December 9, 2009 EditionAlso in this issue...
JPs hear from concerned citizenLeslie Ginn
Darrell Geurin presented numerous concerns to the Quorum Court at its regular December meeting held one week early.
Geurin began his presentation quoting from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook outlining the rights citizens of Arkansas hold in terms of legislative intent. Legislative intent is defined as allowing citizens access to public records "in an open and public" manner according to the tenets outlined by the law.
Geurin claimed that his rights have been violated by Lawrence County officials in regards to both legislative intent and freedom to speak within a respectful atmosphere.
"On May 14, I made a request to get information from public records from the county clerk's office, but did not receive them for 87 days, and not until an attorney from Little Rock faxed a letter asking for county cooperation, at my request."
County Clerk Tina Stowers said, "I did not get anything from an attorney in Little Rock. I gave (Geurin) everything he asked for that I had. Some information we are not required to save past five years and he requested information back to 1994."
County Attorney Dick Jarboe stated that he also had not received any communication from the Little Rock lawyer to whom Guerin referred.
Some of the records that Guerin requested were at the county judge's office, not in county clerk's records. County Judge Alex Latham said, "If you would come and ask for these records at my office, you would not be denied."
Guerin expressed that he felt he had been poorly treated when he last visited with Latham in his office, as well as in the past Quorum Court meetings in which he spoke.
"I feel I have been lied to, kicked around and shouted at, but I don't want this anymore, we need to be civil with each other," he said.
Guerin's major concern centered on his belief that "the county has bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment without a bid as required by law." He said, "This court is not doing the right thing. There has been crime, collusion, conspiracy and fraud."
Latham responded, "We have bought used equipment, as allowed by law, in an effort to save the county money. I have not stolen one dime from this county and don't expect to start."
Court member Dean Davis asked Geurin, "What exactly do you think should be happening that is not?"
Geurin said, "We need a government that is accountable and that doesn't deny the citizens their rights, including the right to speak in a respectful atmosphere."
Although no resolution was met, Davis said, "I hope we don't give up. We, as Lawrence County, need to get along."
In other business: