New county judge ready to go to work

Saying he’s looking forward to going to work Wednesday, former Pine Bluff Mayor Dutch King was sworn as Jefferson County Judge Tuesday morning.

“I’m going to be there bright and early,” King said.

Retired Judge Lawrence Dawson administered the oath of office to King in the Quorum Courtroom at the Jefferson County Courthouse as other county elected officials, members of the Quorum Court and King’s family and friends looked on.

King, a Democrat, won a primary runoff against Pine Bluff Assistant Chief of Police Ivan Whitfield, then defeated Republican Justice of the Peace Ted Harden in the November general election.

“I’m blessed and honored to have been elected by the people and I’m obligated to doing the best job I can for all of them,” King said after the ceremony.

King, who also served on the Pine Bluff City Council, admitted he had no experience in county government and said he would work closely with the Quorum Court, which returns 10 of its 13 members this year, as well as with the other county elected officials, all of whom were re-elected in November.

“I look forward to the help and support of the Quorum Court and us working together to achieve the goal of making things better for all the people in Jefferson County,” King said.

He named Jimmy O’Fallon as the new Jefferson County Road Superintendent, replacing Ricky Bullard, who was fired by King just before Christmas.

O’Fallon formerly was the director of the Pine Bluff Street Department before retiring.

“He was there before I became mayor, was there while I was mayor, and there for a while after I left office,” King said, declining to name replacements for the three other people who were fired in December, including the County Building and Grounds Superintendent, Recycling Coordinator, and another employee of the County Road Department.

As he said during the campaign and after being elected, King is making economic development one of his top priorities this year.

“It’s important that we have good jobs with good benefits,” King said. “Good jobs will attract more people and we will be able to move the county and city forward.”