County contesting state claim for retirement benefits

Jefferson County Judge Dutch King plans to meet with the Arkansas Employment Retirements System later this week to contest a claim that the county owes $134,000 to a former employee.

During committee meetings of the Quorum Court Tuesday, King said County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson has been searching for records since the retirement system said J.Y. Williams was owed the money earlier this year.

Williams was paid by a grant when he worked for the county in the 1980s, and according to King, no records have been located indicating that Williams was a county employee at that time.

Former County Judge Jack Jones said the same thing last month, saying he remembered Williams and was sure Williams was not on the county payroll.

Last month, King said the retirement system was willing to settle for $87,000 if payment was made by May 31 and said Tuesday the deadline has been extended to this Friday.

“We’re going to go up and meet with them and take everybody we can take with us including our lawyers,” King said. “If we owe the money we’re going to have to pay the money but they’re going to have to show us proof that we owe the money.”

During the regular committee meetings, an appropriation transferring $4,500 from the Treasurer’s Automation Fund for computer services was recommended for approval.

County Treasurer Elizabeth Rinchuso said in a letter to King and Finance Committee Chairman Herman Ginger the money will supplement the $10,000 in her budget already for computer services for software, computer maintenance and disaster recovery. No money from County General will be needed for the appropriation..

Also Tuesday, an appropriation ordinance transferring funds from within the 2013 budget for the County Environmental Enforcement Officer was recommended for approval.

That ordinance would move $500 to the uniform and clothing line of the budget and decrease the amount budgeted for tires and tubes by the same amount. A $2,100 increase would be made to the budget item for general supplies while the fuel, oil and lubricants budget would drop by the same amount.

In the only other item on the agenda, a resolution re-appointing Lou Taylor to a three-year term on the Jefferson County Equalization Board, was recommended for approval.

All the items recommended for approval will face a final vote Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the Quorum Courtroom.