The Official Publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties
County Lines SUMMER 2018
Reflecting on 50 years Page 34
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In This Issue SUMMER 2018
Treasurers Meet in Sebastian County...........................................56
AAC Names 2018 Scholarship Recipients..................................24 AAC Presents Wes Fowler Advocacy Awards................................26 Pulaski County Cuts Ribbon on New CSU....................................28 U.S. Congressman Hill Holds Opioid Conference....................30 0pioid Crisis Solution ’Multifaceted’.............................................31 Des Arc Library Comes to Fruition.................................................32 Cover Story: AAC Reflects on 50 Years of Rich History................34 Randy Kemp Memorial Golf Tournament Recap.......................40 50th Anniversary Conference Sets Record Attendance............39 Poinsett County Courthouse: An Iconic Centerpiece..................50 24 Counties Receive Grants for Courthouse Renovation..........52 AAC Staff Profile: Adrienne Criswell..............................................62 Workers’ Compensation Fund Pays Dividends............................64
Assessors Hold Summer Meeting in Carroll County...................57 Circuit Clerks Discuss Legislative Agenda...................................58 Judges Meet in Miller County..........................................................59 Sheriffs Install New Executive Board............................................60 Logan County Plays Host to Assessors..........................................50
Departments From the Director’s Desk...................................................................7 President’s Perspective.....................................................................9 From the Governor............................................................................11 Research Corner...............................................................................12 AG Opinions........................................................................................16 Governmental Affairs.......................................................................17 Legal Corner.......................................................................................18
Seems to Me..................................................................................... 20
Guardian RFID Holds Users Meeting.........................................53 County Clerks Talk Legislative Agenda in Logan County...........54 Collectors Honor Retirees in Pope County...................................55
Litigation Lessons.............................................................................22 Savings Times 2................................................................................23 NACo News Update: 2020 Census...............................................65
Cover Notes: Celebrating 50 years of AAC history
The AAC has grown through the years, renovating and expanding several times. Above, members of the AAC Board of Directors and other county officials break ground in 1996 on a plot of land that houses the modern-day AAC headquarters. — AAC File Photo
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(Cover illustration by Christy L. Smith)
n April 10, 1968, the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) filed its Articles of Incorporation. The idea for the AAC was born on the beaches of Hawaii during a National Association of Counties (NACo) conference that was attended by Mississippi County Judge A.A. “Shug” Banks, Yell County Treasurer Jim Pledger, and several other Arkansas county officials. Their aim was to establish an organization that would provide representation for all county officials statewide. They met with resistance at first, but eventually the General Assembly passed a bill that would create the AAC legislatively. The AAC provides a plethora of services now, including advocacy, education, a Workers’ Compensation program, and a Risk Management Program. The AAC celebrated its 50th anniversary at the annual conference held in August. Appropriately enough, the conference theme was “Honoring our Past, Celebrating our Present, Envisioning our Future.” Turn to page 34 to read more about the AAC’s history. A conference recap begins on page 40. 5
2018 Oct. 10-12 Circuit Clerks Benton Event Center, Benton Nov. 13-16 Assessors Doubletree, Little Rock DEc. 3-4 (Tentative) Judges’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 4-6 Circuit Clerks’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 5-7 Collectors Hilton Garden Inn, Conway Dec. 6-7 Treasurers’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 7 Coroners’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 8 JPs’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 10-11 County Clerks’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 11 Assessors’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock Dec. 12-13 New Assessors Orientation ACD, Little Rock Dec. 17-18 Collectors’ New Elect School AAC, Little Rock 6
Mission Statement: The Association of Arkansas Counties
he Association of Arkansas Counties supports and promotes the idea that all elected officials must have the opportunity to act together in order to solve mutual problems as a unified group. To further this goal, the Association of Arkansas Counties is committed to providing a single source of cooperative support and information for all counties and county and district officials. The overall purpose of the Association of Arkansas Counties is to work for the improvement of county government in the state of Arkansas. The Association accomplishes this purpose by providing legislative representation, on-site assistance, general research, training, various publications and conferences to assist county officials in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of their office.
1415 West Third Street Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 372-7550 phone / (501) 372-0611 fax www.arcounties.org
Chris Villines, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Risk Management/ Workers’ Compensation
Anne Baker, Executive Assistant email@example.com
Debbie Norman, Risk Mgmt. & Insurance Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Samantha Moore, Receptionist email@example.com
Debbie Lakey, Workers’ Comp Claims Mgr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Whitmore, Chief Legal Counsel email@example.com Colin Jorgensen, Litigation Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org Johnna Hoffman, Litigation Support Specialist email@example.com Josh Curtis, Governmental Affairs Director firstname.lastname@example.org Lindsey Bailey, Legal Counsel email@example.com Christy L. Smith, Communications Director firstname.lastname@example.org Holland Doran, Communications Coordinator email@example.com
Karan Skarda, ACE Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Perry, Admin. Asst./Claims Analyst email@example.com Kim Nash, Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster firstname.lastname@example.org Renee Turner,Workers’ Comp Claims Adjuster email@example.com Riley Groover, Claims Analyst firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Hunt, Claims Analyst email@example.com Kim Mitchell, Administrative Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Bell, Administrative Assistant email@example.com Ellen Wood, Admin. Asst./Receptionist firstname.lastname@example.org Brandy McAllister, RMS Counsel email@example.com
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COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
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 relating to the magazine, please contact Christy L. Smith at 501.372.7550. Executive Director / Publisher Chris Villines Communications Director/ Managing Editor Christy L. Smith Communications Coordinator/ Editor Holland Doran
AAC Executive Board: Debbie Wise – President Brandon Ellison – Vice President Rhonda Cole – Secretary-Treasurer Jeanne Andrews Terri Harrison Debra Buckner Sandra Cawyer Kevin Cleghorn Terry McNatt Debbie Cross Brenda DeShields Ellen Foote Jimmy Hart Gerone Hobbs Bill Hollenbeck 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. 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.
Looking toward the future of our counties
il Keane, creator of The Family Circus cartoons, was amazingly wonderful at perspective and seemed to often weave into his cartoons good life lessons. Also responsible for many great quotes, Bil penned, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Chris Villines today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” AAC How fortunate and blessed we are to be here at this moExecutive Director ment in time, and to be a part of government service that truly is the closest to those we serve. We are fortunate also to be a part of this year’s amazing celebration of 50 years at the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC). This organization means so much, and we should all be encouraged by the strength our counties have because of the vision of our county forefathers in 1968. Throughout this issue you will find information recapping this year’s conference, held in Benton County Aug. 8-10. It was a wonderful event that reflected countless hours of work by our AAC staff, leaders — both past and present, and the Board of Directors. I hope you were able to attend. We stayed true to our conference theme, “Honoring our Past, Celebrating the Present, Envisioning our Future.” Eddie Jones narrated a video recapping how the AAC was founded and walking through the early years. I encourage you to both take a look at that video at www.arcounties.org AND to read Eddie’s article in this magazine. The honor was ours at this year’s conference, though, when we had the pleasure of hosting past AAC Presidents Judy Beth Hutcherson and Mike Jacobs at our head table along with past AAC Executive Directors Brenda Pruitt and Eddie Jones. As for celebrating the present, speakers like Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Congressman Steve Womack, NACo Executive Director Matt Chase, Beatles expert Bill Stainton and a host of leaders in the opioid crisis all provided a great synopsis of where county government stands in the present. As for the celebratory aspect, everyone enjoyed the Beatles tribute band “Liverpool Legends.” Their performance was icing on the cake. For the future, we all got a glimpse of things on the horizon. Ideas abound for the 2019 Arkansas legislative session, and the hood will be up on things like 9-1-1, homestead credits, and road funding. New legislators and statewide elected officials also will bring fresh ideas, and we will continue to forge great partnerships between state and local government. Attending the AAC annual conference continues to be the most important tool in the toolbox of being the best county or district official you can be. And we encourage you to continue coming to this wonderful event. Next August we will be in Garland County, and we will be getting details out to you in early 2019 so you can begin making plans to unravel the mystery of our future. Hats off to all of you for great government service at home. *** Right before this magazine went to print, the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) hosted the 2018 Arkansas Digital Government Transformation Awards luncheon in Little Rock. This year the AAC and Arkansas Municipal League (ARML) partnered with INA to focus the event on local government transformation … and
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it turns out that was a great move for the awards program. We will be sharing the winners with you through electronic media and future print issues, but suffice it to say that dozens of our county officials were recognized for outstanding work in various categories of using technology to further advance service to the public. What a great experience to come together and share the outstanding ideas all of you have taken from concept to implementation. I am particularly proud of an award that reflects a new technological feature many of you are beginning to use. Two Governor’s Awards were given out —one city, one county — to recognize public servants who have used technology to make the greatest impact on Arkansans. The county award went to a team including Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery and AAC staffers Debbie Norman and Mark Harrell for the Justice Bridge. Justice Bridge is a video-based system that allows video communications between jails, circuit courts, some district courts and each of our 16 prisons. Justice Bridge will save counties in the AAC Risk Management Program millions each year once we get to full implementation. We are already over 1/3 of the way there. By eliminating many prisoner transfers from state units to local circuit judges, we are shaving off costs and mitigating risk associated with these potentially dangerous and, in many cases, unneeded transports. To our knowledge, this program is unique to Arkansas
and nothing like it has been attempted in other areas of the country. AAC Risk Management member counties receive the phones in the jails and circuit courtrooms at no charge. If you have not yet received your phone please contact Mark Harrell in our office to begin scheduling installation. Please join me in congratulating Sheriff Montgomery for his incredible vision for this program, and in AAC employees Debbie Norman and Mark Harrell for their leadership and implementation of this one-of-a-kind system. *** On June 24, our friend Don Zimmerman passed away following a brief bout with pancreatic cancer. The long-time ARML executive director was a leader among leaders in this state. He was the visionary and strategic leader for cities for over 40 years. Join me in prayers for our municipal league family, and for Don’s family — especially his wife, Jan — as they move forward. I can never thank Don enough for his friendship and a partnership recently forged surrounding the state, county and city lawsuit against the opioid industry. Our good friend Mark Hayes, long-time chief counsel at ARML has filled Don’s large shoes. We look forward to continuing the great county-city partnerships rooted in our great relationship with Don.
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NACo membership affords county, district officials many ways to be involved
n late August, more than 50 county and district officials from across Arkansas traveled to Washington, D.C., for a conference at the White House. The conference was one in a series of such meetings the White House is holding with county representatives from each state. We had an impressive roster of speakers — Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Douglas Hoelscher, Senior Government Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of Transportation Chris Minton, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Mick Zais, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Vice President Mike Pence paid us a surprise visit, and many in our group met with U.S. Sen. John Boozman. The conference focused on issues such as upcoming federal legislation, the nation’s opioid crisis, developing infrastructure, and improving education. These are complicated issues. I was grateful to the National Association of Counties (NACo) for offering the group a federal policy briefing ahead of time. The briefing gave local officials valuable information they needed to ask informed questions of federal officials with whom we don’t normally get a chance to meet. And it
armed us with the tools to better communicate our local needs to those officials. This is just one reason I cherish my membership in NACo. In fact, all of Arkansas’ county and district DEBBIE WISE AAC Board President; officials are members of NACo. The Randolph County Circuit Clerk AAC pays the membership dues for each county. So county and district officials can be as involved in NACo as they want to be — and I encourage you to be involved. You don’t have to serve on the NACo Board of Directors, as I do. Several of our county and district officials, myself included, serve on various committees. Several also attend the Legislative and Annual conferences NACo hosts. We had an impressive group of more than 70 attend NACo’s Annual Conference in July — and I know they benefited greatly from the experience. They were able to network with their peers from all corners of the country, participate in professional development programs, attend informational workshops, and advocate for county issues. Even if you can’t attend a NACo conference, you can make use of the various resources NACo provides on its website: www.naco.org. Among the things you’ll find there are advocacy tool kits, research materials such as sample ordinances, news to keep you informed about federal policies that affect local governments, and professional development opportunities such as webinars. NACo unites our country’s 3,069 county governments. NACo gives us a collective voice with which to affect national policy, share solutions to our similar challenges, and exchange ideas that will help us better serve our communities. As a NACo member, you have an opportunity to invest in your county’s future. I hope you embrace that opportunity as I have.
Nearly 100 county and district officials from Arkansas attended a White Housesponsored conference to meet face to face with federal officials and discuss national policies that affect our local communities. A portion of the delegation participated in a NACo pre-conference policy briefing at its headquarters. — Photo courtesy of NACo COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Debbie Wise Randolph County Circuit Clerk / AAC Board President
Debbie Wise 9
FROM THE GOVERNOR
Texarkana: Two Cities with One Goal
he leaders of the twin cities of Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas, are setting aside all rivalries in order to shore up the economy on both sides of the state line. They have created the Arkansas-Texas Regional Economic Development Incorporated, or AR-TX REDI. It is an organization that will recruit new business and strengthen the economy so that existing companies will stay and expand. Fifteen-hundred folks from both states stood in the 90-degree heat [recently] as I joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott to announce the creation of AR-TX REDI in front of the federal courthouse that straddles the Arkansas-Texas state line. The last time Arkansas and Texas showed this much togetherness was in 1975 when the Hogs, the Aggies and the Longhorns tied for the Southwest Conference Championship. I didn’t remind the crowd that the University of Arkansas “out-Aggied the Aggies” that year and crushed A&M’s hope for an undefeated season. But that is football. We were in Texarkana to capitalize on the assets we have in common. We were celebrating cooperation between the cities and the states that will fortify the region with new jobs and new business. During my brief trip to the southwest corner of our state this week, I met people who work in Arkansas and live in Texas. Texans travel to Arkansas to shop or to see a doctor. The state line is symbolic and not divisive. This new level of cooperation won’t require much adjustment for Texarkansans. The payoff will be new and expanding businesses, more
jobs, and an emphasis on strengthening the workforce through improved educational opportunities. Uniting for economic development is the right thing to do. I like one of the slogans they use in Texarkana: “Two cities that are one of a kind.” Hon. ASA HuTCHINSON AR-TX REDI will suggest ways Governor of Arkansas to combine the workforces of the two Texarkanas. This will produce better opportunities. Together, we will be more successful. Regardless of the part of the state you live in, we should remember that we can do more together by combining our regions to work together for economic development. And your growth and success will be your history and your legacy.
Asa Hutchinson The Honorable Asa Hutchinson Governor of Arkansas
Left: The federal courthouse in Texarkana straddles the line between Arkansas and Texas. It was the site on Sept. 4, 2018, of a news conference announcing the creation of Arkansas-Texas Regional Economic Development Incorporated (AR-TX REDI). Above: Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson pose for a photo. — Photos courtesy of Governor’s Office COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Informed, educated citizens will support local road and bridge funding needs
overnor Asa Hutchinson entered office in 2015 and inherited a longstanding major shortfall in funding for state and local roads and bridges. On April 23, 2015, the Governor issued Executive Order (EO) 15-08. The Governor determined that an efficient transportation system is critical for Arkansas’ economy. He referenced several independent studies that have determined the state and local highways, roads, streets and bridges in Arkansas are in dire need of construction, reconstruction and maintenance. The Governor determined the revenues currently available are inadequate for the preservation and maintenance of the existing infrastructure and for enhancements to reduce congestion. The current structure of the motor fuels tax is inadequate due to reductions in revenues due to fuel efficiency and use of alternative fuels. In essence, road and bridge funding in Arkansas has not kept up with the road and bridge funding needs. This plight is not unique to Arkansas. Many states have addressed the situation and raised taxes. More than half the states, 27 states, have passed an increase in the motor fuels tax in the past five years. Their leaders and constituents accept that keeping pace with road and bridge construction needs requires increases in revenues. They acted to reverse the losses in gas tax purchasing power caused by rising construction costs. They abandoned stagnant fixed rate taxes, such as per-gallon taxes, and adopted smarter tax structures. Our leaders and informed constituents likewise accept these fundamental realities. Our leaders and constituents need to formulate and adopt sound measures to address the revenue needs. The Governor appointed the 20-member Working Group on Highway Funding (Working Group) to actively involve the public to determine adequate funding for the “present and future needs of the state highways, county roads and city streets.” The group provided the Governor recommendations to create a more reliable, modern and effective system of funding on Dec. 15, 2015. However, recent efforts to adopt state and local road and bridge funding have failed. Efforts for legislation during the third extraordinary session of 2016 and during the regular session of 2017 were unsuccessful. Rep. Dan Douglas filed legislation known as House Bill (HB) 1726, to authorize a vote of the people on a bond issue. The measure died in the House of Representatives with 38 voting For, 35 voting Against, 20 non-voting, and 7 voting present. The companion bill, HB 1727, to levy taxes on motor fuels passed the House Transportation Committee but did not get a vote in the House of Representatives, due in part to failure of HB 1726. 12
The Transportation Investment Advocacy Center recently reported that 96 percent of lawmakers across the country that voted in favor of gas tax increases faced re-election and will advance to the Mark Whitmore November general election. The AAC Chief Counsel numbers reflect that of those 558 lawmakers that voted for a gas tax increase and ran for election, 295 Republican lawmakers (96 percent) and 263 Democratic legislators (97 percent) will advance to the general elections in November. The myth that voting for an increase for road revenues will meet disapproval by the electorate is just that — an unfounded myth.
