What we fund is what we value… Let’s dive in as the QC continues to work through the 2024 Budget. Here’s what you need to know …
JESAP ignores Mac Mayfields recommendation to hire a Criminal Justice Coordinator (CJC) …
Let’s back up a bit. What is JESAP? It is the Jobs Evaluation Salary Administration Program. Any county job that is created has to be approved by JESAP. They also decide the “grade” of each position which is a direct result of the compensation and benefits. So needless to say, this is an important committee. And no surprise to me, the chair of this committee, wielding all the power is … wait for it… Judge Patrick Deakins. Here’s a quick video of Mac Mayfield speaking to the committee pleading to rehire the CJC after Deakins fired the previous Coordinator with NO PLANS to backfill the position.
Our incarcerated neighbors must pay a copay to receive medical care while in county custody?
Why is this important? Imagine being in jail because you don’t have money to pay bail. You can’t buy your freedom, so you are forced to sit in the county facility until your trial. Remember, 60% of current detainees are incarcerated because they can’t afford to pay bail. Then imagine… you get sick. If that were me, I would hesitate to ask for medical care because I wouldn’t want to wipe out my account to receive care. I have asked Sheriff Cantrell to either reduce the copays to $5 or eliminate them entirely. Medical copays generate a miniscule amount of money for the county. It’s projected to raise $35,000 in 2024. 0.09% of the proposed 2024 Sheriff's Budgets. Read my letter to Sheriff Cantrell for more on this.
Continuation of 2024 Budget discussion included a request for a modest increase to the Prosecutor’s office …
The Prosecuting Attorney, Matt Durrett’s 2024 budget proposal contains $1,172,717.00 salaries and benefits for the three deputy PAs and support staff. This represents an 1% increase over last year. This is a modest increase. I am curious to see how this budget compares to the County Defender’s office. I’ll dive into that soon! You can watch the full video here (it’s very short - about 15 minutes).
Where we need YOUR HELP this week!
WASHINGTON COUNTY FINANCE & BUDGET COMMITTEE, Tuesday, 9/5 @ 6:00 PM, Quorum Courtroom, WC Courthouse. IN PERSON ONLY. This meeting should be live streamed here.
Here’s the agenda for F&B.
You can study the entire budget proposals for 2024 here. Ongoing budget information such as this has never been made available to the public. I know because I’ve asked for it. Well, I have it now and I’m sharing it as it should be shared. I’d appreciate any comments or insights you want to share. Budgets are moral documents.
There will be a twelve (12) minute public comment time at the end of the meeting.
WASHINGTON COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION, Thursday, 9/7 @ 9:00 am., 2615 Brink Drive (Road Department Building), Fayetteville, Arkansas. IN PERSON ONLY. The meeting will be live streamed here
Here’s the agenda.
We will hear from the Election Commission about approval of ballots for the 11/14/23 City of Fayetteville Special Election; early vote and election day voting sites; absentee ballot canvassing location, time and date, and an update on the 2024 early vote and election day sites, among other items.
We NEED Your Help!
ATTEND the Finance & Budget meetings!
Talk to Judge Deakins and ask him why he’s not interested in pursuing the data analyst and other assistance (coordinator) for the CJCC. The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has offered to assist the county in implementing pretrial services AT NO CHARGE TO THE COUNTY! We must take advantage of their knowledge and skill and we need a coordinator and data analyst in order to be successful.
Call Judge Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell (he’s on the CJCC) and as many Justices of the Peace as you can. Get to know them. Meet them for coffee. Tell them you want a real pretrial services program in Washington County.
Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!
I welcome your questions and comments, also suggestions you have for any county related business. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text or call 479-306-9994.
Here’s the link to email addresses and telephone numbers for JPs, County Judge, and others.
See you at the courthouse!