By Ray King
A special called meeting of the Jefferson County Quorum Court and its Finance Committee Tuesday was adjourned because not enough members of the county’s legislative body showed up to constitute a quorum.
Finance Committee Chairman Ted Harden called the Finance Committee meeting to deal with three appropriation ordinances that County Judge Gerald Robinson had proposed that were rejected by members of the Quorum Court last week. Those items included payment that is due to Simmons Bank Aug. 25 for $457,821.02 to pay the lease on county buildings. Another roughly $500,000 is owed to Reynolds Construction for work done on count buildings.
The notice of the special meeting was sent last Friday but on Tuesday, Justice of the Peace Lloyd Franklin sent an email saying that a majority of the justices would not be attending because of prior commitments.
When the roll was called for the committee meeting, there were six justices present, Harden, Roy Agee, Conley Byrd, Patricia Royal Johnson, Danny Holcomb and Margarette Williams. The other seven were absent and Robinson was asked if that absence was deliberate.
With six members present, the Finance Committee was able to recommend that all three ordinances be sent to the full court with a do pass. Since there was no quorum, no further action could be taken.
In his email, Franklin said a majority of the justices had voted to hold a meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the appropriations Robinson asked for, as well as other items not on the agenda for Tuesday.
He also said . “This meeting has been officially called and meets the guidelines outlined in the relevant A.C.A. statutes, and it should proceed according to the established procedures. Interfering with or obstructing a legally called Quorum Court meeting could have legal implications.”
Robinson disagreed, saying that only the County Judge or the (Finance) Committee chairman could call a meeting and Harden said he would not be calling or attending any meeting on Wednesday because that is a church night.