Five percent raise for Independence County employees approved

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Article for White River Now by Madeline Pyle

The Independence County Quorum Court approved an ordinance implementing five percent raises for county employees at last night’s meeting, but not everyone will see a raise.

Since funds are not available, the prosecuting attorney for the county will work a 38-hour workweek, and the Office of Emergency Management and the 911 Dispatch Emergency System will earn comp time equivalent to a five percent pay raise each week.

The following departments will have vacant positions in order to supply the raises: County Clerk, County Sheriff, County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center, County Road, and Solid Waste Collections and Recycling.

“It is a great example of federal bureaucracy, red tape, and waste,” Judge Griffin said regarding the repair of the Hawkins Cemetery Bridge. “We’re working as hard and as fast as we can.”

In the road report, County Judge Robert Griffin said fixing Hawkins Cemetery Bridge, a bridge connecting Charlotte to Newark, is his “highest priority” to repair. Griffin said the bridge has been down since May 2017 and could not be repaired immediately because it is a federal road. Griffin said he will attend “a kick-off meeting” with highway department engineers in Little Rock this week.

“It is a great example of federal bureaucracy, red tape, and waste,” he said. “We’re working as hard and as fast as we can.”

Griffin also announced an unpaved roads project to pave Union Hill Road in Pleasant Plains in order to reduce sedimentation run-off.

Adams shared that engagement increased by 300 percent since the move, and the library had seen 80,000 visitors.

In other court news, Independence County Library Director Vanessa Adams and board member Bill Walmsley gave their first report since the library moved to its new location on Main Street. Adams shared that engagement increased by 300 percent since the move, and the library had seen 80,000 visitors.

The Arkansas Library Association ranked Independence County Library eighth in the state, beating Jonesboro’s library in ninth place.

In the treasurer’s report, Bob Treadway said the one-cent county-wide tax had a 4.14 percent year-to-date increase.

In the juvenile detention center report, Capt. Jonathan Pickering discussed several new programs for inmates, including parenting classes, nutritional classes, and cooking classes.

“We are the only juvenile detention center in the State of Arkansas that is doing this,” Pickering said.

All Justices of the Peace were present.

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