The Traditional 70-15-15 split
The County Judges’ Association of Arkansas (CJAA) supports measures to increase funding. The CJAA adopted a resolution in support of the Working Group’s recommendations, provided the proposed measures adopt the traditional 70-15-15 split of revenues between the state (70 percent), cities (15 percent) and counties (15 percent). The road and bridge system in the state of Arkansas is interconnected, and it is imperative that the state, cities and counties have adequate funding and properly maintain their respective roadways. The traditional 70-15-15 split of revenues among the state, cities and counties has proven effective. The traditional split commenced in 1965. It has continued to date. In 2012, the voters further expressed their approval of the 70-15-15 split for the allocation of funds under Amendment 95 of the Arkansas Constitution. The traditional 70-15-15 split has a proven track record of support by the citizens. The CJAA has engaged an expert to demonstrate the needs for maintaining and reconstruction of our county roads and bridges statewide. Also, 11 counties have taken additional steps and assessed the condition of paved roads: Benton, Clark, Faulkner, Franklin, Greene, Little River, Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline, Sebastian and Washington. These counties have established a pavement assessment program and pavement preservation program. The information below demonstrates the needs of counties statewide.
Education of the Citizens
Historically, informed citizens support state and local road and bridge revenue programs, provided they are educated as to the dire needs the Governor and independent studies reference. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
In January 2016, the CJAA engaged the services of an exket will readily support revenues under the 70-15-15 split that perienced civil engineer, Tom Black, P.E. Black has conductwill go for maintenance and improvement of county roads. ed an analysis and report of the annual funding needs for the Black’s preliminary report over the past two years and county roads and bridges statewide. A copy of Black’s report, his final report have increased awareness of the needs state“County Road Needs Report,” is posted on the AAC web site wide for the state, county and city bridges. The summary of at www.arcounties.org/site/assets/files/4405/aacreport_1.pdf. the condition of bridges throughout the state is as follows: During the past two years the CJAA has received periodic There are 12,669 Bridges 20 feet long or longer in Arkansas. preliminary reports and updates in data, analysis and concluThe state has 7,346 bridges (58 percent) of the total — 16 sions on these matters. The report of Black was produced with percent, or 1,196, of those are Structurally Deficient (SD) the efforts and support of: Michael Morgan of Greenbergor Functionally Obsolete (FO). FO bridges are those that do Farrow; Dr. Stacy Williams with the University of Arkansas, not have adequate lane widths, shoulder widths, or vertical Department of Civil Engineering; Darryl Gardner with Ergon clearances to serve current traffic, or those that may flood. Asphalt and Emulsions, Inc.; Shelby Johnson and Jonathan SD bridges are those that have been restricted to light weight Duran with State Geographic Information System (GIS); and vehicles, closed to traffic or require rehabilitation. the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT). The ArDOT is forever vigilant in apprising and updating on Recent enhancements in mapping data have proven helpthe conditions of the thousands of miles of interstates, U.S. ful. The recent Mapand state highways. 21 project (Moving The U.S. Department Ahead for Progress in of Transportation the 21st Century Act he constituents will support revenue increases requires assessment of adopted by Congress roadway conditions, for roads and bridges. The citizenry traditionally and signed into law traffic accidents or in 2012) was recently collision statistics, and supports directing revenue to necessary tangible improvecompleted. The result bridge inspections. is greatly enhanced Counties and citments such as roads and bridges. Citizens see first hand mapping informaies benefit from the tion, including data the deterioration of infrastructure. bridge inspection on tens of thousands reports required by of miles of roads the U.S. Department throughout Arkansas. of Transportation and According to the data conducted and provided by ArDOT. from the Map 21 project and other sources and the calculaCounties have 4,297 bridges (34 percent) of the total tions of GIS there are approximately 50,000 miles of county- — 27 percent, or 1,174, are SD or FO. Cities have 1,026 maintained roads in Arkansas. The estimated breakdown bridges, 8 percent, of the total — 22 percent, or 221, are statewide is approximately 33,828 miles of unpaved county SD or FO. The report reflects there are 505, or 43 percent, roads and approximately 15,921 miles of paved county roads. of the 1,174 FO and SD bridges that are weight restricted To provide perspective, the estimates of city streets statewide below 15 tons, the weight below a loaded full-size school bus. in Arkansas are approximately 15,518 miles. The most recent This means 12 percent of the 4,307 county bridges have a estimates of total state highway, U.S. highway and interstate weight limit less than the weight of a loaded school bus. The miles in Arkansas is approximately 16,418 miles. estimated cost of replacing the 812 FO county road bridges The report estimates the total annual cost of maintaining is $332,385,847. The cost of replacing the 362 SD county the 49,749 miles of county road at $197,743,406. The annual road bridges is 158,841,376. The estimate of the total cost of cost of maintaining the 15,921 miles of paved county roads replacing all of the county road bridges that are FO and SD is estimated at $95,922,069. The annual cost of maintaining is $491,227,223. the 33,828 miles of unpaved county roads is $101,821,327 The “County Roads Needs Report” is extremely infor($2,564.35 per mile). This information expresses the magmative and will significantly assist our county officials in nitude of the level of funding necessary to maintain what expressing the annual maintenance needs to the citizens. we have. The report is well supported. Citizens, businesses, industry, farmers and tourists that use county roads for their See “ROADS” on Page 14 > > > personal travel or for taking farm products or livestock to mar-
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Continued From Page 13
Additionally, the aforementioned 11 counties and as many school buses that use a road are important. The number of cities have gone much further. They have engaged consultants residents who live on a road is looked at. Obviously, the to assess the condition of the county and city roadway pavehigher numbers get more attention than a low-traffic road. ments. Sebastian County Judge David Hudson was the first “Moehring said, “the county also considered the relative to collaborate in the creation of a pavement assessment and cost of each potential repair project. He said it’s sometimes preservation program for county judges. better to do work on roads in relatively good condition than “The program first collects objective data. The data is then ap- roads considered critical (orange) or lost (red)”. “It costs a plied as part of a pavement management program. The objective lot more, once a road has gone to orange or red, to bring it is to allocate resources in order to raise the rating of the spectrum back,” Moehring said. “It’s more cost-effective to keep green of roads: to raise the conditions of all roads (not just the worse roads from going to yellow, orange or red. As we move forroads but as well to simultaneously take care of the roads that are ward, we think we’ll have more opportunities to get a yellow in good and fair condition),” says Hudson. road and bring it back up to green.” The program is not just to obtain an objective study of the Access the “Benton County officials tout road improveroad conditions ments” article but also to obtain that ran in the the consultaNorthwest Arkantion by experts he “County Roads Needs Report” is extremely informa- sas Times: http:// on construction www.arkansative and will significantly assist our county officials in and maintenance sonline.com/ techniques and news/2018/jul/30/ expressing the annual maintenance needs to the citizens. Adequipment to supbenton-countyport the program. officials-tout-roadditionally, the aforementioned 11 counties and as many cities Objective data and impro/?f=newsobjective preservaarkansas. have gone much further. They have engaged consultants to astion programming Pulaski County leads to informed is in its third year sess the condition of the county and city roadway pavements. budgeting. This of pavement assessinformation has led ment and manageSebastian County to ment. According launch maintenance to Pulaski County programs such as their double chip seal and fog seal programs. Public Works Director Steve Brummett, the county has been Benton County Judge Barry Moehring says the pavement successful in improving the condition and safety of the netassessment program the county uses has helped them “make work of paved roads of Pulaski County. Brummett reports, measurable progress toward better county roads.” The county “Gathering pavement condition and distress data using a engaged consultants to do a video survey of 800 miles of pavement assessment and management process allows us to paved roads. The county obtained a detailed report, includnot only prioritize our pavement maintenance projects, but ing identifying problem areas using geographic information also allows us to effectively communicate our plans internally system satellite mapping data. The county has developed a and externally. Our goal is to maintain good pavement and revised road plan and developed its 2018 plan and the 2019 prioritize critical roads in a logical, thoughtful manner that road plan based on the information from the assessment. The helps us maximize workforce, equipment and materials in roads were designated by paving condition in color-coded such a way that we get the most out of our budget.” categories ranging from dark green, meaning the pavement Pulaski County’s pavement management program is fully is in excellent condition, to red, meaning the pavement was operational. The condition and distress data the county receives considered “lost” and in need of complete rebuilding. Jay helps the county to be proactive and focus on isolated strucFrasier, public services administrator and head of the Benton tural issues and potholes that most concern the constituents. County Road Department, said paving priorities were set us- It also enables the county to locate and focus its maintenance ing the new information but pavement condition wasn’t the treatments based on the type and density of cracks present. only factor considered. “There are traffic counts we have to look at,” Frasier said. Indexing Motor Fuels Taxes and Alternative “The number of emergency vehicles and the number of Motor Fuel Taxes & Increases in Motor Fuel
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Taxes and Alternate Motor Fuel Taxes
The Working Group on Highway Funding included in their recommendations the need to increase the tax on motor fuels and to index motor fuels to inflation. Indexing motor fuels will assist the revenues to increase with inflation (such as the consumer price index); to correct the systemic lack of growth in motor fuel tax revenues (purchasing power); and in providing revenues necessary to prevent further decline in the public infrastructure of state, city and county bridges and roadways and public safety. Likewise, a modest increase in the motor fuels tax rate is needed in response to decades of stagnation of revenues from motor fuels. The CJAA supports indexing motor fuels and an increase in motor fuels and alternative fuels taxes. Twentyseven states have recently increased their motor fuels taxes and wisely revised them to account for construction inflation.
AMENDMENT 95: Approved by the People Will Expire in 2023
County judges, mayors and the Arkansas State Highway Commission have a common task: to educate the citizens on the condition of their state and local roadways and bridges and the extent that additional revenues are needed to maintain or improve the conditions. Plainly, a modest increase in the motor fuels taxes and indexing motor fuel revenues will not be sufficient to bridge the gap between revenues and needs. The Working Group as well recommended consideration of adoption of a sales tax devoted to state and local roads and bridges. The people voted in favor of sales taxes being dedicated for roads and bridges under Amendment 95, which will expire in 2023. Adoption of sales taxes to be dedicated for roads and bridges should be afforded due consideration.
Left: Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs, AAC Chief Legal Counsel Mark Whitmore, and Pulaski County Attorney Chastity Scifres pose for a photo during a reception. Second from left: Newly elected NACo President Greg Cox, San Diego County Supervisor, says a few words.Third from left: Eddie George, an NFL legend, entrepreneur and Renaissance man, delivers a motivational speech. Right: Mary Mabry, customer service manager in the Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector’s office and Tawanna Brown, chief financial officer and DAV specialist in the Crittenden County Collector’s office, smile for the camera.
NACo draws record number of Arkansans
ore than 70 county and district officials from Arkansas made the trip to Nashville, Tenn., in July to attend the National Association of Counties (NACo) 83rd Annual Summer Conference. The conference took place July 13-16, 2018, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The conference featured a multitude of workshops, meetings and sessions. Topics included transportation, justice and public safety, county communications, crisis communication, veterans and military services, the opioid crisis, the 2020 Census, and much more. Additionally, county officials attended general sessions featuring motivational speakers and participated in the election of NACo officers. — Story and photos by Christy L. Smith COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Above: Boone County Justice of the Peace David Thompson, AAC Governmental Affairs Director and Saline County Justice of the Peace Josh Curtis, Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Paul Elliott, Jefferson County Justice of the Peace Ted Harden, and Faulkner County Justice of the Peace Randy Higgins take a group photo during the Arkansas Delegates Reception. 15
AG Opinions: From salary adjustments to civil office AG OPINION NO. 2018-002 The AG was asked whether the law expressly provides a penalty for carrying a concealed handgun without a license. The AG determined that legislative clarification is warranted. The AG explained that under AG Opinion No. 2015-064 the existence of a statutory regime for conceal carry for handguns in Arkansas represents the legal means to carry a concealed handgun in Arkansas. The AG clarified that the courts may apply a presumption that a person carrying a concealed handgun without a conceal carry permit has an unlawful intent and expose a person to arrest and conviction under Ark. Code § 5-73120. The code explicitly states that it is permissible to carry provided the person has a valid conceal carry permit and is not in a prohibited place. AG OPINION NO. 2018-033 The AG determined that a county election commissioner may legally recruit or encourage a candidate to run for office within the jurisdiction the election commissioner serves. However, the actions of recruiting and encouraging a candidate by the commissioner must occur prior to the formal filing of office. An election commissioner is prohibited from participating in the campaign of a candidate for office. AG OPINION NO. 2018-013 The AG was asked: Can the salary of an elected county officer, including treasurer, be reduced during his or her term? When may a salary of an elected county position be reduced? The AG answered, “no” and explained that the salary of an elected county officer may not be reduced during the officer’s current term. Any decrease in an elected officer’s salary can’t take effect until January 1 following the next 16
general election for that office, when the incumbent’s term-of-office expires. Amendment 55, § 5 of the Arkansas Constitution provides that the: “Compensation for each county officer shall be fixed by the Quorum Court within the minimum and maximum to be determined by law.” Section 5 of Amendment 55 further provides: “Compensation may not be decreased during a current term.” Ark. Code 14-14-1203(d) provides: “Any decrease in the annual salary or compensation of a county officer shall not become effective until January 1 following a general election held after the decrease has been fixed by the quorum court of the county.” The AG explained that the “general election” referenced is the regular November election in the even numbered years to fill an office, the term of which is scheduled to expire at that year’s end. Therefore, any reduction in salary cannot take effect until after the official’s current term in office has expired and the office has been refilled at the next general election. The AG noted as well that any compensation that is part of the county official’s salary or compensation cannot be reduced during the county official’s current term. Furthermore, the official’s salary or surplus pay for regular work or services may not exceed the maximum salary imposed by law. The AG cited AG Opinion No. 2013-148, which stated health insurance is compensation and likewise may not be reduced during the county official’s current term.
appointed or elected to any civil office in this state: Mark Whitmore (1) County AAC Chief Counsel Judge; (2) Justice of the Peace; (3) Sheriff; (4) Circuit Clerk; (5) County Clerk; (6) Assessor; (7) Coroner; (8) Treasurer; (9) County Surveyor; or (10) Collector of taxes.
AG OPINION NO. 2017-115 This request for an opinion from the AG is one of several submitted by members of the General Assembly on their own behalf, on behalf of hundreds of county and district officials regarding “civil office,”and on behalf of the Governor and General Assembly. The AG was asked whether the following positions were civil offices: school teacher, school superintendents of smaller school districts, the auditor of the Arkansas Burial Association Board, the Baxter County Regional Medical Center Political Advisory Board, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. The request provided legal authority for each of his requests citing rulings from interpretation of a similar provision of the Arkansas Constitution under Article 5, §10 of the Arkansas Constitution applicable to state senators. The conclusions of the legal authority were that the foregoing positions are not civil offices. The AG found that the same definitional parameters apply in interpreting Amendment 95, Article 7, §53, as the parameters apThe following opinions relate to plied to Article 5, §10 of the Arkansas Civil Office: Amendment 95 Amendment 95 of the Arkansas Con- Constitution. Sen. Bryan King made requests for an opinion regarding whether stitution provides: (a) A person elected various positions constitute civil offices or appointed to any of the following county offices shall not, during the term under AG Opinion No. 2017-028 isfor which he or she has been elected, be sued last summer. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
AG OPINION NO. 2018-014 The AG determined that the position of city police officer is likely a civil office. The AG opined, however, that a city police officer could run for county elected office. The AG opined that Amendment 95, Article 7, § 53 of the Arkansas Constitution bars sitting county officers from being appointed or elected to a new civil office. The AG said the provision does not bar a police officer from continuing to hold the position that he or she held even if successfully elected to county office. The AG further declared that the Separation of Powers doctrine does not preclude being a city police officer and holding an office in a different level of government such as county office (the AG did not perceive an incompatibility of those offices). AG OPINION NO. 2017-116 The AG concluded that the following positions were likely civil offices under the Arkansas Constitution Article 5, §10 and Article 7, § 53, members of: rural water boards; waterworks and public sewer facilities boards; airport commissions; members of the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board; County Hospital Boards; County District Board of Health; Levee Boards; and Levee Improvement Districts. The AG reiterated that the law applicable to Arkansas
Constitution Article 5, §10 should be equally applicable to Article 7, § 53, Amendment 95 of the Arkansas Constitution. The AG found that since there is no legislation regarding Southwest Mental Health Board and was unable to determine if that position was or was not a civil office.
