top of page

WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS NEWS & UPDATE BY JP BETH COGER, DISTRICT 9, 6/30/24

WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS AND UPDATE

JP BETH COGER, DISTRICT 9 

6/30/24


 

First off, I love Washington County Democratic Women. WCDW awarded me this treasure last week at their monthly meeting. Thank you WCDW for thinking of me and for all you do! (My photos do not do it justice)
















PLEASE go to YouTube and sign up for Washington County’s YouTube channel.  Subscribe and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar  

There are now 796 subscribers and we need everyone in Washington County to subscribe and watch the meetings.  Only 249 have viewed the most recent quorum court  meeting. 


We need everyone in Washington County to follow these meetings and KNOW.


Watch the complete 3+ hour video of the June Washington County Quorum Court meeting.  It’s a great lesson for “When people show you who they really are, believe them.”  IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW.


 _______________________________________________________________


Washington County Judge Patrick Deakins is looking for a new Chief of StaffHere’s more information on that position.  It pays quite well:  Type: Full Time. Salary/Pay Rate: $111,104.05 - $124,992.06 (depending on experience) Great benefits, too.

Salary/Pay Rate:$111,104.05 alary/Pay R

Please share this job posting. It was posted 6/21/24. It's the second job posting on the list as of 6/30/24 at 1:00 pm.

 There you’ll be able to complete an online application, see salary ranges and more.  

 _______________________________________________________________







TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE




The closing of the NWA Community Correction Center (which has received national awards) is NOT A DONE DEAL.  I verified this with the State Department of Corrections Board last week.  There’s plenty of time to contact Judge Deakins, JPs, Sheriff Cantrell, the governor, your legislators, and any legislators to let them know you want this community asset to stay where it is. The center has over 400 volunteers from 24 different groups who work there with the women to see they get the treatment they need to turn their lives around, save their lives, and break the incarceration cycle.

Here’s an easy link to contact information on elected officials.


_______________________________________________________________


COUNTY SERVICES MEETING POSTPONED FROM 7/1/24


The County Services meeting of the Washington County Quorum Court scheduled for 7/1/24 has BEEN POSTPONED and is now combined with the Finance & Budget Committee which will meet Tuesday, 7/9/24 at 6:00 PM, Washington County Courthouse. (Mark your calendar)  The reason given:  “Due to lack of agenda items…”  


Here are my suggested agenda items: Updates in the process of constructing a $7M or so Emergency Operations Center; a $20M+ jail expansion; evicting the Department of Corrections from the NWA CCC and converting that into a satellite jail; severe jail overcrowding with no one doing anything to address the real causes of our over-incarceration; approximately 130 (likely more) people sleeping on the floor at the WCDC; absolutely zero discussions on how we will staff, operate and maintain said satellite jail; severe understaffing at our current jail, etc.


I’m an elected official and I’m ready to discuss all those items and more in public meetings.  Why transparency in government is so important.



_______________________________________________________________



 RECAP OF LAST WEEK’S HAPPENINGS (That I know)


WASHINGTON COUNTY JOBS EVALUATION SALARY ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM (JESAP) met Monday 6/24/24, 3:30 PM, WASHINGTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE.    







  • Request from the Assessor’s Office to convert their two part-time positions to full-time budgeted positions in the 2025 budget; positions will correlate to DeputyAssessor I positions. APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request to approve the re-grade of the Chief of Staff Assessor position to a grade 20 to be reflected in the 2025 budget. APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from Buildings & Grounds to approve the re-grade of the Building Maintenance Technician positions to a grade 13 for the 2025 budget.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from the Circuit Clerk's office to approve a promotional pay increase to employee above the 1st quartile in the amount of $23.24/hr.; request will not require additional funding.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY 

