the 2nd Amendment to keep and bear Supply, Arkansas, and then our family room in Pocahontas. arms. However, there are pros and cons Eddie A. Jones We watched news with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley to stand-your-ground laws. County ofCounty Consultant — the “Huntley-Brinkley Report.” Rather boring but what’s a ficials concluded the cons outweighed kid gonna do? We watched the latest music sensations on “The the pros because (1) in states that have Ed Sullivan Show” and Gillette’s “Friday Night Fights and made stand-your-ground the law, selfBoxing” [I remember more about the Gillette commercials defense claims double and even triple in the years following than I do the boxing]. The cowboy shows were numerous and enactment; (2) stand-your-ground laws make it potentially favorites in those days. We would watch “Wells Fargo,” “The more difficult to prosecute cases against individuals who comRoy Rogers Show,” “Bat Masterson,” “Gunsmoke,” “Lara- mit a crime and claim self-defense; and (3) it is an encouragemie,” “Rawhide,” and “Boment for people to possibly use nanza.” And, of course, there deadly physical force when it was “Wagon Train.” In virtually shouldn’t be used. every show the wagon master, One of the prime responircling the wagons is an idiom we after a report from scouts, had sibilities of county governto circle the wagons. still use suggesting a group of peo- ment is “public safety,” and a “Circle the wagons” is an large percentage of a county’s idiom we still use suggesting a ple have to work together to protect them- budget is for law enforcement group of people have to work and the administration of jusselves from some kind of external danger. together to protect themselves tice — public safety. Counties from some kind of external of Arkansas desire to provide danger. The phrase has its oripublic safety, and we don’t gins in the migration of settlers want to increase the costs any from the East Coast and Midmore than possible. west to the West during the 1800s. They traveled in covered, A 2018 overview of existing research by RAND Corp. conhorse-drawn wagons — Conestoga wagons, sometimes called cluded there is evidence stand-your-ground laws increase hoprairie schooners. At night, or when threatened during the micide rates, and the laws increase firearm homicides in parday, these wagon trains would stop moving and form a circle ticular. Arkansas sheriffs and other county leaders made the on the frontier prairie as a means of protection against attack. decision that Arkansas’ strong castle laws have served our state I was reminded of this during the 92nd General Assembly well and we should maintain that doctrine. when county government was put in the position to protect A castle doctrine, also known as castle law, is a legal doctrine our interests a few times. The natural reaction from county that designates a person’s home or any legally occupied place government was simple; just like in Wagon Train, our wagon as a place in which that person has protections and immunities master, AAC Executive Director Chris Villines, sounded the permitting one, in certain circumstances, to use force — up to call. It was time to circle the wagons to stave off the attack. and including deadly force. Thank you, county officials and employees for pulling your In English common law the term is derived from the dicwagon into the circle to exercise much-needed defense. tum that “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” English comOne of those bills where the “circling the wagons” defense mon law came with colonists to the New World, where it has was used was HB 1059 — a “stand-your-ground” bill. Stand- become known as the castle doctrine. The castle doctrine in your-ground laws have become popular across the United Arkansas allows the use of deadly force to defend one’s self, States, establishing a right by which a person may defend one’s their home, and others on the property, if they feel they are self or others against threats or perceived threats, even to the about to be severely harmed or killed. It may also be used if point of applying lethal force. Some label stand-your-ground the person believes a felony is about to be committed. [A.C.A.






In the old Westerns, such as “Wagon Train,” the wagon master had to circle the wagons. Likewise, county and district officials came together during the 92nd General Assembly to “circle the wagons” to fight against detrimental legislation or to help get passed positive legislation. — Photo courtesy of Can Stock Photo §§ 5-2-606; 5-2-607; 5-2-608; 5-2-620] HB 1059 was filed in mid-January and was amended four times but died on the House calendar at sine die adjournment on April 24. Thank you for circling the wagons. Another “circling the wagons” episode came with the filing of HB 1630 to exempt information pertaining to a law enforcement officer from the Freedom of Information Act and forbidding that information to be contained on public record websites. This was the reincarnation of a bill filed in the 2017 legislative session that was defeated at the end of the session. In this instance, it is not the philosophical idea that counties are opposed to. We have the same concern for the safety of our law enforcement officers as do the sponsors of the legislation. The problem is a method of implementation that would actually work. These are official records such as land records, property tax records, etc. that must be readily available for legitimate purposes. County officials and other interested industries worked with the sponsors of this bill to find some way to make the idea work. This bill was filed on Feb. 28 and finally a compromise was reached. On April 1 the bill was totally rewritten, deleting the original language and creating an Undercover Law Enforcement Officer Public Records Protection Study. The study is to COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

examine and produce a method of protecting the privacy of active undercover law enforcement officers in their personal lives by exempting certain records regarding the law enforcement officers’ personal information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. HB 1630 is now Act 963 of 2019. The focus group appointed to achieve the purpose of the study will be required to submit a written report of its activities, findings, and recommendations, including any proposed legislation for the 2021 Regular Session to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs on or before May 1, 2020. Then the scouts came back with another report — SB 636 was filed. We had to do it again. We had to circle the wagons around the “election coordinator bill.” And it was not because we don’t like election coordinators. Every county should have one. Every county needs one. This bill was filed without consultation with county government. It added an additional subchapter of law concerning election coordinators and completely changed the landscape of a county election coordinator. Even more troublesome was See


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WAGONS the complete change in lines of authority and supervision. This is an area of law that needs some clarification. But this bill did not do it. It did not clean up the issues, just muddled them more. After two weeks of negotiation with the sponsor of the bill, he withdrew it from committee and placed it on the Senate calendar for referral to be studied. On April 8 the Senate referred the matter to the Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee for an interim study. Counties will gladly work with the Senate on this important issue. These situations are just a sample of the times we had to “circle the wagons” to defend county government. There were times we had to defend sources of county revenue. And in one case, putting a cap on local sales tax rates — an issue put forward in the Tax Reform Legislative Task Force in 2018 — was never put forth in legislation because of our “pre-emptive circling of the wagons” from the beginning of the session — and because we were willing to work with Senate leadership on other key issues. We remain cognizant of the fact that even when we find some legislative ideas disagreeable, harmful, and oppressive to county government, more times than not the sponsors of the bills, whether they be representatives or senators, are not trying to hurt county government. Many times they don’t know the negative impact their legislation will have on county government or they don’t see it as oppressive and harmful as we do. Whatever the case, we in county government try to remain respectful of our legislators and the important work they do as we work with them to explain our positions. In fact, what we like to do is communicate and build relationships with our legislators. We want to work toward those things that help county government. County government is in the unique position of delivering county services as outlined by the Constitution and state law and being a political subdivision of the state to help deliver state services. We are indeed a partner with the state of Arkansas. We would rather be building legislative relationships and playing offense any day of the week. The 92nd General Assembly was definitely a success story in relationship building — working well with numerous state representatives and senators, as well as the Governor’s office, to enact great legislation that will help county government for years to come. The AAC legislative package consisted of 31 bills for the 92nd General Assembly. Of those 31 bills, 29 have been enacted into law. Several of these bills are very substantive in nature and not just “clean-up” legislation. We enjoy working with our legislators to enact good county government legislation. Although our executive director, Chris Villines, shared some of this information in the previous edition of County Lines, let 20

