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County Lines Magazine

County Lines is the official publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties. It is published quarterly. For advertising inquiries, subscriptions or other informa- tion relating to the magazine, please con- tact Christy L. Smith or Scott Perkins at 501.372.7550.

Executive Director / Publisher Chris Villines

Communications Director/ Managing Editor Scott Perkins

Communications coordinator/ Editor

Christy L. Smith

AAC Executive Board: Mike Jacobs – President

Roger Haney – Vice President

Judy Beth Hutcherson – Secretary-Treasurer Sherry Bell Sue Liles

Andrea Billingsley John Montgomery Rhonda Cole

David Thompson Will Jones

Debra Buckner Bear Chaney Jimmy Hart

Patrick Moore Joe Gillenwater Bill Hollenbeck Debbie Wise

National Association of Counties (NACo) Board Affiliations

Alvin Black: Public Lands Steering Committee. He is the Montgomery County Judge.

Roger Haney: Board of Directors. He is the Wash- ington County Treasurer and is also on the Telecom- munications & Technology Steering Committee.

Ted Harden: Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee. He serves on the Jefferson County Quorum Court.

Haze Hudson: Transportation Steering Committee. He serves on the Miller County Quorum Court.

David Hudson: Vice Chair of NACo’s Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Sebastian County Judge and member of the Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee.

Mike Jacobs: NACo Board of Directors, the Mem- bership Committee and the Agricultural & Rural Affairs Steering Committee. He is the Johnson County Judge.


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Government harmed

argue social doctrine at high levels and come to relative agreement that once the argument ended, the move for- ward began, and the fight was left to history.

by ideology M

uch is made these days of partisan politics, and the impasses we have seen at federal, state and local levels as a result. In days gone by, it seems that we were able to

Director’s Desk

Chris Villines AAC

Executive Director Partisan politics can be a very good and beneficial thing, as we have all heard there

are many ways to accomplish the same good goals. At times in our nation’s history, the slow plod of fleshing out arguments has resulted in new ideas that were neither partisan nor tested but proved to work well. It was only through the process of public debate that these new ideas were developed and implemented. Today we find our state part of a similar process involving the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and our move toward the private option.

In time we will find whether the private option works or does not, but regardless of which, it is a model that our state leaders reached across party lines to develop. To this day the leaders continue to fine-tune it as we reach implementation crossroads. I say this because it is disingenuous for our society to criticize partisan politics without acknowledging the examples of working together and the potentially good results that come from it.

After consideration, I believe partisan politics is not the problem in government

today, and nobody is better positioned than county government to make this argument. Our close relationship with constituents as federal and state doctrines are implemented give us a front row seat to those positions and whether they really do work. Good laws passed result in compliments to us and to our staff. Bad laws earn the ire of the citizens, and criticism rarely follows the decision-makers. Instead the negative opinions are heard at our collective counters across the state.

I submit that partisan politics per se is a good thing, a meshing of ideas that results in generally better thought-out laws that take implementation into consideration. But there are two factors working together in our society that make many believe partisan politics is bad. Tese two factors result in rushed laws that do not take administration of the legislation into account. Tese two things are: 1) misplaced ideology and 2) rush to implementation.

Like many county officials from Arkansas, I was able to attend this year’s National Association of Counties Conference. Many good things come from this conference, and one statement was made that continues to stick with me. Mayor Mitch Landrieu welcomed the conference to Orleans Parish on July 14 — and he said to the group, “At the end of the day, we folks in local government do not have the luxury of engag- ing in ideological debate.” What a refreshing quote! Mayor Landrieu gets it. He un- derstands that we are charged with implementation and administration, not arguing the merits of the laws we have to follow.

Many of you have spent hours in your lives at football games, from Pop Warner leagues all the way up to NFL. If you could have a dime for every Monday morn- ing quarterback second-guessing the coach on a called play, you’d never buy a lottery ticket again. Simply stated, this is representative of a misplaced ideology that now runs rampant in our society. Financial guru Dave Ramsey has helped millions of people with

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