July 13, 2016 Edition

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Court moves forward
on employee raises

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing a three percent raise for county employees.

This raise, which will not apply to elected officials, will cost the county about $78,480 annually. Upon the final reading and approval of the ordinance, the employees will receive the raise as well as be paid retroactively from Jan. 1, 2016, in a lump sum.

Justice Lloyd Clark discussed setting a compensation policy that clarifies what employees should be paid based on hours and qualifications. County Judge Dale Freeman, while stating he'd never operated a business that way, did agree that something needed to be established, but didn't want to over extend the county's budget.

In other business, the court went into executive session to nominate a new justice of the peace to fill the vacant position left by Jim Jones. Jones turned in his letter of resignation after accepting a bailiff position with the county.

The court was split between nominated Glen Smith and Pardo Roberts. Freeman broke the tie, and Smith was selected. The nomination will be presented to the governor for approval, and Smith would fill the term until a newly elected justice is sworn in Jan. 1, 2017.

Also at the meeting:

Freeman informed the court that a meeting would have to be held to address issues with a Cache River crossing. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is threatening suit for improper permits and a new bridge has been suggested, though it would run about $1 million, according to Freeman. Some areas needing addressed also lay in Craighead County so the two counties may need to reach a work agreement.

a vote to move the meetings back to 7 p.m. failed 5-3. Regular court meetings will remain at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of the month.

the court appropriated $44,000 from the Treasurer's Automation Fund for hardware and software upgrades purchased through Apprentice Information Systems.

authorization was given for the sheriff's office to apply for a $78,696 GIF Community Enhancement Grant to be used in the purchase of three Dodge 1500 Ram Crew Cabs.

the court gave support for the circuit clerk to apply for an Automated Records System Grant to replace hardware and software and a new shared server, which will be shared with the county clerk and possibly the county treasurer.

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