Continued From Page 19


me summarize some of the good that was accomplished with communication and relationship building with our legislators. • Act 660 brings long needed 911 reform for our counties. This legislation not only will increase revenues for 911, but it also will bring efficiency reforms. The total number of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will be decreased over a period of time spreading the revenue to fewer PSAPs. At the same time, the increased revenue will help the remaining PSAPs upgrade technology. Communication with our legislators made this happen. Rep. Michelle Gray, Sen. Jason Rapert and Gov. Asa Hutchinson made this happen for counties. • Act 416 envelops the Senate and House leadership and the Governor’s new road plan that will moderately increase gas and diesel taxes at the wholesale level. The increase will provide around $12.6 million for county roads and bridges. Every penny of it is needed, and we are appreciative. The new road plan also includes a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot next November. When enacted, it will make permanent a onehalf cent sales tax that is scheduled to expire in 2023. This would continue funding of around $44 million per year for county roads and bridge. • Act 808 brings with it several things on county government’s needs list and some of our legislative agenda. The property tax relief credit was increased from a maximum of $350 to $375 per year, providing most of our homeowners with a reduced property tax bill. The same bill provides an almost $8.3 million appropriation for voting equipment for our counties — something some of our counties are in dire need of. It also provides our assessors with a level funding amount for their Amendment 79 Fund used to administer the property tax relief program. Our hats are off to President Pro Tempore Sen. Jim Hendren, Rep. Lanny Fite and House Revenue and Tax Committee Chair Rep. Joe Jett for working through the issues to get this bill enacted. • Act 327 handled capably by Rep. Keith Slape and Sen. Ronald Caldwell will increase revenues for jail operations and training. This legislation increases the booking fee from $20 to $40 paid by criminal defendants convicted or pleading no contest to felonies or Class A misdemeanors. This could increase jail operation revenues by $1 million, or close to it. Additionally, a small COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

percentage of this revenue will be allocated to the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy for jailer and jailer administrator training. The more training we can provide for these personnel, the less likely we are to have valid lawsuits against our jails. • Act 822 was a long time coming but it’s finally here. Marketplace fairness, as we call it. Internet sales have grown rapidly in the last few years and that has hurt the growth of sales tax collections for the state, counties and municipalities because so many out-of-state vendors did not and were not required to collect and remit sales taxes. Act 822 provides the legal mechanism to collect new sales tax revenue. We don’t have a good figure for the increase, but we can expect at least a few million extra dollars in county sales tax collections because of this legislation. Thanks to Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. Dan Douglas for carrying the water on this legislation. The year 2019 was a banner legislative year for county government. I have mentioned a few names of people who sponsored some of the major legislation, but I could just as well listed almost the entire roster of the House and Senate who

sponsored other bills for us, who championed our causes, and who helped us defeat bad legislation. AAC and county officials around the state communicated and built relationships. That’s what success is all about. Depending on which seasons you may have watched “Wagon Train,” original wagon master Major Seth Adams (Ward Bond) and wagon train scout Flint McCullough (Robert Horton) or the 60’s wagon master Christopher Hale (John McIntire) and scout Coop Smith (Robert Fuller) would have been proud of our “wagon circling defense.” When we had to play defense to protect county government interests this session, we were successful. Thanks to the willingness of county officials across the state to get involved. When the wagon train scout came back with the final report at the end of the session it turned out to be a rip-roarin’, rip-snortin’ session for county government. Much was accomplished. Whether we must “circle the wagons” playing defense or “lead the charge” playing offense, let’s at least tell the scout to search for opportunities to keep the wagon train (county government) on this new and better trail. Communication and relationship building should be utilized when playing defense or offense. We want to be ready to move when our Wagon master, Chris Villines, declares: “Wagons, ho!”

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Thank you for your service

spent over a decade as a litigation attorney at the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, where I handled many constitutional challenges on behalf of the state. I defended the state’s definition of marriage, abortion laws, GIF appropriations, the panhandling laws, and the April 2017 executions. It sometimes felt like everything I worked on was intensely politicized, but I defended cases without regard to politics or personal opinions — exactly as an advocate should. When I joined the AAC as a litigation attorney in the summer of 2017, I did not know what to expect. In the summer edition of this magazine, the editor of the magazine wrote an article about me entitled, “He’s No Cowboy.” Truer words have rarely been spoken. I’m a city slicker, accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of urban life. Court experience notwithstanding, I’m not an obvious candidate to represent county officials across Arkansas. But I am a people-lover, and I have trained myself to refrain from judgment of others, especially judgment in the form of contempt prior to investigation. I commenced this new chapter with no expectations beyond the hope that you would give me the opportunity to prove myself worthy of your counsel. I’ve been around long enough now to share a few thoughts about county officials in Arkansas, as I’ve come to know you. First, although you may trudge through “political” issues from time to time, there is little to no political contempt in your hearts. The county judges, sheriffs, circuit and county clerks, treasurers, assessors, collectors, coroners, and justices of the peace of Arkansas, are genuinely motivated by the people you serve — not by political affiliation or personal gain. Your staff follows your lead on this, and that ensures the success of your offices. You care about getting important work done, from road maintenance to public safety to jail administration to budget management to tax assessment and collection, and the list goes on. Your actions are not driven by pledges to donors or powerful constituents, nor do you make decisions based on what will most likely ensure perpetual election. Honestly, I have no clue who belongs to what political party or faction among you. I could look you up and figure that out, but it doesn’t seem to matter to you, and it sure doesn’t matter to me. Thank you for that. And thank you for your service. Second, although all counties and county officials have unique concerns, you care about the greater good of your citizens, not gaining advantage at the expense of others. It is clear that you discovered long ago — or perhaps you always knew — that local governments, and local officials, are stronger together than divided along arbitrary or capricious COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

lines. No matter how divided our citizenry may be nationally, county government in Arkansas is united, and is in many ways the bedrock of our society. You perform the essential tasks of civilization, and you do so with grace and honor. Colin Jorgensen The incredibly successful legislative Risk Management session that you just enjoyed is a Litigation Counsel perfect example of your unity, and the power you wield for the greater good when you act as a unified force. It was amazing to witness. Thank you for your service. Third, although you understand the limits of what you can do for your citizens, you each wish you could do more. Countless phone calls pour into the AAC office every day from county officials. You call seeking advice about how to do things the right way and how to best serve your citizens. You express understandable frustration when you learn that the law requires you to do something in a way that may be less effective than your intuition. You seek access to resources or knowledge in the hope that you may achieve something that would not be achievable otherwise. You seek to tackle and solve seemingly intractable problems, even when you know your power is limited, or you are perhaps powerless. You try your best, even when others have failed, and even when you think you are likely to fail. Thank you for your faithful dedication to the important work that you do. Thank you for your service. I’d like to specifically thank the many county judges who have entrusted the AAC and the private law firms we have assembled to pursue litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors on behalf of Arkansas counties. And I’d like to specifically thank the many clients I’ve represented and currently represent in litigation in state and federal court. As you’ve read about in this magazine, we’ve expanded the AAC Risk Management litigation team, we’re handling more cases internally, and it’s going well in large part thanks to cooperative and gracious clients in the cases. Nobody likes being sued, but it happens to the best public servants, and it is an honor and a pleasure to represent you in court. When I come to work each day, I know that if you were in my position, you would do what it takes to ensure the best possible outcomes in the work, whether handling lawsuits or providing advice or calling bingo at a conference. Just as the people you serve provide the motivation to make you the great public servants you are, the people we serve do the same for us. Above all else, thank you for that. 23



What to do with an empty room


f you have recently or are planning to clean out a room or a small building that has been used for storage, consider repurposing the space for a fitness/ wellness center for county employees. A mountain of research touts the benefits of an on-site fitness center for employee use. Here are three of the many benefits: 1. Reduce absenteeism. Regular exercise keeps people healthier and less vulnerable to common illnesses. Therefore, they are at work more. 2. Reduce stress. Stress and depression are the leading causes of absenteeism. Working out raises the heart rate, improves blood flow, relieves stress, and produces hormones that enhance mood. 3. Reduce health care costs. According to the Wellness Councils of America, approximately 70 percent of all illnesses and associated health care costs can be avoided. Weight and stress are among the most pronounced health risk factors impacting employees’ health and well-being. Increasing the opportunity for physical activity is an evidenced-based approach that can lessen these two risk factors. An on-site fitness center is more beneficial than promoting or subsidizing a membership at an off-site health club. Studies show that people who pay for a gym membership do not necessarily develop a long-term habit of exercising. People are more likely to stick to an exercise routine when the fitness center is easily accessible. Some counties have created or are in the process of creating fitness/wellness centers with unused county space. For example, Pulaski County has had a fitness center exclusively for county employees (not family or friends) for about 10 years. Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector Debra Buckner championed this cause, initially to reduce health care costs. The county started with a small room, but that area grew when they discovered a larger storage room with bathrooms connected to the small room. Buckner got permission to clean out the room, and the Pulaski County Wellness Center was on its way. The Quorum Court saw the potential benefit for county employees and allocated money for the project. The county considered acquiring donated or used equipment, but that did not pan out. In the end they used only half of what the Quorum Court had allocated. County employees have 24/7 access to the center with a swipe card entry. Law enforcement personnel working night shifts also can take advantage of the facility at any time. A TV with a DVD player is available to play an array of exercise videos. In an effort to encourage staff of all fitness levels, Buckner brought in a ping pong table. The staff has held many tournaments through the years, which has the added bonus of team building and comradery. 24