AG OPINION NO. 2017-104 The AG concluded that a court would likely find there’s not a prohibition of a county official holding a position on the Intergovernmental Council under Ark. Code § 14-27-102 or the Electronic Recording Commission under Ark. Code § 15-4-3704. The law creating those positions simply impose additional duties on elected county officials and would not likely be considered by a court to be a separate civil office under the Arkansas Constitution Article 5, §10 and Article 7, § 53. The AG opined that service on the Work Force Development Board under Ark. Code §15-4-3704, may be deemed by court to be a separate civil office. It should be noted that the Work Force Development Board is a board constituted to assist the Governor and by law requires the appointment of a county judge, mayor, etc. Further legislative clarification of the position of Work Force Development Board may be warranted.
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AG OPINION NO. 2017-124 Ark. Code § 7-5-111 provides that a person shall not run for election for more than one state, county, municipal district or township office if the elections are to be held the same date. The AG determined that elected school board members are not included and that the reference to “district” in Ark. Code § 7-5-111 is not a reference to school districts. The AG also says a person can legally run for school board member and another state, county, municipal, district or township office if the elections were held on the same date. AG OPINION NO. 2017-114 The AG concluded that the following positions were likely civil offices under the Arkansas Constitution Article 5, §10 and Article 7, § 53, members of: County Fair Board, County Soil Conservation Board, local museum board or commission, County Library Board, and Rural Development Authority. The AG concluded that membership on a Farm Bureau Board, the Chambers of Commerce and the Arkansas Cattleman’s Foundation Board are not civil offices. The AG noted that there was insufficient information to determine whether the Design Review Board for West Memphis is a civil office for purposes of these constitutional sections.
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Ballot Issues: What are you voting on?
he Arkansas Constitution allows the General Assembly to propose up to three constitutional amendments for Arkansas voters to decide. In resolution form, these are vetted in the Joint House and Senate State Agencies committee. In 2017, the Senate filed 14 senate joint resolutions (SJR); the House filed 22 house joint resolutions (HJR). The joint committee, then both chambers of the legislature, approved HJR1016 and SJR8. These resolutions are on the ballot for the 2018 general election as Issues 1 and 2. Issues 3, 4 and 5 — all proposed constitutional amendments — qualified to be on the ballot via a petition process that requires citizens to gather signatures from a minimum of 10 percent of those who cast a vote for governor in the last election. At press time, all of these issues are being challenged in court. The University Of Arkansas Division Of Agriculture, Research and Extension, Public Policy Center has released its 2018 voter guide, “Arkansas Ballot Issues.” The guide (found at www.uaex.edu/ballot) is the most comprehensive resource in the state for a neutral analysis of ballot issues. The following descriptions of the issues come from the guide.
repeal a rule of pleading, practice, or procedure established by the Supreme Court with a vote of 3/5 of each chamber. The legislature also could create a rule of pleading, practice or procedure with a vote of 3/5 of each chamber. • The proposal would change SecJosh Curtis tion 9 (Annulment of Amendment Governmental Affairs of Rules) of Amendment 80 (QualiDirector fications of Justice and Judges) by lowering the number of votes needed by legislators from 2/3 to 3/5 to abolish or change rules established by the Supreme Court related to Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, District Courts and “referees, masters and magistrates.”
Issue 1 “An amendment concerning civil lawsuits and the powers of the general assembly and Supreme Court to adopt court rules.”
Issue 2 is a simple question of whether you believe a voter should show photo identification before voting. A “for” vote means you are in favor of changing the Constitution to include the presentation of photo ID as a qualification to vote in Arkansas. The state would provide voters with qualifying photographic ID cards at no charge if they do not have one that meets requirements. An “against” vote means the exact opposite.
This amendment proposes four changes to the Constitution. • It would add a section regarding contingency fees to Article 7 (Judicial Department). Attorneys could not collect a contingency fee more than 1/3 of the net amount of money a client receives in a civil lawsuit, and the 92nd General Assembly would have to pass laws implementing the section, such as establishing penalties for collecting fees higher than allowed. • There would be several changes to Section 32 (Workmen’s Compensation Laws — Actions for Personal Injuries). It would define “non-economic damages” and “punitive damages”; establish a maximum amount of money (the greater of $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages awarded) a person receives as punitive damages in a lawsuit related to injuries resulting in death, or injuries to person or property; establish a $500,000 maximum an injured person or his/her beneficiaries combined can receive as non-economic damages in a lawsuit related to injuries resulting in death, or injuries to person or property; allow legislators to increase maximum amounts for non-economic and punitive damages in the future with a 2/3 vote of each house; and require the state legislature in 2019 to create a procedure to adjust the punitive and noneconomic limits in future years for inflation or deflation. • The proposal also would change Section 3 (Rules of Pleading, Practice, and Procedure) of Amendment 80 (Qualifications of Justice and Judges). The legislature could amend or 18
Issue 2 “A constitutional amendment adding as a qualification to vote that a voter present certain valid photographic identification when casting a ballot in person or casting an absentee ballot.”
Issue 3 “Arkansas term limits amendment.”
This proposal would reduce the number of terms legislators could serve and prohibit legislators from proposing constitutional amendments to change term limits for the General Assembly.
Issue 4 “An amendment to require four licenses to be issued for casino gaming at Casinos, one each in Crittenden (to Southland Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.), Pope, and Jefferson Counties.”
A “for” vote means you are in favor of authorizing four casinos in the above-mentioned locations. Fifty-five percent of revenues would go to the state general revenue fund. The governor and legislature would decide how to spend these dollars.
Issue 5 “An act to increase the Arkansas minimum wage.”
This is a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2021. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.: A win for marketplace fairness, an open path for Arkansas
n June 21, 2018 the Supreme Court of the Unit- ment of the 91st General Assembly ed States issued an opinion in the landmark case, on May 1, 2017. South Dakota’s bill South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., Et. Al., making it nearly identical to SB140, S.B. 106, clear that, if certain criteria are followed, states did pass in 2016 and was challenged may legally require out-of-state companies to collect and remit in court by a group of large online state and local sales tax on online purchases, so long as they retailers, led by Wayfair, Inc. S.B. maintain a “substantial nexus” within the taxing state. Lawmak- 106 also required a substantial nexLINDSEY BAILEY ers and in-state retailers have argued in years past that out-of- us of either $100,000 in gross sales General Counsel state companies that do business in Arkansas were receiving an or over 200 transactions of goods unfair advantage by not having to collect and remit sales taxes sold and delivered in the state. on online sales that companies with an in-state physical presTechnically, the Supreme Court did not uphold S.B. 106, ence are required to collect. The Wayfair decision places Arkan- but remanded the case back to the South Dakota Supreme sas in a very favorable position to begin the enforcement of sales Court, stating that Bella Hess and Quill were overruled, and tax collections on online sales from out-of-state retailers. that the South Dakota Supreme Court should re-evaluate the In 2017, former Arkansas State Sen. Jake Files sponsored law under the standard of “whether the tax applies to an activSenate Bill (SB) 140, ity with a substantial co-sponsored by Rep. nexus with the taxDan Douglas, along he Wayfair decision places Arkansas in a very favor- ing state.” The U.S. with Senators DisSupreme Court went mang, Teague, Sameven further to direct able position to begin the enforcement of sales tax ple and Rapert, that the lower court that would have required “Here, the nexus is collections on online sales from out-of-state retailers. the collection and reclearly sufficient.” Armission of sales taxes kansas, a party to the to the state from outStreamlined Sales and of-state retailers that on an annual basis either exceeded gross Use Tax Agreement, like South Dakota as noted by the Court, sales receipts of $100,000 or sold and delivered goods into the currently sits in a good position to pass a bill like SB 140 in state through at least 200 transactions. It is worth noting that the 92nd General Assembly, which convenes in January 2019. individual tax-paying Arkansans are already required by law The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration to report sales taxes owed on their online purchases on their (DFA) has pointed out at meetings of the Tax Reform and individual state income tax returns. However, the reporting Relief Legislative Task Force that Amazon, along with several process is cumbersome and very few Arkansans have complied other online retailers, are already voluntarily registered and with this requirement. SB140 would have required out-of- paying Arkansas sales tax under the Streamline Sales and Tax state companies that meet the substantial nexus requirements Use Agreement, having signed on in anticipation of the Wayto collect sales taxes on their internet sales from Arkansans, fair decision. As a result, projections regarding the increase and relieve the burden of individual reporting. With official in revenues that a bill like SB140 would bring have become endorsements from both the County Judges Association of more conservative. According to DFA, the state has already Association as well as the Arkansas Association of Quorum collected over $100 million from voluntarily registered online Courts, the bill passed in the Senate, passed out of the House retailers. By DFA’s projections, enacting a law like SB140 to Revenue and Taxation Committee, but failed to pass on the compel other qualifying online retailers to collect would bring floor of the House of Representatives with 43 Yeas, 50 Nays, an additional $35.3 million in estimated revenues to state and and 7 not voting. local governments combined. This is still a significant amount One of the primary arguments in opposition of SB140 was of sales tax revenues that are rightly owed to the state and lothat the bill was unconstitutional under current federal law, cal governments, and county and district elected officials will based on United States Supreme Court precedents, National need to remain vigilant in their advocacy for online marketBellas Hess, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue of Ill. (1967) and Quill place fairness. With the U.S. Supreme Court paving the way Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), which required a company to via South Dakota v. Wayfair, the path to marketplace fairness have a physical presence in a state before the state could enforce is more attainable than ever before, and Arkansas certainly its collection of sales taxes. SB140 died at sine die adjourn- should not be left behind.
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SEEMS TO ME ... Where is the voice of reason?
here is the voice of reason! I looked up the definition of “voice of reason” and found the most prevalent definition to be: a person who influences others to act sensibly. I really liked the Cambridge Dictionary definition: the ability of a healthy mind to think and make judgments, especially based on practical facts. Today’s political climate seems to have the innate ability to muzzle the voice of reason. Or at least make the issue or contested race so confusing that reason is reduced to a whisper or unable to be heard at all above the deafening roar generated by outside individuals or groups trying to sway an election with half-truths, quotes taken out of context, innuendo and out-right lies. Why would any proud Arkansan listen to the ploys of outside groups that have no interest in the well being of our state but are interested only in their self-interests? Those interests are not usually honorable either. These outside “noisemakers” offend what little intelligence I have. I hope you find it offensive, too. All the “loud noise” — malarkey, hooey and poppycock, as I call it — in many of today’s political races and ballot issues is paid for with dark money. Dark money is a term for funds given to nonprofit organizations, primarily 50(c)(4) [social welfare] and 501(c)(6) [trade association] groups, that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions, and spend funds to influence elections. They are not required to disclose their donors. Something should be done about it — as much as is legally possible. I fully understand that most people are busy — busy making a living and raising a family, busy getting the kids or grandkids to various activities, cooking and cleaning, taking care of the house and yard, attending church activities, local sports contests and civic meetings. But all of us — every last one of us — have the responsibility as citizens of our city, county, state and country to expend a little energy to get properly informed on the issues and candidates so we can cast an informed ballot on Election Day. I am appalled at the lack of knowledge concerning ballot issues and candidates — sometimes even among those elected to serve. The “outside” pro/con noisemakers tend to be small, very vocal groups in comparison to the populace, but they are well funded. In our busy world it may be easier to listen to the loudest voice. But does that serve us well? Simply remember that these outside groups spending dark money — millions and millions of dollars in Arkansas every election cycle are doing so for their own benefit, not ours. All of us have disagreed with some decisions of government 20
or government leaders at various levels over the years. That does not mean we should “cut off our nose to spite our face.” Not “everything” is wrong as some would try to make us believe. Mardy Grothe, the North Carolina psychologist, marriage counselor, pubEddie A. Jones lic speaker and writer — who wrote County Consultant that whimsically illustrated example of chiasmus in “Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You” — said, “The voice of reason is inaudible to irrational people.” I want to be counted among the rational. Many times the silent majority ends up feeling either threatened or adversely impacted by some government decisions, real or imagined. Then everyone seems to react, properly informed or not, to the loud voices planting emotional buzz words, halftruths and un-truths calculated to stir up our basest feelings. They want to make us feel so afraid, angry or threatened that we will rush out to cast a knee-jerk vote. I respectfully submit to you that we should all block out the loud noise of the outsiders. Don’t listen to the loudest voice. The ignoramus crow of “love it or leave it” or “the sky is falling” omits other viable options, such as “staying and changing it.” Get the facts, listen to the candidates themselves, and listen to your own voice of reason. One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, said, “Whenever the people are wellinformed, they can be trusted with their own government.” All across the state of Arkansas — in every county — we will have candidates on the ballot for city, county, state and national office. Get out and meet the candidates. Ask them the hard questions. They will be glad to take your phone calls and answer your questions. Anyone running for public office, worth their salt, will want to address your questions and concerns because a person who is running for the right reason is a “public servant” at heart — interested in serving their constituents and in working to make a good government better. Statewide there will be five ballot issues to consider. The Arkansas Legislature placed on the ballot two issues, both Constitutional Amendments. Three issues successfully made the ballot as the result of citizen initiative campaigns. Two of these are constitutional amendments and the other an initiated act. Spend some time to get informed on these issues. The two constitutional amendments referred by the state legislature are: • Issue 1 — An amendment concerning civil lawsuits [commonly referred to as tort reform which will cap jury awards] and the powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
AAC to adopt court rules [giving the legislature the power to enact and adopt rules for the courts]; and • Issue 2 — A constitutional amendment adding as a qualification to vote that a voter present certain valid photographic identification when casting a ballot in person or casting an absentee ballot. The three issues making the ballot by petition are: • Issue 3 — A constitutional amendment establishing term limits for the General Assembly. • Issue 4 — A constitutional amendment to require four licenses to be issued for casino gaming. • Issue 5 — An initiated act to increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage. At press time all of these ballot issues, except Issue 2, are facing legal challenges in the state’s court system. As they have done each election cycle since 2004, The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, has developed unbiased, nonpartisan information on each ballot issue. The information is not pro or con but simply information laying out specifically what each proposal will do if enacted by the electorate. This information is available online at http://www.uaex.edu/ppc. If you do not have the availability of the Internet, copies of this information are available at the County Extension Service Offices around the state. My
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SEEMS TO ME ...
County Agent, Mike Andrews, emails this information to me on a regular basis. Your county agent would probably do the same for you. Another way to be informed is to talk with someone you trust in these type matters — someone you know keeps apprised of candidate platforms [regardless of party affiliation] and issues. The bottom line is this: Get the facts, not the buzz; insist on clear answers, listen to the voice of reason and vote. There is no reason why “reason” must be muzzled, no cause for “reason” to have laryngitis just because of the noise makers. I hope you will join me in ignoring the outside screamers who want nothing except to increase their wealth or advance their cause at our expense. John F. Kennedy said, “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” I don’t want to be that one voter President Kennedy was talking about — and I’m not going to be. I will be informed on the candidates and the issues when I cast my vote. Democracy works best when the American electorate is engaged and informed, but not by outside special interest groups. Those outside noisemakers can shout and scream and holler to their heart’s content, but I’m not paying any attention to them. I’m smart enough — and so are you — to make up my own mind based “on the voice of reason.” I aspire to be that voice of reason.
LITIGATION LESSONS Opioid litigation update
n my last article, I described the unique approach of the governments of Arkansas, including counties, cities, and the state, in the united lawsuit that has been filed against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and criminally-convicted pharmacies and healthcare professionals, in the hope of obtaining a comprehensive remedy to the Arkansas Opioid Epidemic. This quarter, I will provide an update about what has happened and is happening since the complaint was filed in March, and what we expect as we move forward with this unprecedented case. First, we are pleased to report that the lawsuit remains on file with the Crittenden County Circuit Court. The defendants and their (over 100) attorneys have not “removed” the case to federal court, and we do not believe they have a good-faith basis to do so. With each passing day, we come closer to realizing the goal of a jury trial in Arkansas, with an Arkansas judge and Arkansas jurors. Second, as we have learned more about some of the defendants through their filings and through communications with counsel, we have “nonsuited” (dismissed) a few defendants who have shown that they did not and do not manufacture or sell or market Schedule II opioids in Arkansas. We expect that as the case moves forward, as we access the defendants’ information and other data about opioids in Arkansas, we will continue to learn more about the individuals and entities responsible for the Arkansas Opioid Epidemic. The makeup of the defendants may change with potential addition and subtraction of defendants based on that information. Third, the original presiding judge — Crittenden County Circuit Judge Richard Lusby — recused on Aug. 1. The case has been reassigned to Crittenden County Circuit Judge Pam Honeycutt. Fourth, at the end of June, most of the defendant opioid manufacturers and distributors filed motions and legal memorandums totaling nearly 2,000 pages in which they asked the court to dismiss the government’s lawsuit against them. This was expected, and it was also unsurprising to see so many motions and briefs filed at the same time. Together, the filings by the defendants covered topics and arguments about personal jurisdiction, fact-pleading standards, venue, preemption, statutes of limitations, causation and injury, several common-law doctrines, standing, punitive damages, and the merits of the claims brought by the counties, cities, and state under Arkansas law. Did I mention that the defendants filed nearly 2,000 pages of paper? On Aug. 30, we filed a unified (“omnibus”) response to all the defendants’ motions, on behalf of all the government plaintiffs. We responded to every argument, and we defended the validity of all the claims asserted in the complaint against the drug companies allegedly responsible for the Arkansas Opioid 22
Epidemic — and we did so in less than 100 pages. The position we advocate is that under the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff counties, cities, and state should be permitted to pursue all claims asserted against the defendants: negligence, common-law public nuisance, Colin Jorgensen Risk Management claims under the Arkansas Civil Litigation Counsel Action by Crime Victims statute, including the Arkansas Uniform Narcotic Drug Act and the Arkansas Controlled Substances Act, and claims under the Arkansas Drug Dealer Liability Act. On the same day that we filed the omnibus response (Aug. 30), we sent a detailed letter to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in which we requested access to information from the DEA’s “ARCOS” database, which tracks opioid sales nationwide throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to final sale. This evidence could be critical to the governments’ claims against the drug companies involved in the supply chain. We have properly offered to work with the DEA to craft a protective order governing use of the ARCOS data for this litigation and law enforcement, while otherwise maintaining the confidentiality of the ARCOS data. Moving forward, we expect the defendants to file a reply (or a barrage of individual replies or both) by their deadline in early October. After that, the defendants’ motions will be ripe for a ruling by the court. We expect the court to schedule a hearing for argument on the motions sometime after the completion of briefing. Meanwhile, we intend to pursue the ARCOS data from the DEA and discovery from the defendants and begin working to craft remedies for the Arkansas Opioid Epidemic. We intend to prosecute this case, and there is much work to be done. We see no reason to pause for resolution of defense motions that we believe are meritless and should be summarily denied. Aug. 31, 2018 — the day after we filed the omnibus brief — was International Opioid Awareness Day. A commemorative event was organized by State Drug Director Kirk Lane at the State Capitol that from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. that Friday. Just before 6:30 p.m. there was a brief rain shower, and at precisely 6:30 p.m., a double rainbow appeared in the downtown landscape, blanketing the view from the Capitol steps. Director Lane, KTHV-TV Reporter Laura Monteverde, Trevor Villines, and others, including multiple addicts in recovery, gave compelling speeches about overdose and recovery, about battles won and lost, and about battles that lie ahead. The event was a powerful reminder of what this case is all about. Of course, we don’t need a reminder. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
SAVINGS TIMES 2
More efficient jail record keeping is possible
heriffs, jail administrators, and other county These logs were recorded on a law enforcement personnel gathered in July at mobile, handheld device called the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) the Spartan. They were stored for our annual Guardian Users Conference. digitally in the Cloud and can Brett Wilmeth, vice president and senior quality leader, be accessed quickly and easily. If and Greg Piper, training and implementation specialist, there was a lawsuit in one of these shared their knowledge at this year’s “GuardianRFID jails and all this information Warrior Expo” hosted by AAC Risk Management Fund was on paper, how much time Becky Comet (AACRMF). This conference is the ideal setting for county and effort would it take to find? AAC Member Would they even be able to find Benefits Manager law enforcement heroes to learn from the Guardian the precise information they experts and from each other. The GuardianRFID system is an inmate monitoring would need? Finally, if there was system used in many county jails. It is a high-tech, user- an incident that ended in litigation, and the information friendly way to monitor and document everything an had been recorded on paper at a later time when time inmate does in real time. Jail personnel can monitor with was available to make the report, how well would it stand ease where prisoners are; what they are doing; whether up in a court law? This information was gathered on the they have had meals, medications, cell checks, mail, and spot, not written down at a later time, and is considered a host of other things. The Spartan handheld device used highly credible in a court of law. We would like to commend the following officers that by jail staff can even take a picture or short video as an recorded the most logs in the Guardian system during the increased level of data collection. All the documentation last year. Thank you all for your service to this state and your provided under the Guardian system provides protection counties. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed. for counties in case of litigation. If you’re not using the Guardian system you may be Sevier County — Ryan Collum — 57,375 logs wondering why you should consider changing the way Boone County —- Gabe Fowler — 47,516 logs you have always done things. Paper and pencil have served Sebastian County – Melissa Bartlett – 44,243 logs well for years. Here are a few reasons from Guardian: Greene County — Mark Caldwell — 42,920 logs • 59 percent of managers say they miss important White County — Adam Harris — 35,407 logs information daily because even though it exists, they can’t find it because it’s on paper. Thanks to Brett and Greg from Guardian for coming to • Senior leaders spend an average of six weeks per year Arkansas to continue to train our county law enforcement looking for lost documents. heroes. We appreciate your recognition of their hard work. • Over 70 percent of all jails still rely on paper as the Did you know Arkansas is the largest user of the primary method of records management. Guardian system in the country? Did you also know Here are a few more statistics based on Arkansas the Guardian system is just one of the great benefits of Guardian usage over the last year: being a member of the AACRMF? If you would like to • There were over 19 million rows of data logs in know more about how you can get the Guardian system Guardian using jails in Arkansas. If done on paper this installed in your jail — and take advantage of the other would fill 4,000 logbooks. AACRMF benefits — please contact me at (501) 372• 60,000 inmates were booked. 7550 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. • 29,000 inmate credentials were issued. • An average of 322 rows of data per inmate No. of inmates booked were logged. No. of logs County Jail Brett and Greg shared information about booked in system specific county jails using Guardian in 3,382,904 14,035 Sebastian Arkansas. The chart to the right shows the top Craighead 2,634,378 5,487 five jails recording logs in the system over the Greene 2,452,808 2,301 last year. Congratulations to these counties White 1,728,429 5,653 and their jail staffs for their dedication to Sevier 1,285,434 934 getting the job done in the most efficient and accurate way possible. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
AAC names 2018 scholarship recipients Biology, health science and business are among their fields of study
he Association of Arkansas Counties recently announced its 2018 AAC Scholarship Trust recipients. AAC established the trust in 1985 to provide college financial assistance to the children, stepchildren and grandchildren of Arkansas county and district officials and employees. AAC has since awarded nearly a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships. Along with the AAC, the following county associations contributed to the scholarship trust in 2018: The County Judges Association of Arkansas, the Arkansas Circuit Clerks Association, the County Collectors Association of Arkansas, the Arkansas County Treasurers Association, the Assessors Association of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts.
Assessor Leslie Collins and is a 2018 graduate of Augusta High School. She will attend Arkansas State University in Beebe, where she will seek an associate of arts degree.
Claire Alyse Hollenbeck
science at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Emma Jackson Bradley “Tyler” Daily
Trenton Barker — Trenton is the son of Fulton County Coroner Steve Barker and a 2018 graduate of Salem High School. Trenton will attend Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and will seek a degree in biology. Brianna N. Collins — Brianna is the daughter of Woodruff County Tax 24
Bradley “Tyler” Daily — Tyler is the grandson of Pope County Justice of the Peace Don Daily and is a 2018 graduate of Pottsville High School. He will attend Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, where he will seek a degree in life science education and biology. Claire Alyse Hollenbeck — Claire is the daughter of Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck. She is a 2018 graduate of Northside High School in Fort Smith and will seek a degree in
Emma Jackson — Emma is the daughter of Jackson County Tax Collector Kelly Walker and is a 2018 graduate of Newport High School. She will attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where she will seek a degree in biology. Spencer Sutterfield — Spencer is a 2018 graduate of Greenbrier High School and the grandson of Dirk Sutterfield, who works in the Faulkner County OEM and Road Department. Spencer will attend Ouachita Baptist University, where he will seek a degree in business and biblical studies. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Office. She is a 2018 graduate of Wonderview High School and will attend the University of Central Arkansas, where will seek a degree in health science.
Stephen Thomas Worley — Thomas is the grandson of Bradley County Circuit Clerk Catherine Lee Richardson and is a sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University, where he is working toward an accounting degree.
Arkansas Razorback baseball recruit. The scholarship is funded by donations made in Matt’s name and by the County Judges Association. It is awarded each year to an applicant who reminds the scholarship committee of Matt, either through their sports involvement or by helping others.
Harry A. Jeffrey
Harry A. Jeffrey — Harry is a 2018 graduate of Harmony Grove High Schoo. He is the grandson of Norma J. Castleberry, who works in the Dallas County Clerk and Circuit Clerk’s offices. Harry will attend Ouachita Baptist University, where he will seek a degree in biology.
Shawna Marie Martin
Bailey Nicole Morrow
Shelby Reynolds — Shelby is the granddaughter of Marie Halman, who works in the Conway County Treasurer’s
Bailey Nicole Morrow — Bailey is this year’s recipient of the Matt Morris Scholarship. A 2018 graduate of White Hall High School, she is the daughter of Rebekah Shipp, who works in the Jefferson County Tax Collector’s Office. Bailey will attend Arkansas State University and will seek a degree in sports medicine. The Matt Morris scholarship was established following the death in 1999 of Matt Morris. Matt was the son of Searcy Mayor David Morris, who is a former AAC employee. Matt was an
Shawna Marie Martin — Shawna is a 2016 graduate of Cotter High School and a sophomore at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro where she is majoring in strategic communications. She is the great granddaughter of Laurel Don Reed, who works in the Baxter County Road and Bridge Department. This is the second year Shawna has been awarded the Randy Kemp Memorial Scholarship. Randy served as AAC Communications Director from July 2008 until his death in August 2011. The scholarship is funded exclusively by the annual Randy Kemp Golf Tournament and awarded each year to an applicant who plans to study journalism or mass communications.
75 Counties - One Voice COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Left: Eddie A. Jones, a longtime Randolph County Treasurer, former AAC Executive Director, and current AAC consultant and liaison to the Arkansas County Treasurers’ Association, received the Inaugural 2017 Wes Fowler Advocacy Award. Right: Sherry Bell, who recently retired as Columbia County Clerk, was selected to receive the 2018 Wes Fowler Advocacy Award.
Wes Fowler Advocacy Award presented to 2 longtime county officials at AAC conference The AAC Scholarship Committee will select the recipient of the award on an annual basis
Story by Christy L. Smith Photos by Holland Doran AAC Communications Staff
he Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) awarded its first two Wes Fowler Advocacy Awards during its 50th anniversary conference in August. Eddie A. Jones received the Inaugural 2017 Wes Fowler Advocacy Award, while retired Columbia County Clerk Sherry Bell received the 2018 Wes Fowler Advocacy Award. The awards recognize a county or district official who best embodies Fowler’s dedication to local government and demonstrates “tireless work in boldly advocating for the counties of Arkansas.” Jones was a longtime Randolph County treasurer and former executive director of the AAC. He continues to serve county government in the role of consultant for the AAC and liaison to the Arkansas County Treasurers’ Association. “Winning the Inaugural Wes Fowler Advocacy Award caught me totally by surprise, but what a genuine honor,” Jones said. “Wes and I were good friends for many years and worked closely together on county issues right up to the time of his death. I have devoted 38 years of my life advocating 26
for county government. County government has a special place in my heart and so does this award given in honor of my good friend.” Randolph County Circuit Clerk and AAC Board President Debbie Wise presented the advocacy award to Jones, noting Jones was probably “the most obvious choice” to receive the inaugural award. “But because he is so unassuming and humble about his work in county government he often does not get the credit he deserves. Once labeled ‘A Walking Encyclopedia of County Government’ in an AAC magazine, this man has truly forgotten more about county government than most of us will ever know,” Wise said. AAC Executive Director Chris Villines and Wise presented the 2018 Wes Fowler Advocacy Award to Bell, who began her county government career in 1982 as an employee in the Columbia County Assessor’s office. She became a Level 4 Appraiser during her 15-year tenure in that office. She was unsuccessful in a bid for county treasurer in 1996, but ran for county clerk in 1998 and was elected. Bell served as an AAC Board member, AAC Legislative Committee member, and as president of the Arkansas Association of County Clerks during her tenured career as an elected COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
AAC county official. Villines said Bell “probably never envisioned as a child in Chicago that she would someday be a revered county official in Arkansas.” Villines called Bell “self-driven” and “persistent.” “Like Wes Fowler, who had a broad knowledge of several offices in the county, Sherry is a Swiss army knife of a courthouse with an understanding of many facets,” he said. The advocacy award was established last year following the death of Wes Fowler, who spent decades working in Madison County government before finishing his career at the AAC as Governmental Relations Director. Villines explained that, though Fowler passed away in early 2017, the association was unable to present the inaugural award at last year’s AAC conference. As a result, the AAC Scholarship Committee made two selections to award at this year’s conference — one for the inaugural 2017 award and another for 2018. The award will be given annually to a county or district official that has exhibited great passion for advocacy over the previous year. “The winners of these awards will receive an Arkansas County Diamond Award and will be honored in perpetuity at the Association of Arkansas Counties with a permanently placed plaque and names added each year,” Villines said.
Above: Wes Fowler served as Madison County Clerk for 10 years beginning in 1989. During that time, he served as legislative chair and in officer positions in the Arkansas Association of County Clerks. He was elected county judge in 1998 and continued to be active in the County Judges’ Association of Arkansas. He joined the AAC staff as Governmental Affairs Director in 2010, and continued to serve as a consultant to the AAC after he retired in 2014. Fowler passed away Feb. 1, 2017.
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Pulaski County cuts ribbon on new CSU Story and Photos by Holland doran AAC Communications Coordinator
entral Arkansas now has a secure facility that provides professional mental crisis care to those who may be facing jail time. July 6, Pulaski County cut the ribbon on its new Crisis Stabilization Unit, a 16-bed facility created to divert those who are experiencing mental health crises away from the county jail. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke to a large crowd of state and local officials, healthcare professionals, and residents during a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the new CSU located at 3001 W. Roosevelt Rd., Little Rock. Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde and CSU Program Director Lisa Evans thanked everyone who had a hand in making the unit a reality. “This is the culmination of what can be achieved when a group of people work together for a common cause,” Hyde said. Pulaski County worked with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to develop the facility and treatment criteria that will allow more citizens access to critical mental health services. The Pulaski County CSU is the second in the state to open — the first was in Sebastian County.
Top: Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde (right) and State Rep. Clarke Tucker cut a ceremonial ribbon in front of the new crisis stabilization unit. Above left: Judge Hyde speaks during the ceremony. Above right: CSU Program Director Lisa Evans speaks about the 16-bed facility.
Left: The Pulaski County Crisis Stabilization Unit is located at 3001 W. Roosevelt Road, Little Rock. Above: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to event attendees. 28
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Suzanne Kellar McCarty, whose son died of a fentanyl overdose, shares her personal story. Parent Teacher Association President-Elect Melinda Kinnison, right, listens.
Above: Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane. Far Left: Mack Hutchison, Quality Assurance Manager for Metropolitan Emergency Management Services. Left middle: Sheila Thrower, Little Rock Central High School nurse. Left: Jim Tom Bell with Quapaw House.