  • Request from the Circuit Clerk's office to convert one position of Deputy Circuit Clerk I in the 2024 budget to the next level of Deputy Circuit Clerk II (PCN#0102015-2); budgeted money will remain the same. There is evidently a county ordinance for this but “it never got changed in the system.”  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from the Prosecuting Attorney to create two Victim Assistance Coordinator positions for the 2025 budget valued at a grade 12. We currently have three:  Bi-lingual, Domestic Violence and Homicide Cases.  Would amend to include misdemeanor victims of violent crime.  “We need someone to serve the Marshallese community.”  Would bring total victim advocates to five.   The current three are taking work home, working long hours, subject to mental fatigue.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request  from the Judge’s office to approve the re-grade of the Planning Director position from a 20 to a 24 with a promotional pay request starting effective July 1, 2024 at the 1st quartile.  This position hasn’t been upgraded in six to seven years.  “Our most forward facing public office,” Judge Deakins stated.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from the Judge’s office to approve the re-grade of the Juvenile Detention Center Director position from a grade 22 to 25 with a promotional pay request starting effective July 1, 2024; this will require additional funding.  Will require additional funding.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from Treasurer’s Office to provide a new hire with starting pay at the 1st quartile of the pay range of grade 9; no additional funding required.  APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from Treasurer’s Office to approve the re-grade of the Chief Deputy Treasurer from a grade 17 to 19. “Historically underpaid.” APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from the Treasurer’s Office to eliminate the current Deputy Treasurer positions and convert them into Deputy Treasurer I (PCN#0103005; grade: 11) and Deputy Treasurer II (PCN#0103006; grade:13) for the 2025 budget. APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from Department of Emergency Management to provide a higher than minimum starting pay to a new individual filling the position of Deputy Director of Special Operations To the amount of $64,000.00; this requires no additional funding.  Evidently this is already a hire, or will be a hire of Willie Watts who recently retired from thirty years of service to the Farmington Fire Department. APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Request from the Juvenile Detention Center to request the re-grade of multiple positions for the 2025 budget year.  See those individual positions and pay upgrades here.

_______________________________________________________________


  WASHINGTON COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION met Tuesday 6/25/24.  I was unable to attend this meeting due to other commitments, but you can watch the meeting here:  https://www.youtube.com/live/y-5z4L8HgAA?si=TR-MmHNlTPQ6HWk5


_______________________________________________________________


 




WASHINGTON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER INFORMATION 6/29/24





The Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee was originally formed in 2017 by county ordinance as a requirement for the establishment of the NWA Crisis Stabilization Unit (we're the only county in the state to lose our CSU).   


The 2020 Criminal Justice Assessment Study (CJAS) by the National Center of State Courts recommended all kinds of programs and steps the county should take to decrease our jail overcrowding and make sure we do not need to expand our jail, including but not limited to:  robust pretrial services program; expanding drug and veterans’ courts; social workers in the jail; drug addiction and alcohol addiction treatment, a sobering center, mental health court, and more, including ensuring that our public defenders were paid the same as prosecutors and that they had the same benefits, even as to access to parking!


Here’s the link to an Excel Spreadsheet of the data which you can download the jail data and get a lot more detailed information.


As of  6/22/24, there are at least 765 people locked away in our Washington County Detention Center.  Most of those (500+) are pretrial - meaning they’ve been arrested and/or charged, but have not been found guilty. They're in jail because they can't buy their way out.


This week 101 of those people are homeless. The unsheltered population consists mostly of young people in their 20s, 30s or 40s, up to 50.  There are 15 people who are listed as unsheltered or homeless that are over 50.


As of 5/28/24 our current detention center capacity was 568.  The current number being housed is 759.


There are 250 Failure to Appear charges;  252 “holds for other departments”; and 62 “courtesy/contract holds.”  Here’s the link to the Detailed Charge Report:  





 _______________________________________________________________



NEW COUNTY BID POSTINGS  

 

🌟 Current bidding opportunities. Outfitting of Sheriff Office vehicles.   And here you can read about the Textured Bituminous Mastic Surface Treatment Bid.  Please share if you think you might know someone who’s interested in bidding.  These bids close 7/1/24 at 4:00 pm.  Bid opening is 7/2/24 at 9:00 am, most likely on the Fifth Floor or in the Quorum Courtroom.  You can call 479-444-1700 to verify the location of bid openings.

54 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page