Pulaski County has now hired a Wellness Coordinator, Chris Barnett, to take over the reins. Barnett has acquired some new equipment for the Wellness Center. He is available to county employees for consultation and training, and he sends out a Becky Comet newsletter with advice on a host AAC Member Benefits Manager of topics. Baxter County is in the beginning stages of adding a wellness center. The county purchased a building on the courthouse square, and a Wellness Committee is exploring possibilities for this space. The building needs work to bring it up to code, and the committee is looking for grants to cover that cost. The committee is discussing how to raise funds and what equipment they might be able to acquire. Human Resources Director Sue Edwards says, “It’s all baby steps.” On-site health and fitness facilities will have some concrete and measurable benefits for the county. However, some benefits will be far less measurable but far more beneficial in the lives of county employees. Counties do not have to start big. It will be an ongoing yet worthwhile project. BONUS IDEA: The Baxter County Wellness Committee has a vision for more than just a Wellness Center. They do not have a good space for a community garden. So, since a number of the employees have their own gardens, they are looking at starting “produce sharing” days. This is not a farmers’ market. No money will exchange hands. They will simply share the fruits of their labor with each other.

Above: Pulaski County began its Wellness Center about 10 years ago. It began in a small room but eventually expanded into a larger area. County employees may use the center 24/7, and they now have access to a Wellness Coordinator. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

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Stabilizing Those in CRISIS County officials, leaders share update on Arkansas’ four CSUs


n Aug. 10, 2018, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his plan to open four crisis stabilization units (CSUs) across Arkansas in Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington counties. His announcement came after the Arkansas legislature passed Act 423 of 2017, which called for the funding of three units, totaling $5 million.

The state originally allocated funds for three CSUs, but after receiving four applications, Hutchinson requested an additional $1.4 million from the state’s Rainy Day fund to ensure the opening of all four CSUs. “These crisis stabilization units promise to provide a great deal of help to our state, not merely in helping [alleviate] jail overcrowding and assisting our firstresponders, but also in making sure that

those who need help are more likely to get it,” Hutchinson said. Fast-forward a year. How are the CSUs faring? AAC asked county judges, sheriffs and CSU directors and others, how the units are helping the mentally unstable, jails, law enforcement and their communities. — Story & Photos by Holland Doran

Sebastian County The Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit, located on The Guidance Center campus in Fort Smith, has been operating since March 2018. It was the first CSU to open in the state and the “first integrated system in the United States,” according to Gov. Hutchinson. The 16-bed CSU sees on average 88 patients a month, which “means we’ve had a good month,” said The Guidance Center CEO Rusti Holwick. “We try not to get above 13 at a time; we have reached capacity a couple of times,” Holwick said.

Holwick works with a team of healthcare professionals that provide patients with individual therapy, group therapy, case management, medication management and after-care planning. “Our staff is just so well coordinated, they really are,” Holwick said. “They are kind of a family.” The Guidance Center staff has not only gelled with each other, they’ve synced well with county and local agencies in order to keep residents going through a mental crisis out of jail and in a safe place where they can receive the help they desperately need.

“It’s really been a learning experience for all us,” Holwick said. “And we have really have done pretty good for those of us who don’t normally interact. Now we have good relationships with the judges, with the sheriffs, and the jails and the law enforcement officers, and EMTs and ambulance drivers.” CSU staff also has formed bonds with patients. “We have success stories all of the time,” said CSU Director Joey Potts. She recalls one specific patient who has been to jail multiple times and is a regular at the CSU.

Patient beds in the Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit. 26


AAC “Sometimes when he gets in trouble, he’ll meet with me and say this is what is going on; what should I do?” she said. “I feel like we’ve probably kept him from reoffending by the bond we’ve developed with him.” The CSU receives patients from six counties: Sebastian Crawford, Franklin, Polk, Scott and Logan. Because EMTs and officers find it a challenge to travel to rural areas of the counties to retrieve or assess a patient, Holwick hopes to launch a pilot program that will include a mobile response team comprised of a crisis intervention trained officer and a men-


tal health professional. The team will use Skype-like technology to connect from remote locations with professionals at the CSU to assess whether a patient needs to be brought in. “Our goal is to be able to benefit those in far out counties such as Mena in Polk County,” Holwick said. She applauds Sebastian County Judge David Hudson for supporting all those involved in operating in the CSU. “Judge Hudson has been such a great partner,” Holwick said. “He keeps people in the forefront and supports our efforts. It’s been a really good partnership.”

Pulaski County The Pulaski County CSU has admitted more than 470 pa- helps the transition from officer to the CSU be more fluid. tients since it opened in July 2018 and has managed to stay “I know the sheriff’s department is working with everyone within budget, which is a success, according to Pulaski County well and even doing some screenings at the intake level at the Judge Barry Hyde. jail when they recognize that someone should maybe not be “I’m very proud to have gotten this project off the ground,” coming to the jail, but coming to the CSU,” Hyde said. he said. “We need to try to keep it moving forward and mainHyde has hopes the CSU will continue to expand its influtain our momentum.” ence in communities. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)sup“I hope to see a 5 to 10 percent growth each month going plies the CSU with a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, social forward for the next four to five months,” Hyde said. “Once workers, prescribers and psychiatric technicians around the clock. we’ve hit that one-year mark and we’re consistently at capacThey work in partnerships with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s ity, then hopefully we can see at least a 2 to 4 percent growth Department and local emergency management technicians to each month.” care for patients from Pulaski, Perry, Saline, Lonoke, Jefferson Hyde added that he wants to take in more people, but he and Grant counties. wants to make sure it’s “done the right way.” “This is a great example of a community partnership,” CSU “We want to make sure that our officers and staff at the CSU Director Lisa Evans, assistant professor at the UAMS Department continue to work safely, that they do very thorough jobs, effecof Psychiatry, said at the CSU’s ribbon cutting ceremony last July. tive jobs in evaluating the clients, and continue building that “It’s so exciting to be a part of this, to nurture this unit and watch reputation so our officers can trust them and our patients can it grow as we learn how to better serve this population.” trust them and we put them in the right position to be able to The CSU’s overarching mission is to place people arrested be successful.” for nonviolent offenses who are experiencing mental health crises in a safe place where they can receive professional care they cannot receive in a jail. Most jails and emergency rooms are not equipped to do this, Hyde said. “We know that there’s a large population out there that needs these services and we know for a fact that many of these folks end up repeatedly in the emergency rooms or repeatedly in the county jail,” Hyde said. “These two places they are not getting the services they need; they run up bills and take up space, which are tremendous burdens on the system.” Because patients cannot be admitted to the CSU without a law enforcement officer trained in crisis intervention procedures, Hyde says the officers have taken the initiative to assess potential patients before they are put in jail. This Entrance of the Pulaski County Crisis Stabilization Unit. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019




Washington County The Washington County Crisis Stabilization Unit (NWACSU) in Fayetteville opened June 14, 2019, and will take residents from Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties. It is located in the former Washington County Emergency Operations Center, which was renovated for approximately $250,000. Healthcare professionals from Ozark Guidance staff the facility. Ozark Guidance Director of Crisis Stabilization Service Kristen McAlister says the CSU will have a positive affect on residents. "There will be a benefit to the community in diverting individuals from jail who don't need to be there," McAlister said in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article. "It will also benefit