U.S. Congressman Hill holds opioid conference Panelists suggest more rehabilitation choices, education to fight opioid crisis Story and Photos by Holland doran AAC Communications Coordinator
olutions to the opioid epidemic plaguing Arkansas was one of the topics a panel of eight people across a variety of fields discussed at the “Opioids in Our Community: Resources and Stories in Central Arkansas” meeting June 18. The event was hosted by U.S. Rep. French Hill at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The panel discussion was moderated by Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, who offered his expertise on treating opioid addiction: “It’s a disease and you have to treat it as a disease.” Rep. Hill opened the meeting by welcoming attendees, and also took part in the panel discussion by answering questions regarding the U.S. Congressional efforts to produce legislation to combat the opioid crisis. Hill said the House of Representatives passed more than 36 bills covering a range of issues, including law enforcement, criminal justice, and addiction prevention and treatment. Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane expressed the urgency 30
Above: CDR Karen Hearod, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Regional Administrator, U.S. Congressman French Hill and Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe chat before the meeting.
to develop solutions to end the epidemic, and stressed that the biggest obstacle to combating the problem in Arkansas is “adapting to change.” Lane also shared the successes of programs such as the Arkansas Take Back program that has been the most successful program of its kind in the country. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Above: A panel of experts from a variety of fields answer audience questions during an opioid summit in Sebastian County. State House Rep. Justin Boyd, second from right, explains what the Arkansas Legislature is doing to combat the opioid crisis. Left: Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck challenges attendees to reach out to those who may be struggling with addiction. Below: Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane outlines state programs that have seen success in opioid addiction education.
Opioid crisis solution ‘multifaceted’ Experts in a variety of fields answer tough questions on opioid crisis. Story and Photos by Holland doran AAC Communications Coordinator
he Sebastian County Opioid Task Force hosted the “In our Own Backyard... Addressing Opioids in Our Community” summit June 20, 2018, in Fort Smith/ Sebastian County. Professionals in healthcare, education, social services, emergency services, law enforcement, and state and local government addressed the opioid epidemic in Arkansas from the point of view of their professions. Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck spoke to attendees on the problems opioid abuse is causing in his county. Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane shared opioid use statistics in Arkansas. “Seventy percent of abused drugs come out of the home,” Lane said. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also spoke on her office’s efforts to educate youth on the dangers of opioids through the Prescription for Life program. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Below: Sebastian County Judge David Hudson (midle) listens to a presentation on the opiate antagonist nasal spray Narcan.
FEATURE Des Arc Library comes to fruition
rairie County officials and residents came together in July for the grand opening of the new Des Arc Public Library. The library is housed in a renovated 1913 Presbyterian Church donated to the county by the Des Arc School District. It took eight years of work and raising funds to turn the library into a reality. “We’re hoping it will provide the means to instill the love of reading for all of our young. We hope for it to be the heart of this community,” Prairie County Judge Mike Skarda said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. State Sen. Jonathan Dismang attended the ribbon cutting and said he appreciates “the work of the judge and the community coming together.” State Rep. David Hillman concurred: “You’ve made an investment in the future of Prairie County, and I commend you. Judge Skarda thanked the many volunteers and laborers who helped with the library project. He gave a special thanks to Gene and Matilda Horne, longtime members of the church who helped contact the Presbyterian Church to ensure the stained glass windows and organ could remain part of the building. Above: After eight years, a healthy amount of volunteer labor, and many grants later, Prairie County finally opened the doors of its new library in June in Des Arc. The library is housed in a renovated church. A plaque at the entrance states, “Transforming this beautiful Presbyterian Church into Des Arc Public Library started simply as a dream.” Far left: The church’s original organ remains on display in the building. Right, top: The library includes a large and colorful children’s area. In addition, there is a game area, and the library offers movie rentals. Right, bottom: Prairie County Judge Mike Skarda holds the ceremonial ribbon while Head Librarian April Highfill cuts the ribbon. 32
COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
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Top left: Pictured is the construction of the additional 10,000 square feet that was added to the AAC building. Lower left: Pictured is the building before construction was completed.
Above: AAC Board members and county officials break ground in 1996 where the future space was to be added to the AAC building. Top right: Pictured is AAC’s current facility. Right: The late A.A. “Shug” Banks served as Mississippi County Judge for 20 years, was a charter AAC board member, and served as the first AAC board president.
‘We’ve come a long way, baby’ AAC reflects on 50 years of rich history of supporting county government
Story by EDDIE A. JONES AAC Consultant
elieve it or not, back in the late 1970’s on the very spot where the west end of the AAC headquarters is located there was an old rundown frame house with a pig pen in the back complete with pigs. Pigs! One block away and within sight of the State Capitol of Arkansas. We’ve come a long way since then. The year 2018 marks our 50th anniversary. We honor our past; celebrate the present; and envision the future. Founded in 1968, the association has a long track record of achievement, from legislative advocacy to constituent services. Articles of Incorporation for the Association of Arkansas Counties were filed April 10, 1968. But how did AAC get its start? Let me tell you a bit of that story as told by Jim Pledger and Shug Banks about 25 years ago. Pledger was Yell County treasurer for many years, charter board member of the Association of Arkansas Counties and long-time president of AAC. He served in several capacities in Gov. Bill Clinton’s administration, including director of the department of finance and administration. He later served as director of the Arkansas state fair. Judge 34
Banks served as Mississippi County judge for 20 years (from 1961 to 1980), was a charter board member of the Association of Arkansas Counties and served as the first president of AAC from 1968 through 1980. Judge Banks died in 2001. Mr. Pledger died in 2006. The idea for the Association of Arkansas Counties was “born on the beaches of Hawaii.” In the mid-60’s a NACo Conference was held in Hawaii. In attendance were Judge A.A. “Shug” Banks of Mississippi County, Yell County Treasurer Jim Pledger and several other Arkansas county officials. It was during this meeting that the idea and the determination to provide the officials of Arkansas with organizational structure was born. The first attempt to make this idea a reality came during the 1967 legislative session, but it failed. As you might imagine, there was a lot of opposition to the counties becoming organized and establishing an organization that would provide representation for all county officials statewide. Even so, the Association of Arkansas Counties was incorporated by a group of county officials in 1968. This setback did not deter those county officials such as Judge Banks and Mr. Pledger who were determined to create a representative organization for county government. In 1969 Senate COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Top left: AAC board members and county officials take a photo in front of the AAC building as it’s seen today. Above: Jim Baker and county officials rally on the state Capitol steps in support of four-year terms for county officials. Far left: Former U.S. Senator David Pryor speaks at AAC’s 1996 annual conference. Left: Former Arkansas Governor and U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an AAC event. Bill 142 was filed by Sen. John Bearden and Sen. Olen Hendrix that would create the Association of Arkansas Counties legislatively. The legislation passed through the Senate, but was then held up in the House. It appeared that it would come down to a tie vote in the House, and the Speaker would have to vote to determine the outcome of the legislation. It was also heard that the Speaker’s support for the counties was wavering and that the vote might go against the county officials. A delegation was quickly put together and they paid a visit to the Speaker of the House — Judge Ray Sikes of Little River County and Judge Banks. The story goes that the Speaker was rumored to be considering a run for the Governor’s office. With this knowledge in hand and being the consummate politician, Judge Sikes reminded the Speaker that “a person who supports you might figure you have the election won and decide to stay home on election day and mow his yard instead of going to the polls to vote. But a person who opposes you will swim a river to vote against you.” Upon contemplating this sage advice, the Speaker wisely voted for the legislation and the rest is history. It became Act 92 of 1969 codified as ACA 14-20-107. AAC became the official voice for Arkansas counties. The first AAC Annual Conference was in 1972 and was described as “only somewhat successful.” The conference was a one-day affair at the old Lafayette Hotel in Little Rock. Seminars were held during the day, and a banquet was scheduled for that night. Back then, most county officials were not accusCOUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
tomed to over-night meetings in Little Rock so they went home after the seminars. The banquet was set up to accommodate about 200, but since most officials had already gone home, only 25 showed up. To make matters worse, Congressman Bill Alexander was the keynote speaker and had flown in from Washington specifically for the banquet. It may seem funny now, but it seemed quite a disaster at the time. This is a marked contrast from our annual conferences of today. It is worth noting that for many years AAC has had 600 to 700 county and district officials in attendance at the annual AAC conferences, which run from Wednesday through Friday. The differences in the quality and attendance during the conferences are not the only differences between the AAC of old and the AAC we all know now. Most current officials would not recognize the Association of Arkansas Counties in its infancy compared to the 50-year-old organization. AAC now has a nice headquarters and provides many services it did not and could not provide in those early years. In the beginning the association was primarily a lobbyist organization for county government with only three staff persons and a small rented office. In the beginning, as might be imagined, our lobbying efforts were nowhere near as successful as they are now. It took several years to bring all the county official associations together as a See
Above: Former AAC Executive Director and retired Randolph County Treasurer Eddie Jones (right, center) shakes the hand of former AAC Executive Director James H. Baker. Former AAC Board President and Craighead County Judge Roy Bearden is pictured at left, and former AAC Board of Directors President Barbara Hersom,both of whom have passed away, sits at right. Right center: Former U.S. Senator from Arkansas and lawyer Blanche Lincoln speaks at an AAC conference. cohesive group and thinking in terms of solidarity. It also took the Legislature a few years to fully recognize the Association of Arkansas Counties as the agreed upon representative for all of county government statewide. In fact, it took the passage of Amendment 55, landmark legislation that reorganized county government in Arkansas, to change the Association of Arkansas Counties into the organization it is now. Today, AAC represents 1,332 county and district officials and nine various associations all under one umbrella. After the passage of Amendment 55 in 1974 and the subsequent passage of the enacting legislation, Act 742 of 1977 as amended, county officials were thrust into a new and more complicated system of county government. Quorum courts had new roles and the various constitutional offices were modified to one degree or another. The old fee system of funding officials was abandoned for the current system of paying every county official a salary. It became imperative that county and district officials have a single source they could go to for information on this new and complicated set of laws. The logical provider of this single source of information was, of course, the Association of Arkansas Counties. Starting with Act 742, which was 102 pages of legislation concerning county government, and continuing to this day, the Association of Arkansas Counties strives to provide county and district officials with a single source of quality information. Like state and federal government, county government has grown more complex with volumes of laws that must be adhered to. AAC has worked diligently to keep up with the changing times of county government. The Association not only lobbies effectively for all county and district officials, but they also get the word out on all new leg36
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Left: U.S. Senator John Boozman speaks at an AAC conference. Above: Former Arkansas Governor and Lt. Governor Jim Guy Tucker speaks at the 1993 AAC annual conference. Jim Baker sits to his right. islation by holding “new legislation seminars.” The AAC office serves as a hub of information on all aspects of county government, from the oldest, most obscure legislation to the newest, most technical legislation to come out of the General Assembly and from the federal level in Washington. Even though AAC is seen as a lobbying organization, AAC does much more for the county and district officials of Arkansas. They hold various seminars and annual conferences, compile and print training manuals, directories, and other educational material. They publish a quarterly, national awardwinning magazine called County Lines and provide day-to-day consultation for their constituency. AAC also grants academic and financial need scholarships to the children and grandchildren of county and district officials and employees. The Association of Arkansas Counties provides benefit programs for Arkansas counties. In 1985, AAC added a Workers’ Compensation Trust for counties, and they currently provide workers’ compensation coverage for all 75 counties and several other county entities. In 1986, a Risk Management Fund was established. The Risk Management Fund provides counties with general liability, automobile fleet protection, and a property insurance program. The AAC Risk Management Fund currently provides coverage for 54 counties and about 400 fire departments. Risk Management member counties receive the added benefits of Justice Bridge, a video/audio communications system for use in the courts and sheriff’s offices; Guardian RFID, an inmate tracking system; and codification of county ordinances. The AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust and the Risk Management Fund are completely self-funded and selfadministered and in solid financial condition. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Top left: Conway County Judge Jimmy Hart; the late Jonathan Greer, AAC general legal counsel; and retired Saline County Judge and current Arkansas State Rep. Lanny Fite, attend a meeting. Above center: Former AAC Executive Director Brenda Pruitt sits at the head table during AAC’s 2005 annual conference. Above right: The late Wes Fowler, former AAC covernmental affairs director, Madison County judge and Madison County Clerk, speaks at an association meeting. Bottom left: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe speaks at an AAC annual conference.
Membership in the Association of Arkansas Counties started out slow when the association was first established. But AAC has had 100 percent membership (all 75 counties) every year since 1988. Arkansas has also had 100 percent county membership in NACo since 2007, when the Association of Arkansas Counties started paying the NACo dues for all Arkansas counties. This move has greatly improved Arkansas strength in federal legislative matters. There has been quite a metamorphosis of AAC facilities and services. The transformation has taken a mere 50 years. AAC originally rented a small office across the street from the State Capitol with three employees. In the late 70’s AAC bought a small piece of property on Victory Street just one block from the Capitol. In 1979, the association completed and moved into its own headquarters — a 3,600-square-foot, multi-level building that served the needs of the county and district officials for many years. The total building and furnishing cost for the original county-owned facility was $220,000. In 1987, the initial investment was paid off. In 1990, the AAC Board of Directors, under the leadership of then-Executive Director Jim Baker, began to purchase adjoining property — lot by lot. They also started a capital fund for future expansion. In 1996 the Board conducted groundbreaking ceremonies for new construction and remodeling of the old facility. An additional 10,000 square feet of space was added, bringing the Association of Arkansas Counties facility to 13,600 square feet of office and meeting space. Cost for the new addition and remodeling of the old building was $1,579,000 and was completed in March 1997. Executive Directors Brenda Pruitt and then Eddie Jones conCOUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
tinued to set aside money for future expansion of the facility — knowing the time and need would come as AAC continued to broaden its scope of benefits, services, and support for Arkansas’ 75 counties. In 2013 Executive Director Chris Villines and the board decided the time was right, the need existed, and the money was available to expand the facility. Another 5,200 square feet of office space was added — a two-level, 16-office, two-conference room space on the east end of the complex. And the original 3,600 square foot area was renovated — again! The Risk Management and Workers’ Comp divisions moved into the newest wing of the complex. And the Sheriff’s Association rents office space in the east wing. This addition to the AAC complex, including furnishings, a remodel of the kitchen in the 1997 addition, and repaving the parking lots cost about $1,750,000 — all paid for with moneys saved specifically for expansion. No debt! And this 18,800-square-foot facility belongs to the counties of Arkansas. One of the greatest assets of AAC is the fact that our office complex is only a block from the State Capitol where most of the lobbying efforts are centered. Our close proximity to the Capitol is the envy of county associations across America. Over a 50-year period the Association of Arkansas Counties has grown from a small rented office with three employees to a county owned 18,800-square-foot complex with 31 employees serving county government in multiple ways. The Association of Arkansas Counties is an organization of solidarity, the umbrella organization for nine affiliate associations — County Judges, County Clerks, Assessors, Collectors, See
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Above: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines, NACo Past President Sally Clark, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, former AAC Board of Directors President and Clark County Treasurer Judy Beth Hutcherson, and Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck pose for a photo. Top right: Villines, Former AAC Board President and retired Johnson County Judge Mike Jacobs, and Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay talk during AAC’s conference. Right: Conference attendees participate in AAC’s annual conference roll call. Treasurers, Circuit Clerks/Recorders, Sheriffs, Coroners; and Justices of the Peace making up the 75 county Quorum Courts. Each of the affiliate organizations has two board members on the AAC Board of Directors, comprising an 18-member board. In addition to the solidarity of AAC’s affiliate associations our strength and stability comes from continuity of leadership. The Association has had only nine (9) Presidents of the Board and six (6) Executive Directors in our 50-year history. Other reasons for the growth and success of the Association of Arkansas Counties can be attributed to: • Mission — AAC has had an inspiring shared mission at our core; • Vision — AAC has had an idea of where we were going. A vision abstract enough to encourage people to imagine it but concrete enough for members to see it; • Competency — AAC has had competent leaders. You must be seen by the stakeholders, employees and legislative leaders as being an expert in the field of county government or an expert in leadership; • A strong team — AAC has had strong teams through the years. Realistically, few executives possess all of the skills and abilities necessary for total mastery of every area within the organization. To complement the areas of weakness, a wise leader assembles effective teams of experienced, credentialed, and capable individuals who can supplement any voids in the leader’s skill set; • Communication skills — AAC has had some good communicators at the helm. It does little good to have a strong mission, vision, and goals — and even a solid budget — if the executive cannot easily and effectively convey his ideas to the stakeholders inside and outside the organization; 38
• A “can do, get it done” attitude — AAC has a record of getting it done. Nothing builds a picture of success more than achievement, and achievement is the No. 1 factor that motivates just about everyone. • Inspiration — AAC has had some inspirational leaders, both as director and board members and officers. Employees and constituents of an organization need someone to look up to for direction, guidance, and motivation; and • Ambition — AAC has always been moving forward. Resting on your laurels is bad for morale and credibility. Employees and constituents need to see an organization constantly striving for improvement and success. That comes first and foremost from the leader. We have looked back to view the 50-year history of the Association of Arkansas Counties, and it’s easy to see that progress has been made — and lots of it. But most importantly we should look forward! Look toward the next 50 years and visualize the progress that will be made for county government in Arkansas. I have witnessed, first hand, the past 38 years of county government — and what a change I have witnessed. I have hope for positive change because now, as in the past, we have some great leaders in county government — leaders that will move us into new and better ways of serving, leaders that will prepare the next generation of leaders by instilling in them the conviction and the will to carry on. As Loretta Lynn’s 1979 country song said, “We’ve come a long way, Baby!” Since the founding and incorporation of the Association of Arkansas Counties in 1968 we have a rich 50year track record of great achievement. So, “We Honor our Past, We Celebrate the Present, and We Envision our Future.” The Association of Arkansas Counties — 75 counties, One voice! COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
AAC Historical Information, continued Presidents of the Board of Directors Mississippi County Judge A.A. “Shug” Banks 1968-1980 AAC Executive Director Chris Villines (left) shakes the hand of the late Don Zimmerman, past executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, during a news conference on the Arkansas Capitol steps announcing that Arkansas counties and cities had filed a joint lawsuit against the opioid drug industry.
