Governor to Appoint Interim Justice of Peace

By JESSIE SMITH
City Editor

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Little River County Courthouse

During the Oct. 14 quorum court meeting, a resolution passed declaring a vacancy for a justice of peace in Little River County, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson will appoint an interim justice of peace to finish out the term until the end of 2020.

Nine justices of peace each represent a district in Little River County of near-equal population, according to County Judge Mike Cranford. He said the vacancy has not affected day-to-day operations.

“There hasn’t been any contentious issues that would have, you know, gotten down to a split of one vote,” Cranford said. “We want that area to be represented, but there’s a certain amount of time of grieving for the family.”

Richard Smith represented District 6, and he died in August. District 6 includes most of Ward One in Ashdown near the high school area.Since the vacancy was declared on Oct. 14, the governor will receive the resolution sometime this week.

Cranford said the governor sometimes seeks recommendations from the community, and then he will appoint an interim justice of peace to fill that position until the end of the term.“ All of the quorum court members are up for election in 2020,” Cranford said. “The filing period starts Nov. 4 and then ends Nov. 12 at noon.”

The interim justice of peace cannot run for the position for the following term due to state law, which dictates that the justice of peace cannot succeed him or herself. He or she would have to step aside for at least one term if the individual would like to run for the position in the future.

“It’s a pretty common process to go through these procedures,” Cranford said. “Everybody has to go through it the same way, whether it’s Pulaski County, which is the biggest county in the state, or Calhoun County, which is the smallest. Everybody plays by the same rules.”

Other Quorum Court News

The quorum court also passed Ordinance 2019-15, which allows the county to do business with Chuck Davis of Davis Feed and Supply. A 2007 ordinance already allowed the county to do business with Davis, but state law now requires more information that the new ordinance fulfills, according to Cranford.

Sheriff Bobby Walraven delivered the sheriff and jail report and answered questions. The election commissioners fees were tabled for a later discussion to allow time to consult with the state auditor’s office.

Cranford reported that the front courthouse columns are complete, and in preparation for the renovations to the annex building, the USDA officers were moved to the guarantee building, and quorum court meetings will be held in the election center.

A special quorum court meeting is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Little River County Conference Room.

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