Entrance of the Washington County CSU.

the community by diverting people from emergency rooms and hospitals and getting those people help quickly and efficiently so they can return to their communities." Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder is confident the NWACSU will be a “great asset to law enforcement.” “For the first time law enforcement will have a viable option when dealing with someone in crisis,” Helder said. “Prior to the CSU program, officers’ main option was jail. We all know jails are ill equipped to deal with acute mental illness.” Washington County Judge Joseph Wood says the unit has brought officials and law enforcement together. “We have support from county judges in Benton County, Madison County and Carroll County,” Wood said. “The law enforcement community has been very integral and supportive in the preparation of the CSU, and over 140 officers have completed the crisis intervention training.” Judicial Equality for Mental Illness and the University of Arkansas Substance Abuse and Wellness Department has also shown their support. “Our hope is that patients will receive the necessary treatment to stabilize their current situation and that they get referred to a community mental health treatment facility for long-term treatment,” Wood said. “It is also believed that those going to the NWACSU will be a diversion from going to the County jail as they get the treatment they need to address their mental health.”

Craighead County The Craighead County CSU doors are not open yet, but they Boyd said the facility will allow officers to divert individuals suffering from a mental health crisis from jail to a place where are set to welcome patients early this fall. The construction of the facility is $800,000, and will serve they can receive specialized, one-on-one care. “If we can place someone in the CSU the first time instead residents in Craighead, Poinsett, Clay, Mississippi, Greene, Randolph, Cross, Phillips, Lawrence and Crittenden counties. of incarceration, they are 70 percent less likely to reoffend and The new facility will be located next to the Craighead County enter the criminal justice system,” Boyd said. “This will not only Jail in Jonesboro, and is partnering with Mid-South Health Sys- allow our jails to house the people that need to be out of society, but also reduce the cost to our facilities.” tems, which will provide a team of healthcare professionals. Craighead County Judge Marvin Day says residents have already seen the value of the CSU. “We’ve had an outpouring of support from citizens who have loved ones with mental illnesses such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others like that,” Day said. “They don’t want them going to jail. The CSU is the perfect place to bring them so they can get the treatment and care they need.” Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd, who has been a part of the project since it began, is thankful for the community support. “We have received good response from our community and have had several business already donate work equipment to help with the construction cost of the facility,” Construction site of the Craighead County CSU. Boyd said. 28



Tommy Young L


AAC board welcomes Jackson County JP

ife moves fast for Jackson County Justice of the Peace Tommy Young. “My on sign is never off,” Young said. But, he doesn’t complain. He relishes opportunities to serve through the quorum court, whether that means he’s installing lampposts in a park or working to fund a jail “It’s humbling for me to be able to have a role that people depend on you to manage their hard earned tax dollars,” he said. Young recently added another venture to his list: serving on the Association of Arkansas Counties’ (AAC) Board of Directors. The Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts’ 12-Member Executive Board elected Young to the AAC board during its semi-annual meeting on April 19. “For me to be able to go to Little Rock, Arkansas, and be able to be elected from a local level to serve at the state level on the AAC Executive Board, I feel really, really humbled,” he said. He hopes to contribute to the board by first being “a good listener.” “I also want to understand the intricate operations of the AAC and be able to help make certain the AAC is being managed in a way that is financially sound.” His expertise in finances and his desire for “things to be done the right way” has landed him in many leadership roles. “It seems like I’ve always rose to the role of being a leader,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of good teachers, instructors and role models that I’ve always tried to please.” He was nominated by the Riceland Foods board and appointed by former governors Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, to serve on the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board, on which he’s sat for


12 years. During this time, he served as chairman for two terms. He serves as chairman of the advisory board of the U.S. Grains Counsel and the Jackson County Extension Council, and has served as president of the Jackson County Farm Bureau Board. He also serves on the nominating committee of AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, and is the founding chairman and president of the Trails to Tuckerman Historical Society. Young was re-elected to the Jackson County Quorum Court for his sixth term this year, and serves as chairman of the budget committee and vice chair of the jail committee. Young praises his fellow justices of the peace for always making sure “everything is correct and right.” “It’s not hard to be a part of the quorum court when you have such good people sitting around the table with you,” he said. “We have such good quorum court members from their districts that don’t put self interest ahead of their constituents.” As a practiced public servant, Young has seen Jackson County tackle many arduous projects. One that he can hang his hat on is the passing of a sales tax increase to fund a “first-class” jail that can hold 117 inmates. “I’m just glad I’m a part of it,” he said. “All the people involved worked together so well and made this come to pass.” Before serving on any committee, Young only knew farm life in Tuckerman, where’s he’s lived for 55 years. By the fourth grade, he was already assisting his brother as the ‘seed man” on his family’s farm. His parents, Eva and James Young, Sr., began farming in the foothills around

Charlotte, after getting married in 1939. They then moved to Jackson County and began farming a piece of property. His two older brothers — James Jr. and Ronald — farmed with their father until he retired in 1982. Young joined their operation after graduating from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro with a bachelor’s degree in management. Today, Young is a farming partner and irrigation dealer with his brothers and two nephews, Blake and Jim Young III. Young’s Generation Three Partnership Farms produces more than 1,400 acres of rice and corn, 2,500 acres of seed wheat and 3,800 acres of seed soybeans. The most rewarding aspect of the farm business is working with his family, who all live on the same street in Tuckerman. “I enjoy working with my family, brothers and nephews, and having them close by every day and to be able to go through life with them,” Young said. The Young’s business has been recognized over the years. They were chosen as Jackson County Farm Family of the Year about 18 years ago, and they were chosen for the honor again this year. In their free time, Young and his wife of 32 years, Amy, love spending time with their family at Greer’s Ferry Lake. They are also blessed to raise their nieces and nephews, Haley, Cody and Andrew Shoffner. 29



A Treasure Lonoke County judge is dedicated to preserving historic courthouse.


Story and photos by Holly Hope Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

he 1928 Lonoke County Courthouse in Lonoke is the third seat of government for the county. When it was built, The Lonoke Democrat stated it would probably be adequate for the “next fifty years.” In fact, it has outlasted the previous buildings by several decades. Little Rock architect H. Ray Burks designed the Lonoke County Courthouse in the Neo-Classical style. The red brick veneer of the building was complimented with limestone details, including cartouche keystones, full-height Doric columns, urn balustrades, paneled friezes, and Art Deco ornamentation. Each elevation of this public building is exuberantly articulated, resulting in an impressive classic presentation appropriate to a seat of government. Lonoke County was created from Pulaski and Prairie counties in 1873. That same year the town of Lonoke was appointed the county seat, making it the only city in Arkansas by the same name as the county. An existing two-story frame house 30

was used as the official Lonoke County courthouse in the year of formation. A fire in 1881 destroyed the structure, so the county rented several spaces, including a funeral home, for official business. In 1884 the Circuit Court selected a commission to propose a new courthouse. An architect was hired, and a two-story brick building with Italianate influences was completed in 1885 for $15,000. By the 1920s, the courthouse had deteriorated and the county had outgrown the building. The Lonoke County Quorum Court approved new construction for a courthouse and jail in 1924, and a formal contract for the construction of the county’s third courthouse was executed in 1927. The Courthouse Commission approved Burks’ plans in 1925 and notice was let for construction bids. Nov. 15, 1927, was scheduled for the formal ground breaking and a holiday was declared. The laying of the cornerstone took place on May 14, 1928. Sen. Joseph T. Robinson of Lonoke County was the featured speaker for an estimated crowd of 2,000 people who were entertained with singing, speeches, and circling airplanes. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