Yell County Treasurer James C. Pledger 1981-Aug. 1987 Little River County Judge Hoye Horn Aug. 1987-1988 Pope County Treasurer Bert Page 1989-1990
AAC Historical Information Original AAC Board of Directors R.S. Peters, Pulaski County Clerk Janice Phillips, Lonoke County Clerk S.C. Langston, Lee County Sheriff Herman D. McCormick, Yell County Sheriff Irma Shoffner, Jackson County Circuit Clerk Paul Shuffield, Hot Spring County Circuit Clerk Jackson Ross, Pope County Treasurer James C. Pledger, Yell County Treasurer L.E. Tedford, Pulaski County Assessor Dale Shelton, Arkansas County Assessor Milton R. Beck, Crittenden County Judge A.A. “Shug” Banks, Mississippi County Judge The original Board of Directors had 12 members. The current Board of Directors consists of 18 members, two from each of the nine affiliate associations.
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Little River County Assessor Barbara Hersom 1991-Feb. 1993 Craighead County Judge Roy Bearden Feb. 1993-1998 Johnson County Judge Mike Jacobs 1999-2014
Clark County Treasurer Judy Beth Hutcherson 2015-June 2017 Randolph County Circuit Clerk Debbie Wise July 2017-Current
AAC Executive Directors Frank Bizzell, 1969-late 1974 Carl J. Madsen, late 1974-Feb. 1975 (Interim) S.C. Langston, Feb. 1975-1988 James H. Baker, 1988-Oct. 2000 David Morris, Oct. 2000-Jan. 2001 (Interim) Brenda Pruitt, Jan. 2001-2006 Eddie A. Jones, 2007-June 2010 Chris Villines, July 2010-Current 39
COVER STORY 40 plus golfers participate in 20th annual golf tournament
Above: Phillip Carper with DataScout, Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston, Jefferson County Collector-Elect Tony Washington and Cory Scott take a photo.
ore than 40 golfers teed off at The Creeks Golf Resort in Cave Springs Aug. 7, 2018, to raise money for the Randy Kemp Memorial Scholarship Fund. Kemp was the AAC’s first communications director. He joined AAC in 2008 after a successful career in newspapers. He died in a motorcycle accident in August 2001. The Randy Kemp Memorial Scholarship aims to raise funds for scholarships for descendants of county officials or employees who intend to pursue a college degree in communications. The 2018 Randy Kemp Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Shawna Marie Martin, great-granddaughter of Baxter County Road Department employee Laurel Don Reed. AAC extends its appreciation those who support the fund, the golfers and sponsors. Left: Craighead County Justice of the Peace Josh Longmire aims for the green.
Far left: Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director and Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley prepares to swing. Left: Steffen Wilson, James Ballard, Buddy Villines and Alan Breshears wait to take off to the first tee. Above: Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright lines up to hit the ball.
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Alan Breshears squares up to hit the ball. Tim Welch and Arlene Welch watch.
Tournament results First Flight 1st - Darryl Gardner and Bill Bradberry 2nd - Scott Sanson and Snapper Ussery 3rd - Cory Scott and Tony Washington Second Flight 1st - Brent Hendricks and Joey Pruitt 2nd - Patrick Hardy and Eric McCorey 3rd - Tim Welch and Arlene Welch Long Drive Winner Brittany Rogers Putting Contest Winner Josh Longmire
Above: Apri l an the closest to d Tommy Fisher judge the pin conte st.
Closest to the Pin Winner Bill Bradberry
Sponsors Platinum Sponsors Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions Correct Solutions Group Gold Sponsors JCD Consulting Keystone Solutions
Above: Trayce Hughes with the Logan County assessor’s office and Logan County Assessor Shannon Cotton share a laugh. Right: AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis, Snapper Ussery and Faulkner County Treasurer Scott Sanson wait on the green.
Silver Sponsors Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Delta Mass Appraisal Services, Inc. Arkansas Cama Technology, Inc. National Medtest, Inc. 1st Arkansas Bail Bonds, Inc. Datascout, LLC
Hole Sponsors Twisted Foods Eatery and Meal Prep Rainwater, Holt and Sexton Apprentice Information Systems
Above: Darryl Gardner with Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions watches his ball down the fairway. Right: Robin Dollar with National Medtest and Boddy Dollar offers drinks to golfers.
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50th anniversary conference sets record attendance Officials hear from congressman, governor and pay tribute to past leaders
he Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) celebrated its 50th anniversary at its annual conference Aug. 8-10, 2018, at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers/Benton County. “Honoring our Past, Celebrating the Present, Envisioning our Future” was a fitting theme for the event, which drew record attendance of nearly 750. With Randolph County Circuit Clerk and AAC Board President Debbie Wise presiding over Wednesday’s opening general session, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring welcomed attendees. He introduced the keynote speaker, U.S. Congressman Steve Womack, who discussed the negative effects of political partisanship and the need for marketplace fairness. National Association of Counties (NACo) Executive Director Matt Chase also spoke, touching on the opioid crisis, disaster coverage, and other topics. AAC Executive Director Chris Villines led the traditional roll call — in a nontraditional way. Attendees watched video footage of all 85 courthouses in the state and let their presence be known as their courthouse appeared on the screen. On the morning of Thursday, Aug. 9, Gov. Asa Hutchinson discussed funding for drug task forces and highways, as well as emergency services reform. The Thursday luncheon was a time to honor the past. Former AAC executive directors and board presidents — Brenda Pruitt, Eddie A. Jones, Mike Jacobs, and Judy Beth Hutcherson — were seated at the head table. Villines recognized each, and attendees reflected on the past as they viewed a history video narrated by Jones. Speaker and entertainer Bill Stainton kept officials on their toes with his presentation, “The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made.” Afterward, the AAC recognized two officials for their “tireless work in boldly advocating for the counties of Arkansas.” The 2017 Inaugural Wes Fowler Advocacy Award was 42
presented to Eddie Jones, and the 2018 award was presented to retired Columbia County Clerk Sherry Bell. Break out sessions on retirement, crisis communication, human resources and other relevant topics were offered. In addition, the Senate and House State Agencies committees and the Senate and House
Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends. Friday ended with a panel discussion on opioids. Speakers were Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes, AAC Litigation Counsel Colin Jorgensen, Attorney Jerome Tapley, Attorney Mike
AAC Executive Director Chris Villines (left) welcomes Gov. Asa Hutchinson (right) to AAC’s conference in August. Christian Gonzalez (left, center) with the Governor’s office and Doug Smith (right, center) with the Governor’s campaign also are pictured.
City, County, and Local Affairs committees convened to hear presentations on improvement districts, the Arkansas homestead tax credit, and emergency services reform, among other items. Upon adjournment, candidates for Secretary of State, John Thurston (R) and Susan Inman (D), participated in a forum, addressing issues such as voting equipment and communication with counties. To wrap up Thursday, officials enjoyed the annual dinner and dance, featuring
Rainwater and Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane. In addition to providing an update on litigation, panelists shared facts about the crisis and personal stories. Finally, the AAC presented Lane and Ellington a Diamond Award for their exemplary work in combating the opioid crisis in Arkansas through education and litigation. The awards ceremony was a fitting symbol for the “future” of the AAC and Arkansas’ 75 counties. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Left: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines (left), Benton County Judge Barry Moehring, U.S. Congressman Steve Womack and NACo Executive Director Matt Chase talk before the opening general session Aug. 8. Above left: Matt Chase speaks to the more than 700 county officials and employees during the opening general session. Above right: Congressman Steve Womack discusses political partisanship and marketplace fairness. Right: Miss Northwest Arkansas Darynne Dahlem sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the opening general session Aug. 8. She also sang “God Bless America.” Far right: Congressman Steve Womack (center) talks with Washington County Circuit Clerk Kyle Sylvester (left) and Washington County Treasurer Bobby Hill (right).
Above left: AAC Board President and Randolph County Circuit Clerk Debbie Wise presides over the luncheon Aug. 9. Above center: AAC Board Vice-President, AAC Legislative Committee member, and Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison speaks to judges during their association meeting. Above right: AAC Board Secretary/Treasurer and Clark County Clerk Rhonda Cole sits at the head table during the business session. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Left: Lawrence County Judge John Thomison (center) and his wife, Rita, talk with Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Above: Ashley County Justice of the Peace Ronnie Wheeler (left) shakes Gov. Hutchinson’s hand.
Above left: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to conference attendees Aug. 9. Above center: Sebastian County Judge David Hudson gives a retirement committee report during AAC’s business session Aug. 10. Above right: AAC Legislative Committee Chair and Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt gives a legislative committee report during the business session. Right: AAC Board member, Arkansas Association of County Tax Collectors’ President, and Crittenden County Collector speaks to collectors. Right center: AAC Board member and Benton County Circuit Clerk Brenda DeShields speaks. Far right: AAC Legal Counsel Lindsey Bailey moderates the secretary of state candidates forum. 44
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Right: AAC Legislative Committee member, Boone County Clerk and Arkansas Association of County Clerks President Crystal Graddy (middle) speaks on behalf of county clerks. She is joined by Lindsey Bailey (left) and Rhonda Cole (right). Far right: State representatives Johnny Rye and Roger Lynch pose for a photo following a legislative meeting.
Left: State Rep. Lanny Fite (middle) speaks before the Senate and House City, County, and Local Affairs Committees. Chris Villines (left) and Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes (right) join him. Above: State Rep. and chair of the House City, County, and Local Affairs Committee Tim Lemons (left) and Villines chat.
Far left: State Senators Lance Eads (left) and Jim Hendren talk after the commitee meeting. Left: State Sen. Alan Clark, co-chairs the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. Other members of the committee join him at the table. Right: Brianna Fields, deputy director of the Benton County Office of Emergency Communications; Stacy Hunt, state 911 coordinator for Arkansas Department of Emergency Management; Renee Hoover, administrator of the Arkansas Emergency Telephone Services Board; and AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis, present a plan to reform the state’s 911 emergency response services. Far right: State Representatives Justin Boyd (left) and Jimmy Gazaway chat. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Left: Conway County Judge and AAC Board member Jimmy Hart (right), Stone County Assessor and AAC Board member Heather Stevens (left), and Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector and AAC Board member Debra Buckner (center) greet the Governor. Above: Logan County Justice of the Peace and AAC Board member Jeanne Andrews talks with Gov. Hutchinson.
Above: Franklin County Judge Rickey Bowman (left), Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, Arkansas County Judge Thomas “Eddie” Best, and Madison County Judge and County Judges’ Association of Arkansas President Frank Weaver (right) attend the joint meeting of the Senate and House City, County, and Local Affairs committees to show support of county issues. Above center: Past AAC Board of Directors President and Johnson County Judge Mike Jacobs (top), and past AAC Executive Director Brenda Pruitt were recognized for their years of service to Arkansas county government during the conference luncheon Aug. 9. Right: AAC Litigation Counsel Colin Jorgensen; Saline County Coroner, Arkansas Coroners’ Association President and AAC Board member Kevin Cleghorn; AAC Legal Counsel Mark Whitmore; Polk County Judge and AAC Board Vice-President Brandon Ellison; and Pulaski County Coroner and AAC Board member Gerone Hobbs smile for the camera. 46
Above: Stone County Assessor and AAC Board member Heather Stevens (left) and Columbia County Assessor and AAC Board member Sandra Cawyer pose for a photo.
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Far left: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines (left) and AAC Litigation Counsel Colin Jorgensen, present Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane with the AAC Diamond Award for his exemplary work in combating the opioid crisis. Left: Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington also receives a Diamond Award for his exemplary work in combating the opioid crisis. Left: Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes (left), Mike Rainwater of Rainwater, Holt & Sexton law firm and Attorney with Cory Watson, P.C. Jerome Tapley, participate in an opioid panel discussion on Aug. 10.
Above left: A group of early risers gather for AAC’s annual Wellness Walk, which is organized by AAC Member Benefits Manager Becky Comet. Above right: Donning black wigs, Greene County Treasurer Debbie Cross (left), Saline County Coroner Kevin Cleghorn, Baxter County Justice of the Peace Edna Fusco, and Saline County Justice of the Peace Tammy Schmidt perform as the Beatles under the direction of entertainer and speaker Bill Stainton. Stainton spoke on “The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made” during lunch on Aug. 9.
Far left: Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts members meet. Left: The Beatles tribute band, Liverpool Legends, perform during AAC’s annual Dinner & Dance Aug 9. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Left: National Association of Counties Membership Associate John Losh explains a new cybersecurity program to a conference attendee. Right: Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery chats with Jason Owens and JaNan Davis, attorneys with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton law firm.
