Nov 29, 2014
Quorum Court Blocks County Judge’s Sudden $1.8M Road Equipment Buy
We have no way to know if Faulkner County truly has a sudden, last minute need for 11 new pieces of road equipment, but nevertheless advertisements for equipment bids did appear in the Log Cabin paper just two days after a strange occurrence at the November Quorum Court meeting. Strange – or perhaps rare is...
We have no way to know if Faulkner County truly has a sudden, last minute need for 11 new pieces of road equipment, but nevertheless advertisements for equipment bids did appear in the Log Cabin paper just two days after a strange occurrence at the November Quorum Court meeting.
Strange – or perhaps rare is a better term – in that the Quorum Court, under new business unknown prior to the meeting, did not allow County Judge Alan Dodson to transfer $1.8 million for equipment for which he had no bids and didn’t know the cost.
We hear that Judge Dodson was perturbed when he was questioned about spending monies from the General Fund that were not budgeted for that specific purpose and Democrats were exercised they can’t just do what they wanted like in the old days.
A day or so later, Dodson even tried to schedule a special Quorum Court meeting that County Attorney David Hogue immediately canceled due to lack of a lawful notice and a publicized agenda.
We were all for having the best county road system possible, and still are. The fly in Judge Dotson’s ointment is that Quorum Court Justices — who are supposed to know what we need — are told they don’t need this equipment.
We suppose one of the pitfalls of having a “slush fund” is attempting to use it. When it obviously doesn’t appear in the budget, explaining “found money” can be difficult — especially when it seems the opposing party had found a good use for it to support increased public safety.
We’ve been told Faulkner County has been paving and chip sealing roads at a prodigious rate, and that bare dirt and gravel roads are now a much smaller percentage of the county road system than in the past. Kudos to the leadership that paved those roads — while we may not have agreed politically, Faulkner County has been paving roads and that’s good for everybody.
Judge Dodson championed the need for this equipment, even though increased funding for the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department has been discussed now for weeks. Is it possible the whole purpose of buying this equipment was to deny funding for Sheriff Department salary increases? There are those who believe so.
Raspberries to those who would use funds for unneeded road equipment, blocking plans to increase public safety and fund operations at the new county Justice Building.
Misusing cash when it’s badly needed elsewhere for basic services strikes us as politics, not leadership. Sort of like when Bill Clinton’s people removed the “W” keys from White House keyboards in 2001 after George Bush’s historic win — but mean instead of funny.
Alan, we thought better of you. And we look for a true bipartisan county government from our new County Judge, Jim Baker, who – even though he ran unopposed this time as one of the last Arkansas Democrats — will undoubtably be an election target as Faulkner County continues to swing more Republican.