Left: The Lonoke County Courthouse, the third one for the county, was designed in a mixture of Classical, Doric, Roman, and Georgian architecture. Top left: Grey Italian marble wainscoting lines the hallways. The polychrome cream and maroon floor tiles keep the grey of the walls from muting the presentation. Top right: The 1928 Lonoke County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Right: The courtroom is an open, brightly lit room. The symmetrical elevations of the four-story building with full basement display a combination of Classical, Doric, Roman, and Georgian architecture. The front, west façade is articulated in an orderly fashion by two corner bays flanking a central, full-height portico. Floor-to-ceiling multi-paned Roman arched windows and large double-hung openings light the second and third floors. These windows are visually anchored between floors through the use of cast stone panels and stretcher bricks. This device enables the disparate openings to read as continuous vertical elements. A similar mechanism is employed on the north and south corner bays. Centered curving cast stone steps carry the eye to the double wood and glass doors of the main entrance. Roman influence also is utilized on the doors in the form of a stone arch with decorative keystone and moldings featuring geometric details. Art Deco wrought-iron grids embellish the doors and associated fanlight. Doors often suffer inappropriate alterations or destruction, but the Department of Arkansas Heritage provided $15,000 to the county for restoration of the north, south COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

and west doors in 1997, maintaining an important aspect of the historic exterior. Full-height Doric columns and pilasters create a five-bay portico in the center of the façade. Stone urn balustrades span the voids between columns on the second floor. The main elevation is further dramatized with a centered full-height Roman window above the second floor entry doors. Georgian Revival elements are expressed here in the use of a multi-light fan transom within a stone Roman arch and decorative keystone. The complex window of stationary and awning components is situated behind a classical cast stone balconette with urn balustrade and heavy stone brackets. A continuous stone frieze traversing three elevations of the building at the rooftop parapet displays a centered relief carving reading “Lonoke County Courthouse.” A segmented arch above the frieze exhibits an elaborate foliated date stone. The north and south elevations of the courthouse are mirror images, and although these are subordinate entrances, the See


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symmetrical and vertical Classical order seen on the front fa- ture. No longer used as such, the county received a $10,000 çade is carried through. Burks also utilized linear devices in the grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 1994 form of projecting entry bays, secondary projecting stairwell to convert the jail for storage. The Lonoke County jail asbays, linear stone elements, and window surrounds. Other sociated with the 1885 courthouse was a separate building, stone details on this bay include flanking Doric columns ris- which was considered inconvenient. The current courthouse ing to a heavy entablature that incorporated the old jail cells supports the surround of a within 9-inch reinforced conRoman entry arch, a large focrete walls on a 6-inch conhe county has retained an interest in liated keystone, coping at the crete floor. Two original barred inverted arch of the bay’s paraand solid steel doors rethe historic integrity of this complex doors pet, and slender stone decoramain. A dumbwaiter to take tive panels. An added vertical food from the first floor to the building, and in fact, County Judge Doug element on this elevation is a jail is intact within a closet. brickwork line of basket weave The historic Lonoke County Erwin has stated his main goal is the preserdiamond shapes. Courthouse was listed on the While impressively appointNational Register of Historic vation of the courthouse. ed, the interior spaces are not Places on June 8, 1982. Fortuoverwhelmed by busy details. nately, the county has retained After the active architecture of an interest in the historic integthe exterior, it lends a degree of calm and dignity appropriate rity of this complex building, and in fact, County Judge Doug to the building’s use. The central entrance foyer features heavy Erwin has stated that his main goal is the preservation of the cross beams and an original light fixture. Classical details are courthouse. As with the 1885 structure, the county has outexhibited in Roman arches, large multi-pane fanlights and grown the building and the possibility of moving the justice pronounced cornice molding. Grey Italian marble wainscot- center closer to the Lonoke County Jail has been discussed. ing lines the hallways. The polychrome cream and maroon However, Judge Erwin stated he would like to see the county floor tiles keep the grey of the walls from muting the presenta- retain the 1928 Lonoke County Courthouse “forever.” tion. A light, wrought-iron balustrade at the north and south staircases complements the delicate eighteen-light entrance doors and multi-pane fanlights. Among the many programs and services of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the County Courthouse Restoration Grant Program. Created in 1989, this The courtroom is an open, brightly lit grant program has helped to extend the lives of courthouses that hold vital links to room featuring floor-to-ceiling arched community pride and local history. These grants are funded through the Real Estate windows. Light paneled walls are an apTransfer Tax, administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Since the beginning of the program, the AHPP has awarded $24 million to 74 historic propriate contrast to the dark wood of courthouses and courthouse annexes around the state for use in rehabilitating, preservthe coffered judge’s bench and graceful ing and protecting these important historic resources. Since 1994, Lonoke County turned spindle bar between the counsel has received nine grants totaling $320,300 from the Department of Arkansas Heritage. area and gallery. Pronounced molding AHPP County Courthouse Restoration Grants creates a Roman arch behind the judge’s awarded for Lonoke County Courthouse bench. Centered in the arch is a small FY1994 Jail conversion $10,000 stained glass window with decorative FY1995 Exterior cleaning and repair $15,000 molding that lights the fourth floor inFY1996 Complete 1994 grant repairs; terior hallway. In a 1978 renovation, a replace wrought-iron fence $5,000 FY1997 Restoration of north, south and west doors $15,000 100-seat balcony was removed from the FY2003 Install chairlift $40,000 rear of the Circuit Courtroom. FY2004 Install ADA components for courtroom, restrooms $40,000 The fourth floor is hidden behind a FY2006 ADA components for restrooms $9,000 brick parapet at the roof level. At the FY2013 Masonry repair $45,000 FY2014 Elevator $141,300 time of the building’s construction this was touted as a method of preventing Grand Total $320,300 escape from the rooftop jail, as well as camouflage to hide the utilitarian struc-






Entegrity employees install solar panels near the new Phillips County Justice Complex in Helena. energy production from the solar panels will offset current electric utility consumption for the Phillips County courthouse, health department and renovated John Deere building, which will house county and city staff. — Photo courtesy of Entegrity

Phillips County ready to ‘go solar’ with new $1 million project


Story by Wesley Brown Talk Business & Politics

rmed with the new Solar Access Act enacted into law during the 92nd General Assembly, Phillips County is racing to become the first county in the Natural State to install a solar energy system to power all of its local operations. According to details of the first-of-its-kind arrangement in the Delta, Phillips County officials have entered into a $1 million contract with Little Rock-based Entegrity Partners to install an initial 400kW (kilowatts) of solar photovoltaic array, with the capacity to add another 600kw of solar power in the future. The solar installation is expected to generate a total of 593,000 kWh of clean energy annually, enough to power 48 Arkansas homes for a year. Rick Vance, regional director for Little Rock-based Entegrity Partners, told Talk Business & Politics that the project will be 100 percent funded by the utility cost savings and will provide the Delta county a positive cashflow investment that offsets ongoing power costs. “The big factor, the thing that is putting this all together, is the cost,” said Vance. “The costs to manufacture these panels and other components with solar have come way down. And then the costs to install it … has also come down.” Before discussions on the project began near the end of COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019

2018, Vance said Entegrity officials were already working with the city of Helena-West Helena on another energy efficiency project when they were contacted by Phillips County Judge Clark Hall. He said Hall wanted the “bling effect,” or something to catch the attention of the rest of the state. “He said he was tired of people in Pulaski County telling us over here (in the Delta) that we’re doing things backwards,” said Vance. “He knew there were savings, he knew there was a cost-effective approach to it, but he also wanted to make a statement.” Once those conversations began, Vance said Entegrity did a full assessment and audit of the county’s facilities, utility bills and energy needs. The fast-growing energy services firm, which also has a Northwest Arkansas location in Fayetteville and regional offices in Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee, then put together a turnkey solution that included installing a solar package that will meet the energy needs of the county today and later. “They said we may need more in the future, so this system is installed with the capacity to do more,” said Vance. “So, if down the road, they want to increase production, it will be very, very easy for them to do some the way they are doing things now.” See

“SOLAR” on

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SOLAR The solar project will be installed near the new Phillips County Justice Complex in Helena that East-Harding Construction of Little Rock is currently building near U.S. Highway 49. Once installed, energy production from the solar panels will offset current electric utility consumption for the Phillips County courthouse, health department and renovated John Deere building, which will house county and city staff. Vance said the solar powered system, which will include 1,194 panels on 1.25 acres of county land, will be combined with new lighting and other energy efficiency upgrades guaranteed to produce a minimum of $81,380 savings annually for the county. Over the 30-year lifetime of the project, there will be over $2 million in savings, he said. The Phillips County energy efficiency and solar system projects are expected to begin this summer and scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2019. Vance said Phillips County will be the second county in the state of Arkansas to install a solar system and the first to use the sun-fueled energy source to power county facilities. “Phillips County is proud to be engaged in using renewable energy sources to offset the county’s carbon footprint,” said Judge Hall. “We are excited this project will save the taxpayers over $2 million over the life of this project.”