Thank you to our 2018 Exhibitors and Sponsors! AAC Risk Management Services 1415 West Third St. Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 375-8805 www.arcounties.org ACT 14 Office Park Drive Little Rock, AR 72211 (479) 790-3230 www.arcamatech.com ADEM — AR Federal Surplus Property 8700 Remount Rd. North Little Rock, AR 72118 (501) 835-3111 www.adem-arkansas.gov American Stamp & Marking Products, Inc. 500 Fee Fee Rd. Maryland Heights, MO 63043
(800) 872-7840 www.americanstamp.com Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. 900 N. Dixieland, Ste. 102 Rogers, AR 72756 (479) 631-8054 www.apprenticeis.com
Arkansas Aggregates 1910 W. 65th Street Little Rock, AR 72209 (501) 565-5333 arkansasaggregates.com
AT&T 1111 W. Capitol, Rm 1070 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 373-8084 www.att.com
DataScout, LLC 38 W. Trenton Ave, Ste 101 Fayetteville, AR 72701 (479) 521-5607 www.datascoutllc.com
Arkansas Auditor of State Andrea Lea 500 Woodlane St., Ste 230 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 681-7421 www.auditor.ar.gov
Barron Software Consulting 206 N. Old Wire Road Lowell, AR 72745 (479) 270-2706 www.barsoft.net
Delta Mass Appraisal Services, Inc. P.O. Box 504 England, AR 72046 (501) 803-0500 www.deltamassappraisal.com
BHC Insurance P.O. Box 3529 Fort Smith, AR 72913 (479) 878-5042 www.bhca.com
DHS —Choices in Living Resource Center P.O. Box 1437, Slot S-530 Little Rock, AR 72203 (501) 320-6012 www.choicesinliving.ar.gov
EZ Street Asphalt P.O. Box 2236 Batesville, AR 72503 (870) 307-2279 www.atlasasphaltinc.com
Diamond Mowers 350 East 60th Street N Sioux Falls, SD 57104 (605) 977-3300 www.diamondmowers.com
Financial Intelligence 124 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 876 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 276-4213 financial-intel.com
Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. 525 Morley Drive Saginaw, MI 48601 (800) 248-0280 www.duro-last.com
Fleming Network & Avigilon 212 McClanahan Drive Bryant, AR 72022 (501) 847-3090 www.fleminc.com
EFS GeoTechnologies 360 Airport Rd. Monticello, AR 71657 (870) 460-9994 www.efsgeotech.com
FNBB Capital Markets 325 W. Capitol Ave., Ste 300 Little Rock, AR 72201 (800) 737-0535 www.bankers-bank.com
Arkansas Broadcasters Association 2024 Arkansas Valley Dr. Ste. 403 Little Rock, AR 72212 (501) 227-7564 www.arkbroadcasters.org Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation P.O. Box 31 Little Rock, AR 72203 (501) 224-4400 www.arfb.com Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin 500 Woodlane, Room 24 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 580-3305 www.sos.arkansas.gov Arkansas State Archives 1 Capitol Mall Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 682-6900 www.archives.arkansas.gov
BIS Digital, Inc. 1350 NE 56th St., Ste. 300 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334 (800) 834-7674 www.bisdigital.com Colonial Life 1701 Centerview Dr., Suite 300 Little Rock, AR 72211 (615) 487-8529 www.coloniallife.com Commissioner of State Lands 500 Woodlane St., Ste 109 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 683-3031 www.cosl.org
Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas 1 Cooperatives Way Drive Little Rock, AR 72209 (501) 570-2200 www.ecark.org Employer Support of the Guard & Reserves Camp Robinson, Box 27 North Little Rock, AR 72199 (501) 212-4018 www.esgr.org
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AAC Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP 400 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 2000 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 370-1517 www.fridayfirm.com GeoConex Corporation 6923 Maynardville Pk., PMB #109 Knoxville, TN 37918 (865) 686-0411 www.geoconex.com GovPayNet 7102 Lakeview Parkway West Drive Indianapolis, IN 46268 (816) 401-0614 www.govpaynet.com Greenfeather Monitoring 305 W. Central Wichita, KS 67002 (316) 425-4505 www.greenfeathermonitoring.com Guardian RFID 6900 Wedgewood Road N., Ste 440 Maple Grove, MN 55311 (855) 777-7343 www.guardianrfid.com Homeland Safety Systems, Inc. 724 W. 61st St. Shreveport, LA 71106 (318) 423-3599 homelandsafetysystems.com Hugg & Hall Equipment 331 Agnes Drive Springdale, AR 72764 (479) 361-1262 www.hugghall.com Hutchens Construction Co. 1007 Main Street Cassville, MO 65625 (417) 847-2489 hutchensconstruction.com Information Network of Arkansas 425 W. Capitol, Ste. 1620 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 324-8908 www.ina.arkansas.gov Insurance Team 360 321 N. 2nd Street
Rogers, AR 72758 (479) 619-8879 Interstate Document Recovery 7427 Tower Street Richland Hills, TX 76118 (817) 996-7820 interstaterestoration.com JCD Consulting P.O. Box 337 Beebe, AR 72012 (501) 404-8983 www.jcdconsulting.net Journal Technologies 843 S 100 West Logan, UT 84321 (435) 713-2100 www.journaltech.com JTS Financial 415 N. McKinley, Ste. 305 Little Rock, AR 72205 (501) 227-0194 www.jtsfs.com Justice Solutions 124 W. Capitol Ave., Ste 876 Little Rock, AR 72201 (512) 969-9110 www.justicesolutions.com Keystone Solutions P.O. Box 2395 Batesville, AR 72503 (870) 376-3088 www.keystonesolutions.io Liberty National Life Insurance Company 8221 Ranch Blvd Little Rock, AR 72223 (501) 225-5556 www.everettagencies.com LS & Associates 1973 Oak Tree Cove Hernando, MS 38632 (662) 393-9115 www.lsassoc.net McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc. 7302 Kanis Road Little Rock, AR 72204 (501) 371-0272 www.mce.us.com Mid-Continental Restoration Company, Inc. 401 E. Hudson St.
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Fort Scott, KS 66701 (620) 223-3700 www.midcontinental.com Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates, & Woodyard, PLLC 425 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 1800 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 688-8848 mitchellwilliamslaw.com N • Form Architecture 312 W Commercial Street Springfield, MO 65803 (417) 873-2255 www.nformarc.com Nabholz Construction Corp. P.O. Box 2090 Conway, AR 72033 (479) 616-8110 www.nabholz.com National Association of Counties 25 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20001 (202) 393-6226 www.naco.org Nationwide Retirement Solutions 2755 York Lane Conway, AR 72034 (501) 944-2287 www.nrsforu.com Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, PA 801 Technology Drive Little Rock, AR 72223 (501) 868-2945 www.callrainwater.com Raymond James 50 N. Front Street Memphis, TN 38103 (800) 564-2249 www.raymondjames.com Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers 9624 Bear Hollow Road Fort Smith, AR 72916 (479) 651-5331 www.rbauction.com Ryburn Law Firm 650 S. Shackleford Road, Ste. 231 Little Rock, AR 72211 (501) 231-5452 www.ryburnlawfirm.com
Southern Health Partners 2030 Hamilton Place Blvd., Suite 140 Chattanooga, TN 37421 (423) 553-5635 southernhealthpartners.com Southern Tire Mart, LLC 800 Highway 98 Columbia, MS 39429 (877) 786-4681 www.stmtires.com Southwestern Electric Power Co. 400 W. Capitol Avenue, Ste 1610 Little Rock, AR 72201 (888) 216-3523 www.swepco.com Springdale Tractor 6160 W. Sunset Ave. Springdale, AR 72762 (479) 422-7561 www.kubotacenter.com Stephens, Inc. 111 Center St., Suite 100 Little Rock, AR 72201 (800) 643-9691 www.stephens.com Summit Truck Group 11401 Diamond Drive North Little Rock, AR 72012 (501) 940-6509 summittruckgroup.com Sutterfield Technologies, LLC
104 S. 10th Street Duncan, OK 73533 (580) 786-4390 sutterfieldtechnologies.com Systemedic Corporation 10809 Executive Ctr, Suite 105 Little Rock, AR 72211 (501) 227-5553 www.systemedic.com TaxPRO 124 West Capitol, Ste. 876 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 246-8060 www.gowithtaxpro.com TIPS 4845 US Hwy. 271 N.
Pittsburg, TX 75686 (866) 839-8477 www.reg8.net Total Assessment Solutions Corp. P.O. Box 499 Glenwood, AR 71943 (870) 356-4511 www.totalassessments.com TRANE US 10303 Colonel Glenn Road, Suite 10 Little Rock, AR 72204 (501) 227-3009 www.trane.com Turn Key Health 2593 Baughman Cutoff Harrison, AR 72601 (870) 391-6555 turnkeyhealthclinics.com UA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Svc. 2301 S. University Ave. Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 371-2299 www.uaex.edu Univo Data 10515 W. Mark St., Ste. H4 Little Rock, AR 72205 (501) 223-2236 www.univodata.com USDA Rural Development 700 W. Capitol Ave., Room 3416 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 301-3265 www.rd.usda.gov Vision Care Direct 1209 S. Frankfort Avenue Tulsa, OK 74120 (405) 473-8626 www.visioncaredirect.com Walmart 702 SW 8th Street, #350 Bentonville, AR 72716 (479) 273-4000 www.walmart.com Welch State Bank 396 S. Commercial Welch, OK 74369 (918) 788-3373 www.welchstatebank.com
Top left: The Poinsett Courthouse dome was changed to a tower and clock during a 1917 reconstruction of the 1872 courthouse, which burned. Bottom left: The principal entrances of the twostory edifice are flanked by columns topped with Corinthian capitals supporting massive Classical pediments adorned with the county’s name. Right: Poinsett County celebrated the 100th birthday of its courthouse on May 25, 2018.
An iconic centerpiece Poinsett County Courthouse moves into its second century. Story by Mark Christ Photos by Holly Hope Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
rowley’s Ridge rises sharply from the surrounding flat Delta landscape, and perhaps nothing rises more startlingly from Crowley’s Ridge than the Poinsett County Courthouse in Harrisburg, a Classical Revival masterpiece that is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2018. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council have worked with Poinsett County since 1990 to ensure this architectural treasure will 50
continue serving the people of Poinsett County as it moves toward its bicentennial. Though Charles and Rebekah Shaver of Missouri were the first permanent white settlers to put down roots in the area, establishing a place on Sugar Creek in what is now Bay Village in 1824, it would not be until Feb. 28, 1838, that the Arkansas General Assembly would create Poinsett County. The new county was named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, a scientist and botanist who served as President Martin Van Buren’s secretary of war and introduced the Christmas-staple poinsettia into the United States. The first county court sessions were held in the home of Judge William Harris, but the seat of justice was soon COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
moved to Bolivar, a frontier town named for a South was back to the county court for an additional $100,000 American revolutionary and perhaps best distinguished by for the courthouse, elaborating on Seligman’s initial plan the presence of a popular horse-racing track. A courthouse with the Modern News reporting: “The old contract did and jail were built there, with the first court session held not include the finishing of the basement, the installation in 1839. County government remained there until it of water fixtures, heating plant or septic tank.” The new was moved three miles south in 1856 to a more central appropriation “was to cover the expense of these things location at Harrisburg following a typically stormy election and to furnish the building. The small dome on the roof as different communities vied for the honor. The town is will be changed to a tower and clock and the walls will be named for Benjamin Harris, the first county judge’s son constructed of Batesville or Bedford stone.” and the donor of the land on which the Poinsett County The new Poinsett County Courthouse was up and Courthouse stands. running by the end of 1918, and 10 years later a columnist A brick courthouse was constructed in 1858 at the for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported, “I saw princely price of $8,800, and the building may have housed the handsome courthouse seated in the ‘town square.’ Bless Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson’s headquarters your life, Harrisburg is a typical courthouse town. It swings when he commanded troops in the region in 1865. The all around its palatial courthouse over which I read with building survived the war but was damaged by a fire in pride the unusual name ‘Poinsett County’.” 1873 as Poinsett County recovered from the conflict’s Poinsett County remains proud of its iconic centerpiece devastation, which prevented its full restoration until 1886. and had a big party on May 25, 2018, to celebrate its 100th The county’s economic comeback was speeded considerably birthday. The county replanted the grounds surrounding when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern and the courthouse and festooned the building with patriotic Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf railroads laid tracks banners on a day that also saw the dedication of a Civil War through the area in early 1883. Poinsett County prospered sesquicentennial marker noting General Thompson’s use of as sawmills processed the county’s verdant timber and the the town as his headquarters and the planting of a tree from railroads hauled furs, cotton, timber and cattle to larger the Arkansas Forestry Commission and Arkansas WWI cities, its population increasing from 1,720 in 1890 to Centennial Commemoration Committee to remember the 12,791 in 1910. doughboys who hailed from the county. As the Poinsett It is not surprising, then, that the county’s leaders County Courthouse moves into its second century, it is decided to erect a more impressive building when the 1872 clear that the citizens of the county appreciate what they courthouse burned down on May 4, 1917. The county have and intend to use it for decades to come. The Poinsett court hired Pine Bluff architect Mitchell Seligman to design County Courthouse was listed in the National Register of an imposing — and fireproof — new courthouse and he set Historic Places on Nov. 10, 1989. straight to work. Seligman’s design would feature four entrances in a Palladian plan, with the principal Among the many programs and services of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program entrances of the two-story edifice is the County Courthouse Restoration Grant Program. Created in 1989, this grant proflanked by columns topped with gram has helped to extend the lives of courthouses that hold vital links to community pride and local history. These grants are funded through the Real Estate Transfer Tax, Corinthian capitals supporting administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Since the beginmassive Classical pediments adorned ning of the program, the AHPP has awarded $24,721,298 to 79 historic courthouses with the county’s name. The ultimate and courthouse annexes around the state for use in rehabilitating, preserving and protecting these important historic resources. Since 1990, Poinsett County has received 11 design would borrow from the grants totaling $509,103 for the Poinsett County Courthouse in Harrisburg. Roman, Palladian and Colonial AHPP County Courthouse Restoration Grants Revival vocabularies, resulting in awarded for Poinsett County Courthouse one of the most extraordinary public FY1990 Dome Restoration $13,000 buildings in the state of Arkansas. FY1999 Entrance Restoration $18,650 County Judge S.T. Mayo FY2000 Complete Entrance Restoration $15,400 ramrodded the project, which FY2006 Master Plan and Chairlift $15,000 FY2007 Complete Chairlift and Restore Masonry $38,000 by June 6, 1917, had the county FY2008 Dome Roof Restoration $93,528 court levying a $91,000 tax effort FY2009 Roof Restoration $109,846 to pay for the building, which was FY2010 Downspout Restoration $26,127 contracted to J.E. Hollingsworth, FY2011 Masonry Restoration $66,553 FY2013 Attic Restoration $31,186 the builder of many of Poinsett FY2018 Repoint Clock Tower and Interior Restoration $81,813 County’s public structures during that era. Within two months, Mayo COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
24 counties receive grants for courthouse restoration
Story by Mark Christ Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
he Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recently announced 2018 grants and 24 counties shared $1,755,986 in County Courthouse Restoration Grants, which are financed through Real Estate Transfer Tax funds distributed by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for rehabilitation of historic county courthouses across Arkansas. Funding requests totaled $6,912,992. Grant recipients were: • Arkansas County: $5,280 to study settlement issues with the vault floor of the 1928 courthouse in Stuttgart • Boone County: $56,510 for masonry restoration at the 1909 courthouse in Harrison • Bradley County: $36,000 for condition assessment and door replacement at the Bradley County Clerk’s Office in Warren • Cleburne County: $40,000 for an HVAC plan and building assessment of the 1914 courthouse in Heber Springs • Cleveland County: $29,500 to restore the cornice and masonry at the 1911 courthouse in Rison • Crittenden County: $20,000 for a condition assessment of the 1910-11 Courthouse in Marion • Dallas County: $47,500 to upgrade the electrical system at the 1911 courthouse in Fordyce • Desha County: $235,430 for roof restoration and an assessment of the 1900 courthouse in Arkansas City • Hot Spring County: $100,000 for plumbing upgrades at the 1936 courthouse in Malvern • Independence County: $54,600 for accessible doors and bathrooms at the 1939-40 courthouse in Batesville • Johnson County: $37,510 for roof and masonry restoration at the 1920 building at 108 S. Fulton St. in Clarksville,
which will serve as a courthouse annex • Lafayette County: $40,000 for an accessible restroom at the 1940-42 courthouse in Lewisville • Lawrence County: $215,730 to restore the roof and clerestory windows at the 1965-66 courthouse in Walnut Ridge • Lee County: $100,000 to restore the roof at the 1936 courthouse in Marianna • Lincoln County: $66,498 to restore the steel windows at the 1943 courthouse in Star City • Little River County: $127,000 for column restoration at the 1907 courthouse in Ashdown • Madison County: $57,153 for doors and windows at the 1939 courthouse in Huntsville • Monroe County: $16,577 to restore the masonry and doors at the 1911 courthouse in Clarendon • Montgomery County: $24,000 to restore the masonry and prepare a condition assessment at the 1923 courthouse in Mount Ida • Pike County: $82,500 for masonry restoration and an HVAC system at the 1932 courthouse in Murfreesboro • Prairie County: $74,269 for balustrade restoration at the 1913 courthouse in Des Arc • Stone County: $111,929 for corridor restoration and electrical upgrades at the 1922 courthouse in Mountain View • Van Buren County: $102,000 for electrical system upgrades at the 1934 courthouse in Clinton • Washington County: $76,000 for work on the clock tower and other parts of the 1905 courthouse in Fayetteville. Since the beginning of the County Courthouse Restoration Grant program in 1989, the AHPP has awarded $24,721,298 to 79 historic courthouses and courthouse annexes around the state.
County Courthouse Restoration Grant information The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s County Courthouse Restoration Subgrants have been used to help restore historic county courthouses in 61 of the state’s 75 counties since they were created in 1989, helping to extend the lives of structures that hold vital links to community pride and local history. Participating counties donate facade easements on their historic county courthouses in return for financial assistance in rehabilitating the buildings. Grant funds come primarily from the Real Estate Transfer Tax, administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Total amounts avail52
able to be shared among applicants annually have ranged from $150,000 to $1,000,000. There are three funding options available for those applying for a grant. Go to www.arkansaspreservation.com/Programs/ Funding/grants-programs for grant guidelines. The Online Letter of Intent (LOI) will be accepted Sept. 14, 2018, through Nov. 9, 2018. An Application Workshop will be held Nov. 8, 2018, at the Department of Arkansas Heritage, 1100 North St., Little Rock. The Courthouse Grant application deadline is Feb. 1, 2019. Anyone needing further information should contact Joia Burton at Joia.Burton@arkansas.gov. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
Guardian RFID holds meeting for product users Sheriffs, jail administrators and other county law enforcement personnel gathered at the AAC in July for an annual Guardian RFID user’s meeting. Guardian RFID is an inmate monitoring system that is free of charge to counties that are members of the AAC Risk Management Program. The annual meeting is geared toward teaching those in the field how to better use the equipment. Top: Approximately 35 county law enforcement personnel attended this year’s meeting. Here, they gather for a group photo following lunch. Middle left: Sevier County Jail Supervisor Isaac Alvarado and Sevier County Administrative Assistant Eleuterio Hernandez listen to the presentation. Middle right: Brett Wilmeth, vice president and senior quality leader for Guardian RFID, delivers a presentation. Bottom left: Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas, Clay County Sheriff and Tax Collector Terry Miller, and AAC Chief Legal Counsel Mark Whitmore chat before the meeting begins. Bottom right: Lonoke County Medical Liaison Robert Lanius and Lonoke County Jail Administrator Steve Lopez find their seats and gear up for the meeting.
