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JP COGER'S WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS, UPDATE AND HAPPENINGS WEEK OF 2/25/24




THINGS TO KNOW AND THINGS TO DO:


  Friends, if you can only attend one meeting this week, please make it this one.  We need help to get these items on the ballot so people can vote for or against.    Mark your calendars for Monday 2/26/24 beginning at 7:00 PM, 224 N East Avenue, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, officials from Arkansas Citizens for Transparency will be there to gather signatures, answer your questions about the initiated act and amendment to protect our wonderful Freedom of Information Act.  You can also learn how to volunteer and gather signatures.  Read more here why this is so important.


   Have you subscribed to the Washington County’s YouTube channel?  Subscribe and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar

  • Go back and watch meetings at your leisure and make notes.  If you have questions, ask me.

 


WARRANT CLINIC AND WC DETENTION CENTER INFORMATION:


   We had one of the most successful warrant clinics last week, serving almost 100 people.  Thank you to Washington County Public Defenders, Washington County Sheriff, Washington County Prosecutors, Washington County Circuit Clerk, District Courts, UA Law School, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition and all our Wonderful Volunteers & Interpreters. Want to know more?  


  As of 2/24/24, there are 745 people incarcerated in the WC Detention Center.  The charge report shows there are 250 people in our jail with FTAs.  These people all have other underlying charges, obviously.  Here’s the county’s official charge reportThe county has not updated its jail statistics dashboard since 2/1/24.  Almost a month ago. We can do better than that.



 

COUNTY MEETINGS THIS WEEK (only one meeting listed as of 2/24/24 @ 6:07 pm):  

The Washington County Jobs Evaluation Salary Administration Program (JESAP) meets 2/26/24 at 3:30 pm.  These meetings are held in the Fifth Floor Conference Room, Washington County Courthouse. Only audio is recorded.  It’s a big agenda, including but not limited to:

  • Creation of new Financial Technician I (approved by QC in 2024 budget)

  • Regrade of Youth Development Supervisor to Grade 12

  • Merit pay increase for the juvenile Detention Director

  • Merit pay increase for Planning Director

  • Creation of new position in Information Technology at $90,332.87

  • Regrade and title change for Purchasing Manager

  • Request from Sheriff to create a Help Desk Manager position



 

MEETINGS LAST WEEK:


   Watch last Thursday’s Planning Board meeting here.    https://youtu.be/vpVGJDgjuw4?si=ewwTqVnFvq7IAGb4

Some of the items that received board approval are three conditional use permits (CUPs) for businesses who want to open and operate in the county: 

  • Lehman Fishing Bait Warehouse at 10310 S. Arkansas 59

  • Sonora Oversized Storage at 17401 E. U. S. Highway 412.

  • A warehouse at Oak Place Properties 5325 W. Wheeler Road  



 

INFORMATION ON TWO NEW COUNTY BIDS/REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS:


  Circuit Court Division IV has a bid posted for drug testing services for WC Drug Court.  Here’s the bid packet if you know someone who might be interested in bidding on this service.  This bid closes at 4:00 PM 2/29/24 and bids will be opened at 9:00 AM 3/1/24.


  Building (& Grounds has a bid for window shades.  Here’s that bid packetIt’s for 92 solar screen shades with contour fabric valances; 3 motorized solar screen shades; 1 pair of draperies, Liz Linen color 1908 beige white, with privacy liner in white, installation and a limited lifetime warranty.  If you’re interested in bidding, here’s the time schedule:

  • Bid requests for interpretations due by 2:00 pm 2/27/24

  • Bid due by 4:00 pm, 3/5/24

  • Bid opened 9:00 1m, 3/6/24





 

 

WANT TO BECOME INVOLVED?

  • ATTEND AS MANY MEETINGS OF THE QUORUM COURT AS YOU CAN.  CHECK MY WEBSITE WWW.BETHCOGER.COM FOR DATES AND TIMES.   

  •  Subscribe to the Washington County YouTube Channel and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar

  • Read the 2020 Criminal Justice Assessment Study here and learn more.  This tells us what we must do if we do not want to build a larger jail.  

  • Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the CJCC and get that group up and running! This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person.  THE MAJORITY ON THE COURT VOTED AGAINST MY ORDINANCE TO EXPAND THE BASE FOR CJCC MEMBERSHIP.  WHAT’S NEXT?  WHY WON’T JUDGE DEAKINS ACTIVATE THIS COMMITTEE AND LET IT GET TO WORK?  ASK HIM.

  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to support criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019. CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Here's link to contact your elected representatives and other county officials: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tx_nJbsWcStPPtVIzPjzZxd5CBLC06BOUaNuG09JF0c/edit?usp=sharing

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