Session Results: ‘Booming Interest’ in Solar Projects

According to Vance and Katie Niebaum, executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, the main reason for the “booming interest” in such projects is the Solar Access Act sponsored by Sen. Dave Wallace, R-Leachville, during the recent legislative session, along with two other energy priority bills supported by the state’s advanced energy sector. During debate in the legislative session on Wallace’s Senate Bill 145 that is now the Solar Access Act, Public Service Commission Chairman Ted Thomas said the “big picture” legislation to expand the state’s solar marketplace could be a boon for the Arkansas economy — if policymakers are willing to adopt a free market approach that encourages new technologies. After the bill was easily approved by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson during a well-attended ceremony at the state Capitol, Niebaum said at the time that SB 145 would enhance access to low-cost solar energy by enabling third-party financing options. Under the new legislation, the solar array size limit for commercial and industrial net-metering customers increased from 300 kw to 1 MW, cutting red tape and reducing leadtime for projects, supporters say. The measure also adds a grandfathering provision to provide market certainty for 34

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customers that submit a standard interconnection agreement before Dec. 31, 2022. As noted by Vance, this financing tool is particularly important for non-tax entities, such as schools, churches, cities and counties, colleges and universities, state agencies, and non-profits. Now with the option of a third-party solar services contract, these non-tax entities can take full advantage of federal incentives and unlock capital to invest in local communities, he said. Besides Wallace’s legislation, Niebaum also highlights Acts 507 and 1090 that were enacted into law during the session. They will also help spur greater adoption of advanced energy solutions and savings for renewable power users, she said. Act 507, sponsored by Sen. Lance Eads, R-Springdale, provides public entities with additional flexibility and support utilizing the state’s Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) program. The legislation will allow a guaranteed energy cost savings contract to align the measure’s active warranty period or combined useful life, instead of capping a contract at 20 years under current law. The bill also allows school districts to opt into the existing program. Act 1090, sponsored by Sen Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, amends the state’s Local Government Capital Improvement Revenue Bond Act for performance-based efficiency projects. It is designed to help municipalities utilize revenue bonds to fund projects under the AEPC program. “Advanced energy technologies are an economic driver for the state,” said Niebaum. “Thanks to the engagement and effective leadership of these legislators, more Arkansans will reap the benefits of advanced energy solutions and advanced energy jobs will continue to grow.” Now with the Phillips County project on its plate, Vance said Entegrity has been contacted by several cities and counties, schools and other government agencies in the Delta and Northeast region of the state that are also interested in similar projects as the price tag for such renewable energy developments continues to decline. He said the energy services firm’s pipeline for such projects is growing as local officials learn more about the new laws. “We are in talks with many, many entities and, surprisingly it is coming out of that Northeast and Southeast Delta region right now,” he said. “A lot of that is because of land, and a lot of that they are looking at their (economic) situation and saying, ‘how can we be different?’” Talk Business & Politics is a news website that covers business, politics and culture across all the Arkansas regions. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019



Logan County dedicates new detention center, sheriff’s office Logan County Judge Ray Gack and former Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the new Logan County Detention Center and Sheriff’s Office. They are joined by state and county officials and leaders.

Above left: Logan County Judge Ray Gack speaks to the dedication ceremony crowd. Above right: Former Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks speaks to dedication attendees.


ogan County Judge Ray Gack called the opening of the county’s new 100-bed detention center and sheriff’s office a “historic moment” for the county during a dedication ceremony Wednesday, May 22. County, state and local officials and leaders including Gack, Logan County Sheriff Jason Massey, former Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks, Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston and legislators joined a large group of residents in cutting a ceremonial ribbon and giving tours of the new building. Gack said public safety is one of many reasons that led the county to build the new facility. “They (residents) are going to be safer and law enforcement will be able to protect them better,” said Gack. Construction for the facility, located at 201 S. Lowder St. in Paris, began in November 2016, and was funded by a halfcent sales tax that will eventually expire. Sheriff Massey says the jail should be up and running in about three weeks after their detention officers’ have been trained on how to use the facility. Far left: The dedication ceremony attendees line up outside the front of the facility. Left: Logan County Sheriff Jason Massey signs the ceremonial ribbon.

Right: Detention center employees work at central command station. Right center: A look inside a room that will serve as a common space for inmates. Far right: The jail has a brand new law enforcement training room. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019




Gov. Asa Hutchinson awards $586,633.14 in Rural Services grants to 49 cities, counties Story courtesy of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission


ov. Asa Hutchinson presented grants totaling $586,633.14 to 49 cities and counties throughout Arkansas at a ceremony held today at the annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference, held at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Rural Services grants fall into one of three programs: the Rural Community Grant Program, the County Fair Building Grant Program, and the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program. All require a 50 percent matching grant to be eligible for the programs. “In order for Arkansas to be a leader on the national stage, we must support our rural communities,” said Hutchinson. “A huge number of Arkansans live in rural areas, and the Rural Services grants go a long way toward improving the quality of life for our citizens who live in areas of the state that may get overlooked by other support programs.” A total of $325,459.58 was awarded to 32 cities and counties under the Rural Community Grant Program. Applicants from incorporated towns of less than 3,000 in population and unincorporated rural areas are eligible for up to $15,000 in matching funds under the program for community development and fire protection projects. A total of $45,804.56 was awarded to 13 counties under the County Fair Building Grant Program. Under the program, county fairs located in counties with a population of less than 55,000 are eligible for up to $4,000 per fiscal year for construction, renovation or general improvements of buildings or purchase of items shown to directly improve the building or the services that the county fair association may provide. Four counties received a total of $215,369.00 under the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program to improve roads with a reduced negative environmental impact on priority water re-

County Fair Building Grants

$4,000.00 $3,000.00 $2,600.00 $4,000.00 $2,214.56 $4,000.00 $4,000.00 $4,000.00 $2,000.00 $4,000.00 $7,500.00 $4,000.00 $4,000.00 $3,990.00

Carroll County Cleveland County Conway County Drew County Johnson County Lafayette County Lawrence County Little River County Franklin County Perry County Poinsett County Searcy County Logan County Woodruff County

Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grants Calhoun County Dallas County Independence County Washington County

$27,500.00 $50,369.00 $70,000.00 $67,500.00

sources. The program focuses on best management practices that reduce the impact of sediment and road runoff to streams, rivers, and drinking water supplies while reducing long term unpaved county road maintenance costs.

Right: Conway County recieves a $2,600 County Fair Building Grant. Far right: Perry County receives a $7,500 County Fair Building grant. Photos courtesy of the Governor’s Office. 36




Above left: Woodruff County receives a $3,990 County Fair Building Grant. Above right: Lawrence County receives a $4,000 County Fair Building Grant.

Above left: Drew County receives a $4,000 County Fair Building Grant. Above right: Johnson County receives a $2,214.56 County Fair Building Grant.

Above left: Little River County receives a $4,000 County Fair Building Grant. Above right: Dallas County receives a $50,369 Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant.

