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In This Issue


AHPP grant pro- gram has pre- served historic White County Courthouse.


28 Polk County


Clerk Terri Harri- son lets the law, not politics, be her guide.


32


WINTER 2015


Features Unpaved Roads Program bill passes in Senate .....................................................19


AAC accepting applications for scholarship ...........................................................25 Smart911 success stories..........................................................................................27 Desha County Collector named Woman of the Year .............................................30


Inside Look AAC Board profile: Debbie Wise ................................................................................35


County judges hold orientation. ................................................................................37 AAC hosts newly elected county officials’ school ..................................................38 Circuit Clerks gather in Little Rock ...........................................................................40 Collectors swear in officers, honor retiring colleagues .........................................42 ACD provides training for new assessors ................................................................43 AAC hosts legislators at Governor’s Mansion reception ......................................44 Treasurers stage “Fifth Quarter” dinner ..................................................................46 AAC staff profile: Jarrod Kinnaird ..............................................................................48


Departments From the Director’s Desk ..............................................................................................7


AAC honors two retiring members of its board.


36


Attorney General Opinions .........................................................................................11 Legal Corner ..................................................................................................................12 From the Governor .......................................................................................................13 County Law Update ......................................................................................................17 Savings Times 2 ...........................................................................................................18 Legislative Lines ...........................................................................................................19 Seems to Me .................................................................................................................20


Cover Notes: Winter Wonderland


he week of February 22 finally brought wintry weather to Arkansas. What started out as ice on Sunday had become fluffy white snow by Wednesday. The National Weather Service had issued a winter weather advisory for Garland, Lonoke, Monroe, Montgomery, Polk, Prairie, Pulaski and Saline counties. Snowfall amounts ranged from 1-2 inches north of Little Rock to 6 inches in some Southern areas of the state. We captured photos of the AAC headquarters on Wednesday, just after the snow began blanketing the ground.


T — Information courtesy of the National Weather Service COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2015 “


(Photo by Christy L. Smith)


It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a


mutual concern for the future. — William Murtagh,


First keeper of the Natonal Register of Historic Places ” 5


STORY


Photos by Holly Hope/Arkansas Historic Preservation Program


Grant program has preserved historic features of White County Courthouse By Mark Christ


A Stately Lady Arkansas Historic Preservation Program


County have worked together for nearly 25 years to preserve the building and make it accessible to all of the county’s constitu- ents. Since 1991, White County has received $293,204 through the AHPP’s County Courthouse Restoration Grant program for restoration work on the landmark building, in addition to another grant to prepare the old Searcy Post Office to serve as a courthouse annex (see sidebar). When Arkansas’s territorial General Assembly created White County on October 23, 1835, it decreed that “until the seat of justice shall be located, the temporary seat shall be and the courts shall be held at the home of David Crise near the White


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he stately White County Courthouse in Searcy stands today as one of the finest examples of a Clas- sical Revival-style public building in Arkansas. Te Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and White


Sulphur Springs,” now the site of Oak Grove Cemetery. A five- man commission was established to select a permanent county seat, and in 1839 Crawford Walker donated 10 acres of land to them, which was sold to finance a one-story log building just southwest of the current courthouse. White County’s first permanent courthouse, with its furnishings, cost only $138.50. Interestingly, the original donation became embroiled in a kerfuffle involving land grants to veterans of the War of 1812 that eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court, making White County’s courthouse the only one in Arkansas whose location was adjudicated by the nation’s highest court. By 1850, the county needed a larger courthouse and a two-sto-


ry, wood-frame building featuring a pair of single-story adjacent wings was built for $1,000 on the site of the present courthouse. As White County continued to grow during that decade, govern- ment operations soon outgrew the 1850 structure and plans were made for a newer, larger courthouse to be constructed in 1861. Te Civil War, however, curtailed those plans and it was not until


COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2015


PROFILE


tisan politics plays into my job much. We have a law that tells us how to do every aspect of our job. It doesn’t really


matter how you feel party- wise. We have a job to do.”


— Terri Harrison Polk County Clerk


“As a county clerk, I don’t feel like par-


Getting the job done Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison lets the law, not politics, be her guide


By Jennifer Barnett Reed For County Lines


County Clerk Terri Harrison and her compatriots worked the front lines. Tey’re the ones who told voters on election days whether they had to show a driver’s license to cast a ballot. And it’s to their offices that same-sex couples came to apply for marriage licenses. None of that contention bothers Harrison. Now in her eighth term as clerk of Polk County and her second year of a two-year term as president of the Arkansas Association of County Clerks, Harrison said she instead simply focuses on what the law re- quires – even if that changes from one week to the next. “As county clerk, I don’t feel like the partisan politics plays


A 32


into my job much,” she said. “We have a law that tells us how to do every aspect of our job. It doesn’t really matter how you feel party-wise. We have a job to do.” It’s a job Harrison has been doing since 2001, shortly after she was elected to replace the retiring county clerk who had been Harrison’s boss for seven years.


rkansas’ county clerks often find themselves in the middle of contentious issues, and 2014 was no exception. As state legislators and judges de- bated voter ID laws and same-sex marriage, Polk


“It’s kind of funny — when I first went to work [in the county clerk’s office], my father-in-law said, ‘You can work for her for a few years, and when she’s ready to retire, maybe you’ll want to run,’” Harrison said. “I didn’t think that was something I would ever want to do. Ten I discovered how much I really, really enjoyed it.” Te idea of campaigning made Harrison a little nervous, she said — she had opposition in both the primary and gen- eral elections — but that didn’t last long. “Te people in Polk County were so good to me,” she said


of that campaign. “I really enjoyed getting out and visiting with people.” Harrison, 44, is a native of Polk County. She graduated


from Acorn High School in 1988 and attended community college in Mena for a couple of years before going to work in the county clerk’s office in 1994. Her husband, John, works for Brodix, a local manufacturer of cylinder heads. Tey have a daughter in high school and a son in college. In the 21 years she’s worked in the county clerk’s office, she’s seen an enormous amount of change. “When I first started working for the county, and even when I first became clerk, all the voting was done by paper bal- lot,” she said. “We had a central tabulator at the courthouse. People in charge of the polling places would bring ballots in


COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2015


AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


» » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » »


AAC honors two retiring board members


Top: AAC Executive Director Chris Villines speaks at a December 2014 ceremony honoring retiring board members Mike Jacobs, former Johnson County Judge, and Roger Haney, former Washington County Treasurer. AAC staff and board members gathered at the front of the room, and Villines presented each of the retiring board members with a special gift.


Middle left: Jacobs, who now serves on the Johnson County Quorum Court, and his wife Sandra (right) pose with Arkansas Supreme Court As- sociate Justice Courtney Judson Goodson.


Middle: Jacobs and Haney each received an engraved crystal plaque com- memorating their service to county government. Jacobs, who was Johnson County Judge for 24 years, was AAC’s longest serving board president. He was appointed to the board in 1997 and elected president two years later. Haney served as Washington County Treasurer for 36 years before retiring.


Middle right: Retired Jackson County Justice of the Peace Elwanda Tem- pleton speaks with AAC board members Joe Gillenwater, Miller County Jus- tice of the Peace, and David Thompson, Boone County Justice of the Peace.


Bottom: Haney says a few words to the county, district and state officials who attended the ceremony. Afterward, Jacobs spoke and led the group in a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine,” the same tune he regularly sang at the close of AAC’s annual summer conference.


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COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2015


COUNTY OFFICIAL


COVER


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