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


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county officials their service in county government is a “labor of love.” I know it has been for me in my 35 years of service — 26 years as an elected official and the following years with the As- sociation of Arkansas Counties. Te people of Arkansas are well served by those in county


government. Te commitment, dedication and passion of county officials is overwhelming. As a group, you work hard to bring common sense decision-making to local issues. You spend the taxpayer dollars wisely. You care about the people and the place they call home — your county. Some of the best “public servants” work in Arkansas county


government. I see professionals who bring great pride to public service. I see officials who are innovative and creative, officials that share a commitment to quality. Yes, there are serious challenges ahead. But, I have great faith


that you are up to the challenges. Tose of you in county govern- ment office know that your residents want and deserve a better Arkansas. I believe that you are committed to this place, to your people, and to their future. We in county government know how to work together in a nonpartisan way to create change. And I know that you will not give up hope, even though it sometimes looks hopeless. We had a tough but fairly successful legisla- tive session. I phrase it that way because we were able to get most of our AAC bill package enacted into law. But, we also were challenged with many bills that were detrimental to county government. We were able to successfully challenge and defeat some of those bills. Others were enacted, and we will work to the best of our ability to administer and enforce them. We even experienced a number of issues that had the po- tential to be divisive. But we worked hard to ameliorate and mitigate division. No one is going to represent the interests of counties except those of us who are in it — those of us who have spent our adult lives trying to better county government. When we are unified and speak with one voice, we have great power and strength. Our unified voice is made stronger by the diversity of who we are and of what we value. What do we do with our problems? What do we do with our disappointments? We could do what Miss Havisham did. Remember her in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations? Jilted by her fiancé just prior to the wedding, she closed all the blinds in the house, stopped every clock, left the wedding cake on the table to gather cobwebs, and wore her wedding dress until it


of county officials is overwhelming. As a group, you work hard to bring common sense decision- making to local issues. You spend the taxpayer dollars wisely. You care about the people and the place they call home — your county.


T COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2015


he people of Arkansas are well served by those in county government. Te commitment, dedication and passion


hung in yellow decay around her shrunken form. Her wounded heart consumed her life. We can follow the same course. We can let our problems, disappointments, frustrations and disagree- ments consume us. Or we can do something positive and help- ful. We can do the right thing. We could follow the example of the Apostle Paul. His goal was to be a missionary to Spain. However, God had other plans. Paul ended up in prison. Sitting in a Roman jail, Paul could have made the same choice as Miss Havisham, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “As long as I’m here, I might as well write a few letters.” Hence your Bible has the Epistles to Philemon, the Philippians, the Colossians and the Ephesians. He took a lemon and made lemonade. What an incredible journey Arkansas county officials have made to get to where you are. Many of you know that I was an elected county official for 26 years, then executive director of the Association of Ar- kansas Counties and, in retirement, a county gov- ernment consultant. As county officials, we began this incredible journey for various reasons — en- couragement by others, a pressing issue, a desire to make things better, a desire to serve others. Whatever the reasons that got us here, tough times demand that we rise to the challenge and lead our counties and our state because we are servants of the people — public servants. Being a servant — that is what a county official


is. We are not the king or queen on a throne. We are public servants who should bend low to serve. Servants resist stubbornness. Ulrich Zwingli manifested such a spirit. He promoted unity during Europe’s Great Reforma- tion. At one point he found himself at odds with Martin Lu- ther. Zwingli did not know what to do. He found his answer one morning on the side of a Swiss mountain. He watched two goats traversing a narrow path from opposite


directions — one ascending, the other descending. At one point the narrow trail prevented them from passing each other. When they saw each other, they backed up and lowered their heads, as though ready to lunge. But then a wonderful thing happened. Te ascending goat lay down on the path. Te other stepped over his back. Te first animal then arose and continued his climb to the top. Zwingli observed that the goat made it higher because he was willing to bend lower. Tat’s what we have to do as county officials,


See “GROUP” on Page 24 >>> 23


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