Above left: Calhoun County receives a $27,500 Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant. Above right: Franklin County receives a $2,000 County Fair Building Grant. Photos are courtesy of the Governor’s Office. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019




August 21‐23, 2019







_________________________ TITLE ___________________________________




_________________________ STATE ______________ ZIP _______________



SPOUSE / GUEST REGISTERING YES __________ NO __________

(Pre‐Registration ‐ $80 for Spouse / $125 for Guest)

SPOUSE / GUEST NAME _____________________________________________ (Non‐County Employee)

AMOUNT ENCLOSED: __________ (Make Check Payable to: Association of Arkansas Counties) CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FEES MUST ACCOMPANY THIS FORM BEFORE REGISTRATION CAN BE PROCESSED REFUND POLICY: Notify AAC Office before 4:30 PM on Wednesday, August 7th to Receive Refund of Conference Registration Fees – NO Refunds will be Issued After August 7th

COMPLETE REGISTRATION AND MAIL WITH PAYMENT TO: Association of Arkansas Counties • 1415 West Third Street • Little Rock, AR 72201 or E‐Mail to abaker@arcounties.org For registration questions please call: (501) 372‐7550


We would like to order ____________ copies of the 2019-2022 AAC Directory of County and District Officials. Enclosed is $__________ for __________ copies at $15.00 each. NAME:_________________________________________ ADDRESS:_______________________________________ CITY:___________________________________________ STATE:____________________ ZIP CODE:_____________

MAIL THIS ORDER FORM TO: Association of Arkansas Counties 1415 West Third Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Please make checks payable to: Association of Arkansas Counties



AAC Executive Director Chris Villines holds up an Index of County Government Acts that was given to more than 160 county officials during a two-day legislative recap held May 3 and May 10. Villines gave a synopsis of bills passed by the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly that will affect county government offices.

AAC Chief Legal Counsel Mark Whitmore covered acts that will directly affect sheriffs, coroners and judges. A few of these acts pertain to jail booking fees, road maintenance funds and deputy coroner training.


AAC Legal Counsel Lindsey Bailey covered acts that will directly affect assessors, county clerks/elections and justices of the peace.

AAC Consultant Eddie Jones covered acts that directly affect treasurers and constitutional amendements that will be referred to voters on the 2020 ballot. Significant acts include those pertaining to the increase of the homestead propery tax credit from $350 to $375. AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis covered acts that will directly affect circuit clerks and collectors.





Above: Greene County Treasurer and AAC Board Member Debbie Cross (center) makes a comment during a discussion. Above, right: Calhoun County Sheriff Vernon Morris talks with Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright before the meeting. Right: Pulaski County Chief Deputy Treasurer Bentley Hovis and Pulaski County Treasurer’s Office Accountant Cynthia Dennis pose for a photo.

Desha County Assessor Jessica Ferguson, Desha County Clerk Valerie Donaldson and Desha Justice of the Peace Dollie Wilson pose for a photo.

Above: Clay County Judge Mike Patterson (left) talks with colleagues who attended the legislative recap. Left: Pope County Judge Ben Cross and Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap chat during a break in the meeting. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019




Left: The Columbia County Courthouse annex is housed in a renovated elementary school building. Top: A plaque at the entrance recognizes Judge Larry Atkinson, the quorum court, architects and contractors. Each county official has a similar plaque with their names outside their door.

Columbia County unveils new courthouse annex


arly this year, Columbia County Assessor Sandra Cawyer, Collector Rachel Waller, and Treasurer Selena Blair moved into a new courthouse annex just a short distance from the historic courthouse. The county held an open house on May 19. The event drew about 100 people throughout the day. County Clerk Tammy Wiltz will move into the annex soon. The annex is housed in a former elementary school that was renovated to fit each official’s needs. For instance, when they were housed in the courthouse, Assessor Cawyer’s office was upstairs while her staff worked downstairs. Now, the entire staff works in the same area. Each of the officials report their new space is larger and more accommodating than their former space in the courthouse. In addition, the building is outfitted with surveillance cameras that broadcast hallway activity to each office. In case of emergency, each office also features a secondary exit. The annex sits near the Road Department, on about 15 acres of land, which Treasurer Blair said would be ideal for expanding the building in the future. County Judge Larry Atkinson has kept his office in the courthouse on the square in downtown Magnolia. Top Right: Columbia County Clerk Selena Blair’s office features many windows, a book room, plenty of storage and more. Middle Right: Each of the staff members in County Assessor Sandra Cawyer’s office have plenty of room to work. Bottom Right: In addition to a spacious office, County Collector Rachel Waller’s space includes bullet-proof windows for interaction with the public. 42




Far left: Safety conference attendees greet each other before the meeting begins. Left: AAC Loss Control Consultant Ed Piker welcomes safety conference attendees to the meeting.

More than 100 attend annual safety meeting AAC Risk Management Services held its annual Safety Conference on Wednesday, May 8. County officials and employees heard from professionals on avoiding slips, trips and falls in the workplace; electrical safety for construction workers; seven components of a health and safety plan; reducing jail injuries and avoiding excessive force claims; and an active shooter emergency action plan.

Risk Management Administrative Assistant Kim Mitchell, Claims Manager Debbie Lakey and Risk Management Director Debbie Norman check in attendees.

AAC Risk Management Director Debbie Norman welcomes attendees to the meeting and introduces Loss Control Consultant Ed Piker. AAC Litigation Counsel JaNan Thomas and AAC Risk Management Services Counsel Brandy McCallister talk with Lt. Ron Routh of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019



PHOTO RECAP Coroners receive training in death investigation

Chief Forensics Investigator at Onodaga County Medical Examiner’s Office Brian Ehret, F-ABMDI (far left), speaks with Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs, Saline County Deputy Coroner Jeff McLain, Sebastian County Coroner Kenny Hobbs and Baxter County Coroner Brad Hays.

Above: Boone County Chief Deputy Coroner Aaron Gutting inspects a Band-Aid at mock death scene investigation. Conference attendees were asked to determine the cause and manner of death of a fake victim.


The Arkansas Coroners’ Association held its “Bridging in the Gap Symposium 2019” May 2-3, in Little Rock/ Pulaski County. Coroners and deputy coroners delved into topics such as medicolegal death and fire death investigations. They also participated in a mock investigation where they observed a scene to determined the cause and manner of death of a staged death.

Above: Cleveland County Deputy Coroner Ruth Taylor and Cleveland County Coroner Linda Newman discuss a mock scene investigation. Left: Karen Cummings with the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office and Saline County Chief Deputy Coroner Allyn West talk during a break. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019



Twelve justices of the peace were elected to serve on the executive board. Front row: Lonoke County Justice of the Peace Henry Lang, Jackson County Justice of the Peace Tommy Young, and Drew County Justice of the Peace Carole Bulloch (secretary/treasurer). Second row: Faulkner County Justice of the Peace Randy Higgins (vice-president), Sebastian County Justice of the Peace Danny Aldridge, Miller County Justice of the Peace Carl Standridge, White County Justice of the Peace Bobby Burns, Pike County Justice of the Peace John Plyler, and Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Curtis Keith. Back row: Benton County Justice of the Peace Susan Anglin, Boone County Justice of the Peace David Thompson (president), and Lincoln County Justice of the Peace David Rochell.

AAQC holds semi-annual meeting, elects executive board

Despite a stormy day, the majority of those on the 75-member governing body attended the meeting. Pictured above are Sharp County Justice of the Peace Briana DiIorio and Saline County Justice of the Peace Tammy Schmidt.

The 75-member governing body of the Arkansas Association of Quorum Court (AAQC) held its semi-annual meeting at the AAC on April 13. 2019. The body elected its 12-member executive board, and Sen. Jason Rapert was the featured speaker, breaking down the results of the 2019 legislative session. Far left: State Sen. Jason Rapert was the featured speaker at the meeting. He discussed the successes of the 2019 legislative session, presented AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis with several mementos to mark his hard work during the session, and he played “The Arkansas Traveler” on his fiddle, accompanied by White County Justice of the Peace Bobby Burns on mandolin. Left: Lincoln County Justice of the Peace David Rochell and Phillips County Justice of the Peace Lenora Marshall participate in the election of first congressional district representatives.





