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Quorum Court Members Full of Questions

By submitted, 09/29/17 1:49 PM

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Hope AR -  The Quorum Court met last night with a courtroom full of concerned citizens.  It seems that the issues the Quorum Court members are facing are growing.  This meeting lasted 2 hours, which is unusually long.  During the meeting, the issues addressed were:  1- a letter written by Ed Darling that was printed in the Hope Star, 2- the use of the County owned truck driven by the Judge and 3- the purchase of the bank for the new County Courthouse.

Judy Flowers addressed Ed Darling’s letter by clarifying some facts that had not been checked before he wrote his letter.  There was a resolution passed in the February’s Quorum Court meeting to take funds, the Hempstead Hall Bond Funds, move them to a special fund called Capital Improvement/Courthouse Fund. Research was done by the treasurer’s office to find a bank that had a higher rate of return for this money.  It was presently drawing .85 at Farmer’s Bank and it was moved to a bank with the rate of 1.6, the highest rate to be found at that time.  This almost doubled the County Taxpayer’s money.

Christy McQueen read policies that clarified what the Quorum Court’s responsibilities were and what the Judge’s responsibilities were.  By doing this, it set the precedence of what and how the QC members and Judge were able to do or not do.

The Judge was asked if he used the County owned truck for his personal use on his vacation. The QC already had issues with the purchase of this truck because it was approx. a $60,000 truck which is roughly equivalent to 2 years of the Judge’s salary. The answer was yes he did take it on vacation and when asked where he went, he replied Yellowstone. There were looks and sounds of shock around the room. The Judge maintained he had not done anything wrong and was responsibly keeping records of the truck’s use. He bought and paid for all the gas used personally. The QC voted to have a legislative audit done on the use of the truck to clarify if any wrongdoing had occurred with the use of the truck during the Judge’s use of it while he has been in office.

Next, and lastly, the purchase of Farmer’s Bank for a new courthouse for Hempstead County. At the last meeting, the QC were surprised by changes made in the financial plans for the purchase.  All the citizens’ present and all but 1 QC member expressed their desire to keep pursuing the purchase of the bank.  It was voted on and passed that a lawyer would be hired to draw up a purchase contract that all parties involved could and would agree on the financial plan of the purchase.  It was admitted that this step was missed in the last meeting and should have already been done.