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Director’s DE S K

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likelihood it was the proximity to Oaklawn Park that sealed the deal. An avid racehorse fan, I suspect he helped guide American Pharoah down the stretch in the Belmont from his lofty perch.

here, I called my wife. Second on the list was JG. I knew he enjoyed his job, and I certainly didn’t want to interrupt his learning process in Saline County. Regardless, I offered him a position at the AAC down the road when the time was right for him.

When the job of executive director was offered to me

until Judge Fite was ready to retire — an appreciated senti- ment for me because he and I both shared admiration and respect for our county judge. JG embodied a characteristic of loyalty that I value, another lost art in today’s society.

Allegiance ran deep in his veins, and he would not leave

In time, Judge Fite announced his retirement and the die was cast for JG’s return to AAC. He returned in spring 2014 to work with circuit clerks, assessors, collectors and quorum courts. He was as excited and happy as I have ever seen him in this role and enjoyed working with these groups immensely.

As county elected officials, a big part of your jobs is hiring good people who will fit the culture of your organization and management style. If ever there was a good fit, JG was it. He immediately hit the ground running and artfully worked with these groups, bringing Lindsey Bailey in as a dynamic duo on our policy team. He reconnected immediately with friends from the AAC. He had more surrogate mothers around here than I care to mention, with Jeanne Hunt and Brenda Emer- son working non-stop to keep him in line and focused.

Much has been learned through this process … by me, the staff and all of you. I have learned to value my friendships more. I have learned that grief of this magnitude comes with

many dynamics. I have learned again how important it is to be right with God, and I find great comfort in knowing that JG was — and that we will be reunited. And I have learned that real men are not afraid to hug. In fact, real men should be ashamed not to.

been tremendous. An unbelievable number of people have phoned, written and prayed for the county government fam- ily. I am humbled by the expressions of love from all corners and amazed by how many people this fine man touched.

Te outpouring from around the state during this loss has

At times we will all remember this grief, but I am reminded that sorrow is but a part of life’s process, and only through it do we have perspective to appreciate joy.

JG will live on through his legacy here and through his son Charlie Gage. I ask that the counties of Arkansas continue to lift his wife, Karen, and Charlie Gage in prayer. Tis is not an easy time for any of us, but I can easily imagine JG urging us to keep our chins up and run the race.

remind you all that his family has set up a memorial account for Charlie Gage. Memorials can be made to: Charlie Gage Greer College Fund, in care of Morgan Stanley, 2200 N. Rodney Parham, Suite 100, Little Rock, AR 72212.

We will have several ways to honor him, but I want to

I close by saying that the AAC and county family is very dear to me, as it was to Jonathan. Many people will walk in and out of our lives over time, and times like these remind us just how valuable people are and how fragile human life is. I encourage you all to reach out to those around you, to let those who expect our love the least to know just how much you do love them. You never know when it may be the last time you see them.

Rest in Peace dear friend.

AAC board honors Chaney for service

Members of the AAC Board of Directors honored Glenn “Bear” Chaney at their April meeting. The former Benton County assessor and former AAC board member was ap- pointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to serve as director of the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department. Chaney has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate field, working for three different assessors’ offices and owning his own appraisal business. He was elected Benton County assessor in November 2010 and appointed to the AAC board of directors in June 2013. His fellow board members had elected him to serve as secretary/treasurer on the AAC board immediately prior to the governor’s an- nouncement. Columbia County Assessor Sandra Cawyer has replaced Chaney on the AAC board, and Miller County Justice of the Peace Joe Gillenwater was elected to replace Chaney as board secretary/treasurer. AAC board President and Clark County Treasurer Judy Beth Hutcherson and AAC Executive Director Chris Villines presented Chaney with a plaque at the April board meeting.


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