County Judge ‘insulted’ when road repair report is questioned by his JP challenger at Quorum Court meet; both agree to future debate

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Political fireworks briefly went off at Monday’s Independence County Quorum Court meeting.

It happened when County Judge Robert Griffin was giving his monthly road report. He mentioned that record rainfall during February had delayed many road projects and caused more damage to many of the county’s roads.

Griffin passed around photographs of a road in the eastern part of the county near Cord that had been sent to him by a citizen complaining about the condition of the road. The judge said he told the man that the road crew would get to it within two weeks. He also went to the area and took photos of the road himself. He said he also took along a witness not employed by the county.

District 7 JP Jason Jones, who is challenging Griffin for the judgeship in the May 22 Republican primary, asked him why it takes two weeks to respond. Griffin said that with all the miles of roads to tend to, it usually takes that long to get to a road repair.

Jones also noted that Griffin’s photos were not time-stamped, so there is no way to determine when they were taken. Griffin said he was “insulted” that his integrity was being questioned. He said that’s why he had a witness accompany him when he took the photos.

Griffin stepped down from the judge’s bench and went to the floor facing the JPs. He pointed out that Jones is running against him and challenged Jones to a debate.

During the interaction, it was noted “…a quorum court meeting was not the proper forum for a debate.” Both Jones and Griffin have each told White River Now they made that particular statement. The Independence County Clerk’s office told White River Now’s Gary B. the minutes of the meeting do not refer to the comment in question.

After the exchange, Griffin returned to the bench and continued with the court agenda.

Reporting by Bob Qualls

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