Collectors meet in Little Rock for spring conference The Arkansas County Tax Collectors Association held its spring conference at the AAC in Little Rock/Pulaski County, April 11-12, 2019. Collectors received an update on legislation passed during the session, participated in a question and answer session and discussed ways their offices can better serve citizens.

A room full of collectors and deputy collectors listen to AAC Executive Director Chris Villines give an overview of bills the Arkansas legislature passed this past session that will affect their offices.

Left: County collectors gather for a group photo. Above: Saline County Collector and Arkansas County Tax Collectors Association Vice President Joy Ballard speaks during a question and answer session. Crittenden County Collector and Arkansas County Tax Collectors Association President Ellen Foote welcome a room full of collectors and deputy collectors to their conference. Washington County’s Chief Deputy Collector Melissa Clark, Deputy Collector Janice Donovan and Deputy Collector Belinda Grube smile for a photo. 46


AAC AAC a m i l yo n f e rr ei enncdes »




Association of Arkansas Counties Workers’ Compensation Trust

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hen you participate in the A A C Wo r k e r s ’ C o m p e n sa tio n Tru s t, you can relax in the hands of professional staff members who are going to take care of your needs. The AAC team has decades of experience in handling county government claims – t h e y ’ r e s i m p l y t h e b e s t a t w h a t t h e y d o ! Did we mention that participants in our plan are accustomed to getting money back? Since we started paying dividends in 1997, the AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust has declared almost $ 2 8 MI L L I O N dollars in dividends, payable to members of the fund. In fact, we mailed $750,000 in savings back to member counties in August 2018.

The service is available for any size county government and other county government-related entities. We’ve got you

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Debbie Norman

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501.375.8805, ext. 546

501.375.8805, ext. 545

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501.375.8805, ext. 540



1415 West Third Street • Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

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




About NACo – The Voice of America’s Counties National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the U.S. NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.

Don’t let actions get ahead of culture Story by Tim Rahschuite, PH.D. For County News


ristotle said, “Change in all things is sweet.” From some perspectives, that may be true, but if you’ve ever experienced periods of big transformation or massive and disruptive change, you may very well take issue with Aristotle’s fervor in explaining it with such palatability. In business and in life, even change brought about by a leader with a clear vision and proper planning can be fraught with risk and challenge. It’s for this reason that most efforts to bring about a new order of things fail. The odds of success are usually worse than the odds of failure. As David Pottruck, a former chief executive officer at Charles Schwab, said, when it comes to change, “the deck is stacked against you.” Regardless of the odds, most actions you take as a leader are in an effort to change the status quo to something better. This effort is necessary for anyone or any team, organization, or community hoping to keep pace in an increasingly competitive and complex world that is constantly changing. Nothing and no one survives, let alone realizes mild achievement or especially great success, without vision, preparation, and action to change. Business author Alan Deutschman reminded us of this fact, noting our option to either “Change or Die,” which was the title of his FastCompany article. Grim … but true. While you may think your organization — and the people within it — could change when it matters most, Deutschman warns that “you’re probably deluding yourself.” Decades of research confirm that only a small handful of change efforts are ever truly successful. If individual and cultural resistances to

change are greater than the compelling vision of the future and how to get there, the change will fail. The truth is, if there’s limited dissatisfaction in the current state of things, lackluster vision of a possible future state, and ambiguous or overly zealous steps to get there, cultural and human resistance will overcome the effort to realize the envisioned change every time. In addition to making sure there’s sufficient dissatisfaction in the current state, clarity in the vision of the future state, and proper preparation in the planned steps to get there, leaders can also increase their probability of success by ensuring their actions don’t outpace the readiness of their teams or enterprise of employees. Because any effort to realize a vision likely requires people to operate on the fringe of their capability and bring about new ways of performance and behaving, the best leaders know not to go too far beyond that fringe too quickly; otherwise, they end up in the fear zone, which will fuel significant resistance and freeze action. As you go about any aspect of change, you’ve got to make sure the path of change is aligned with a readiness to change. Any time you get change ahead of your employees’ readiness, you’re going to have problems. So be aware of the current state of change readiness, and don’t get your actions to bring about some change ahead of the employees’ readiness to act in support of that change. Tim Rahschulte is the CEO of the Professional Development Academy and chief architect of the NACo High Performance Leadership Program (www.naco.org/skills). He is the co-author of “My Best Advice: Proven Rules for Effective Leadership.”

75 Counties - One Voice COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019



STAFF PROFILE Law Clerk – Susan Thomas

Family information: I am a native Arkansan, born in Little Rock, and the yougest of four children. My siblings are scattered across the south and southwest from Biloxi, Miss., to Whitewright, Texas, to Albuquerque, N.M. We’re a tight-knit bunch and spend a week on the beach together each summer.

At the top of my bucket list is to: Travel. Travel. Travel. The hardest thing I have ever done is: I think law school is the hardest thing I’ve ever done; it certainly is the hardest I have ever worked for something. You might be surprised to learn that: I spent two weeks on a GoSendMeGlobal.com and Euro Relief refugee response team at Skala Sikamineas Stage 2 Camp and Moria Camp both on the Greek island of Lesvos.

My favorite meal: Fresh oysters on the half shell with saltines, lemons, horseradish, tons of Tabasco and an ice cold beer.

When I’m not working I’m: FascinatHow long have you been at AAC and can you ed with the original Hebrew and Greek S describe some of your successful projects? As I u s a n Thom texts of the Bible and spend a good deal as write this response, I am beginning my second day of time studying and journalising about as a law clerk at AAC, so I don’t have any successful biblical lexicology. On a less academic note, I am also projects to speak of just yet, but I’m looking forward attached at the hip to a black lab named JJ; as long as I to spending the summer here learning from great attorneys keep throwing the ball, he will keep fetching it. and serving the counties of Arkansas. The accomplishments of which I am most proud: I’m very proud of each of my educational and professional achievements, but the two things of which I am most proud are my work on the City of Fayetteville’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Project in 2005 and completing my Ph.D.

What do you like most about your position at AAC? I consider it a privilege to learn and grow as a law student in an environment that allows me to continue to be engaged in government and work alongside dedicated public servants.

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Articles inside

Columbia County Unveils Annex article cover image

Columbia County Unveils Annex

page 42
Wellness & Safety article cover image

Wellness & Safety

pages 24-25
From the Director’s Desk article cover image

From the Director’s Desk

pages 7-8
From the Governor article cover image

From the Governor

page 11
Conference Registration Form article cover image

Conference Registration Form

pages 38-39
Legal Corner article cover image

Legal Corner

pages 16-17
More Than 100 Attend Safety Meeting article cover image

More Than 100 Attend Safety Meeting

page 43
AAC Board Profile: Tommy Young article cover image

AAC Board Profile: Tommy Young

page 29
President’s Perspective article cover image

President’s Perspective

pages 9-10
49 Cities, Counties Receive Rural Services Grants article cover image

49 Cities, Counties Receive Rural Services Grants

pages 36-37
Governmental Affairs article cover image

Governmental Affairs

page 15
Collectors Meet in Pulaski County article cover image

Collectors Meet in Pulaski County

pages 46-48
Logan County Dedicates Jail article cover image

Logan County Dedicates Jail

page 35
AG Opinions article cover image

AG Opinions

page 14
2019 Legislative Recap article cover image

2019 Legislative Recap

pages 40-41
Litigation Lessons article cover image

Litigation Lessons

page 23
Coroners Receive Training article cover image

Coroners Receive Training

page 44
Courthouse Feature: A Treasure article cover image

Courthouse Feature: A Treasure

pages 30-32
AAQC Holds Semi-Annual Meeting article cover image

AAQC Holds Semi-Annual Meeting

page 45
Phillips County Going Solar article cover image

Phillips County Going Solar

pages 33-34
Research Corner article cover image

Research Corner

pages 12-13