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County clerks talk legislative agenda, 2018 elections County clerks held their summer meeting at Mt. Magazine/Logan County, July 1820, 2018. They discussed their legislative agenda, fraud issues and elections. Top: Tiffany Underwood, Benton County office manager, (left) demonstrates self defense strategies with Bo Suiter, certified self-defense/active shooter specialist. Middle left: Kim Williams, CPA, CFE, CFF, assistant legislative auditor, offers advice on handling fraud issues in the county clerks’ office. Middle right: Arkansas Association of County Clerks President and Boone County Clerk Crystal Graddy and Saline County Clerk Doug Curtis listen intently during a session. Bottom left: Lawrence County Clerk Tina Stowers and Crawford County Clerk Teresa Armer-Cobbe attended the meeting. Bottom right: Benton County Chief Deputy Clerk Betsy Harrell participates in a discussion during the summer meeting.
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Tax collectors honor retirees, meet candidates in Pope County County collectors held their summer meeting June 27-29, 2018, in Russellville/ Pope County. They listened to a panel of retiring and retired collectors; heard from candidates for the office of State Land Commissioner; and took in a lecture on living with intention by Counselor and Author Matt Knight. Top Left: Desha County Collector Vaughta Glover, who is retiring this year, poses with White County Collector-Elect Beth Dorton. Middle left: Larry Williams is the Democratic candidate for State Land Commissioner. Middle right: Tommy Land is the Republican candidate for State Land Commissioner. Bottom left: Jefferson County Collectorelect Tony Washington poses with Jefferson County Collector Stephanie Stanton, who is retiring at the end of the year. Bottom right: Randolph County Collector Norma Pickett shares a story during the “Wisdom of the Retirees” panel discussion. Others on the panel included Vaughta Glover (Desha), Sherry Stanley (Ashley), Stephanie Stanton (Jefferson), Rita Chandler (retired Pope County collector), Lisa Nunley (Van Buren), Cindy Walker (Columbia), and Sue Liles (White).
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Treasurers meet in Sebastian County for conference The Arkansas County Treasurers’ Association met June 20-22, 2018, in Fort Smith/Sebastian County. Top: Treasurers huddle to discuss roundtable questions. Middle left: Arkansas County Treasurers’ Association Past President and Greene County Treasurer Debbie Cross speaks to the group of treasurers and deputy treasurers gathered for the meeting. Middle right: AAC Consultant Eddie Jones recaps roundtable discussions. Bottom left: Washington County Treasurer Bobby Hill (left) and newly elected ACTA President and Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt listen during a roundtable discussion. Bottom right: Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Steve Scott (middle) chats with Benton County Chief Deputy Treasurer Dee Ann Gutekunst and Sebastian County Treasurer/Collector Judith Miller after his presentation on courthouse security.
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Assessors hold summer meeting in Carroll County The Arkansas Assessors’ Association held its summer meeting June 13-15, 2018, in Eureka Springs/Carroll County. Top: AAC Legal Counsel and liaison to the Arkansas Assessors’ Association Lindsey Bailey talks to Stone County Assessor Heather Stevens following Bailey’s legislative update to the group. Middle left: Baxter County Assessor Jayme Nicholson and Carroll County Assessor Jeannie Davidson pose for a photo before the meeting begins. Middle right: OPTIMUS Training and Development CEO/CSO Mel Reed finishes up a discussion of “The One Thing,” a program that helps with focus, productivity and goals. Bottom left: Pete Hornibrook, vice president of the Arkansas Chapter of IAAO, presents one of five $600 scholarships to Kendra Weifenbach of Van Buren. Kendra is the granddaughter of Dennis Wells of ACT. Bottom right: Arkansas County Assessor-elect Marcia Theis and Miller County Assessor Claudia Walker enjoy the activity in the exhibitor area.
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Circuit Clerks meet in Faulkner County, talk legislative agenda Top left: Monroe County Circuit Clerk and Arkansas Circuit Clerks’ Association President Alice Smith welcomes circuit clerks to their association conference June 1215, 2018, in Conway/Faulkner County. One goal of the conference was to create a legislative agenda. Top right: Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk Lena Rauls makes a comment during a conference session. Middle left: Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker welcomes circuit clerks to the county. Middle right: Rachel Oertling, Pope County chief deputy circuit clerk, takes notes during one of the sessions. Bottom: Circuit clerks are all smiles during a challenging communication activity led by UCA Association Dean of Student Life Wendy Holbrook. Circuit clerks were asked to line up in order of their birthdays without talking. 58
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Judges meet in Miller County Top left: Judges’ Association President and Madison County Judge Frank Weaver thanks Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin for serving as keynote speaker. Top right: Dallas County Judge Jimmy Jones and Hot Spring County Judge Dennis Thornton chat in the exhibit hall during a break. Middle left: Dewayne Mack (foreground) joins his brother, Pike County Judge Dewight Mack, and his band, The Bear Creek Boys, for a song during dinner. Middle right: Saline County Judge Jeff Arey describes plans to build The Saline County Career and Technical Center to serve high school students from seven school districts. Bottom left: Jackson County Judge Jeff Phillips and Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison visit over coffee. Bottom right: Bradley County Judge Klay McKinney (left) and Jefferson County Judge Booker Clemmons speak during a break in educational sessions. COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
ASA installs new board at Fort Smith conference Top: New Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association (ASA) board members were installed June 5, 2018, during the sheriffs’ summer conference in Fort Smith/Sebastian County. From left to right are Crawford County Sheriff and 2nd Vice-President Ron Brown; Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones; Saline County Sheriff and ASA Legislative Chair Rodney Wright; Craighead County Sheriff, ASA Financial Chair and AAC Legislative Committee Rep. Marty Boyd; Sebastian County Sheriff and ASA President Bill Hollenbeck; Mississippi County Sheriff and ASA Sergeant in Arms Dale Cook; Hempstead County Sheriff and ASA Secretary/Treasurer James Singleton; Cross County Sheriff and ASA Executive Secretary J.R. Smith; and Pulaski County Sheriff and ASA 1st Vice-President Doc Holladay. Hollenbeck took the place of Perry County Sheriff and ASA Immediate Past President Scott Montgomery Middle left: ASA Executive Director Scott Bradley speaks to a joint session of sheriffs and jail administrators. Middle right: Capt. Richard Mitcham, Union County jail administrator and Jail Administrators’ Association president, speaks to jail administrators during the conference. Middle: Sheriffs chat before one of the conference sessions. Bottom left: Retiring Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay makes a point during one of the sessions. He is seated next to Perry County Sheriff and ASA Immediate Past President Scott Montgomery. Bottom right: AAC Governmental Affairs Director Josh Curtis gives a presentation on Next Generation 911. 60
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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
STAFF PROFILE Law Clerk — Adrienne Criswell
Family information: I’m the youngest in my family, and I have one older brother. I’m originally from Van Buren, but I currently live in Conway.
really interesting meeting people from around the world who came to the school to learn. It was stressful at times because only Spanish was spoken there. You might be surprised to learn that: I speak Spanish.
My favorite meal: Tacos and cheese dip. When I’m not working I’m: Exercising or playing with my Yorkie, Piper. She loves to play ball and go on walks, but only when the weather is nice. The accomplishment of which I am most proud: Surviving the two years of law school. I will start my final year this fall at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
My pet peeve is: Loud chewing. Motto or favorite quote: “Just keep swimming” from Dory in the movie “Finding Nemo.” Adrien ne Cris well
At the top of my bucket list is to: Swim with dolphins. The hardest thing I have ever done is: Coming back home after a really fun trip to Costa Rica. I studied at a Spanish immersion school to improve my Spanish. It was
How long have you been at AAC and can you describe some of your successful projects? I have been at AAC since May 2018. I have enjoyed learning something new every day. I am currently working on drafting motions for various
What do you like most about your position at AAC? Everyone is really friendly, and there’s normally free food.
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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 s atio 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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Worker’s Compensation Fund pays $750,000 in dividends to its member counties in 2018
he Association of Arkansas Counties Workers’ Compensation Trust is proud to announce that for the 22nd straight year dividends will be returned to all participating counties. The 2018 dividend is declared based on 2014 premiums paid and losses incurred. This brings the total dividends paid over the last 22 years to $28,448,953. AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust Group Manager Chris Villines recommended the $750,000 dividend to the board of trustees at its June meeting. Checks were issued in August. “There are several reasons that we are able to continue returning such large sums to the counties,” Villines said. “Our staff is excellent and efficient and the counties of Arkansas work hard to minimize risks at home. I cannot compliment our Risk Management and Insurance Director Debbie Norman enough. She has an incredible responsibility and handles it wonderfully. The Workers’ Comp staff is equally adept. Debbie Lakey, Kim Nash, Ellen Wood, Renee Turner and Kim Mitchell do an excellent job.” AAC Risk Management and Insurance Director Debbie Norman said, “From inception to today, this program has performed beyond expectations. It has always been our goal to reward counties with dividends, and this is the 22nd straight year that successful management of the program and the commitment to safety in our counties has allowed it to occur.” AAC, along with county officials from around the state, created the AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust in 1985 — a plan to pool resources and form a
self-funded, county-owned trust to provide premium Workers’ Compensation coverage at a savings to members. The AAC Workers’ Compensation Trust is fully regulated by the State of Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. Current trustees are Rhonda Cole, Clark County Clerk; Debbie Wise, Randolph County Circuit Clerk; Debra Buckner, Pulaski County Treasurer; Brandon Ellison, Polk County Judge; and Rusty McMillon, Greene County Judge. Here are the formulaic dividend amounts per county as approved by the AAC/WCT board: Arkansas County.........................$8,243 Ashley County..........................$16,114 Baxter County...........................$16,241 Benton County.........................$46,352 Boone County..........................$12,449 Bradley County...........................$6,741 Calhoun County.........................$5,268 Carroll County...............................$500 Chicot County............................$3,734 Clark County..............................$5,212 Clay County................................$1,878 Cleburne County........................$9,041 Cleveland County.......................$6,640 Columbia County.......................$8,107 Conway County..........................$9,928 Craighead County....................$12,770 Crawford County........................$9,748 Crittenden County...................$13,311 Cross County..............................$6,179 Dallas County.............................$7,837 Desha County.............................$4,561 Drew County..............................$7,248 Faulkner County.......................$17,379 Franklin County..........................$6,548 Fulton County...............................$500 Garland County........................$29,398 Grant County..............................$2,335 Greene County............................$9,197 Hempstead County...................$10,329 Hot Spring County.....................$2,292
Howard County..........................$7,055 Independence County..............$18,229 Izard County...............................$6,827 Jackson County...........................$6,889 Jefferson County.......................$19,060 Johnson County..........................$7,366 Lafayette County............................$500 Lawrence County........................$5,465 Lee County..................................$4,354 Lincoln County...........................$7,118 Little River County...................$13,094 Logan County...........................$10,586 Lonoke County.........................$14,235 Madison County.........................$8,317 Marion County...........................$8,302 Miller County.............................$3,138 Mississippi County...................$16,466 Monroe County..........................$4,225 Montgomery County..................$9,820 Nevada County...........................$4,593 Newton County..........................$8,874 Ouachita County........................$5,136 Perry County..................................$500 Phillips County.........................$10,616 Pike County................................$4,778 Poinsett County.............................$500 Polk Countty...............................$4,343 Pope County.............................$14,738 Prairie County.............................$6,464 Pulaski County..........................$55,627 Randolph County.....................$10,165 St. Francis County..........................$500 Saline County............................$19,247 Scott County...............................$3,462 Searcy County.............................$5,279 Sebastian County......................$22,332 Sevier County..............................$6,986 Sharp County..............................$6,178 Stone County..............................$6,868 Union County...........................$12,233 Van Buren County......................$3,720 Washington County..................$31,378 White County...........................$24,288 Woodruff County.......................$4,670 Yell County.................................$9,399
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NEWS FROM NACo
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.
Local efforts key to census accuracy Counties should start local efforts to encourage census response by late 2018 Story by Charlie Ban NACo Senior Writer and Web Editor
he 2020 census is still a year and a half away. But on the other hand, the 2020 census is only a year and a half away. In addition to record keeping and congressional representation, the share of $800 billion in federal funding hinges on results of the census, making it crucial for counties to help ensure an accurate tally. Although the Census Bureau will hire 500,000 temporary workers to follow up with addresses that do not respond, counties are in the best position to reach out locally to convince residents to buy in. “If you get the count wrong, your county is going to feel the impact for a whole decade,” said Karen Narasaki, a consultant to the Bauman Foundation. “Every statistic is normalized back to the census — food assistance, low-income heating, children’s health insurance, housing.” The last two census counts have had 74 percent national response rates, and the bureau expects 65 percent of people to respond to census forms before the bureau initiates follow-up contact. Counties typically form Complete Count Committees, which pair local officials with members of community groups and business owners to plan outreach. Tim Olson, associate director of field operations for the Census Bureau, said counties should start forming committees in late 2018 and early 2019, but some have a head start. Coconino County, Ariz. has been planning throughout 2018 and along with its seat, Flagstaff, has pledged $300,000 over two years to aid outreach and turnout. That will make up for the loss of Recovery Act funding for the 2010 census. “It’s less than $2 per resident,” said Kim Musselman, special COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2018
assistant to the county manager and the coordinator for the county’s census work. “We estimate every person counted in the 2010 census accounted for $1,900 in federal funding, so it’s a pretty good return on investment.” The county and city are splitting the contributions evenly, matching the population divide between the two. Both have significant challenges to overcome in the process. Flagstaff has seen its population grow but also struggle with
affordable housing, and Northern Arizona University carries more than 31,000 students. “That means a lot of reaching out to renters, but that’s tricky,” said Musselman. “With the price of housing, you may have six people staying in an apartment but four people on the lease. We have to communicate to them to answer the form truthfully and honestly. It’s confidential — they won’t get in trouble.” See
NEWS FROM NACo
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The university has grown significantly over the last 20 years, and the 2000 census undercounted them. “The problem there is convincing students to answer — they may have permanent homes elsewhere but as of April 1, they count for Coconino County,” Musselman said. “They’re using our infrastructure, our resources for nine months of the year.” Outside of Flagstaff is a different story. Coconino is the second largest county by area in the contiguous United States, with small pockets of population throughout a vast landscape, including the most remote community in the lower 48 states, accessible only by foot, mule or helicopter. Lack of broadband connectivity there and in other counties will prevent many residents from answering online. In addition to the practical considerations, trust in the process will also be a challenge, particularly demographic groups, many of which are historically undercounted, particularly African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, children under the age of 5 and the poor. “One quarter of Asian immigrants have never experienced a census,” Narasaki said. “We’ve never had a solid answer on why it’s hard to get people to respond about children younger than 5.” Wake County, N.C. plans to reach out to those demographic groups with a variety of community events, parades and municipal meetings. The county has staffed subcommittees for outreach and is ready to start in 2019. “We will focus on events like the Raleigh International
Festival and the Chinese language schools,” said Sharon Peterson, the county’s long-range planning administrator. “We meet with community leaders, particularly in the Hispanic, Asian and African American communities and work with them to carry the message to their members that it’s important to be counted.” Like Coconino County, Wake County splits the effort. In 2010 municipalities contributed $25,000, and the county will contribute staff time to the outreach efforts. A shadow hangs over preparations in the form of the citizenship question, which could suppress responses. “It’s going to make it difficult for the federal government to say ‘give us your data and please trust us,’” Narasaki said. “In this environment where people are afraid, where they’re being picked up in courthouses and parks, schools and libraries, people are afraid to open their door and answer questions.” The Census Bureau says that responses are confidential and don’t leave the bureau, but believing that, and convincing residents of that, is a challenge. “We’ve talked a lot about mistrust of the government,” Musselman said. “We haven’t figured out exactly how to remedy that, but our general message is that by not participating and not being counted, you’re playing into the very thing that they want, to minimize our population. Let’s stand up and be counted so that we are giving them what they are trying to discourage us from doing.”
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