County swears in quorum court

By David Showers
This article was published January 11, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

Justices of the peace sworn in Monday night for the 2017-18 term of the Garland County Quorum Court elected to retain the committee chairs from the previous term.

Republicans will continue chairing four of the quorum court's five standing committees. Democrat Thomas Anderson, District 2, retained his chairmanship of the Human Resources Committee, which reviews salary schedules for county employees and develops employment polices. Larry Raney, R-District 13, was elected vice chairman.

District 9 JP Matt McKee will chair the Finance Committee for a second term. First-term JP John Horner, R-District 5, was elected vice chair. A special convention of the Garland County Republican Party Committee in August tapped Horner to replace Rebecca Arguello on the ballot in the Nov. 8 general election. Horner won the majority of votes cast in a secret ballot, defeating Jim Kerr and Bill Cooley.

Arguello resigned her seat in July after informing the quorum court she was moving out of District 5. She was unopposed in the general election.

The most consequential of the five standing committees, the finance panel prepares the county's annual budget, approves line-item transfers and determines if appropriations advance to the full quorum court. Former vice chairman Ray Owen Jr., D-District 6, will remain on the committee, as will Anderson, Raney, Darryl Mahoney, R-District 12, and Larry Griffin, R-District 11.

First-term JP Jimmy Young, R-District 4, was elected to the Ordinance, the Environmental Services/Public Works and Buildings, and the Public Health, Welfare and Safety committees. He defeated former county tax collector and District 5 JP Kenneth Johnson in the general election, replacing three-term JP Mary Bournival after she chose not to run for re-election.

Young was chosen as vice chair of Environmental Services/Public Works and Buildings, seconding Mahoney, who was selected to chair the committee for a second term. The committee makes recommendations to the full quorum court on sanitation services and the maintenance of county buildings.

Fellow first-term JP Jason Braziel, R-District 8, was chosen for the Ordinance, the Environmental Services/Public Works and Buildings and the Public Health, Welfare and Safety committees. Braziel assumed the vacant District 8 seat after two-term JP Ellen Varhalla elected not to run in 2016, defeating the district's former JP, Democrat Jimmie Lee Harmon, in November.

Braziel was selected as vice chair of the Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee, with Griffin retaining his chairmanship. The committee makes recommendations to the full quorum court on matters such as rural fire protection, animal control and 911.

Griffin was also selected to continue chairing the information technology committee that meets quarterly and was reappointed as the quorum court's representative in the Association of Arkansas Counties, the lobbying body for county governments.

Owen was reappointed to represent the quorum court on the Tri-Lakes Metropolitan Planning Organization, which develops the area's long-range transportation strategy, and will continue chairing the ordinance committee. Drew Hudgens, R-District 10, will continue as vice chairman.

Local on 01/11/2017
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