For the second time in a month, Jefferson County employees are facing the possibility of not getting paid.

This is the result of an on-going dispute between County Judge Gerald Robinson and County Assessor Gloria Tillman who Robinson has been accused of nepotism because her daughter, Morgan Tillman, works in the Assessor’s Office. Robinson is also disputing pay for former Assessor Yvonne Humphrey, who stepped down from her elected position but still works in the office.

Robinson told Deltaplex News that he had issued two court orders to reduce the payroll accounts of Humphrey and Morgan Tillman, but County Clerk Shawndra Taggart has refused to abide by the court order. He said he is responsible for not paying those two, but Taggart and Tillman are responsible for not paying the rest.

A call to Taggart Monday morning resulted in the following e-mail which we are printing in its entirety.

It is critical that the employees and citizens of Jefferson County understand how the Judicial system works.  As the County Clerk, I want to reiterate that I do not have the authority to oversee another elected official in their capacity as we are all elected by the people of Jefferson County although the County Judge would like for everyone to believe this is a task that I can accomplish. This means I nor the County Judge have any legal standing to remove or change any elected official’s payroll submissions for their employees.

As you are aware, the County Judge did submit a court order (CC2024-9) directing payment amounts be removed from the payroll claim on Friday, April 26, 2024.  However, this method of using a court order to reduce a payroll amount is an attempt to circumvent the authority of another elected official which would still compromise my constitutional duty in processing payroll. The County Judge does not have the authority to utilize a limited judicial role to execute an executive function. That is the reason Arkansas Constitution speaks of the separation of powers doctrine. Signing claims, including payroll claims, is an executive function of the County Judge and County Clerk. I have executed my function by submitting payroll on three (3) separate occasions which have all been denied by the County Judge.

Despite the County Judge’s attempt to use my office as a defense mechanism to overexert his authority into another elected officials office, I have and will always pledge to ensure that the County Clerk’s office will strive to do what is right and lawful within my elected duties. It is imperative to emphasize that the Office of the County Clerk remains committed to fulfilling its duties and responsibilities in processing payroll for all county personnel in a timely and accurate manner.

The payroll claim will be returned to the County Judge’s office this morning as it was submitted on April 18, 2024 as my responsibility is to submit payroll based on what has been received by all elected officials. I would hope that the County Judge recognizes that his decision to deny the payroll claim has halted the payroll process for all county employees.


Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Shawndra Taggart