State ethics commission investigating PB alderman

Pine Bluff Alderman Glen Brown is being investigated by the Arkansas Ethics Commission, which oversees conduct of elected officials within the state.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Aug. 21, commission Director Graham F. Sloan wrote that a complaint against Brown “meets the requirements” for an investigation to be commenced. Click here to view the letter as a PDF.

Listed as essential allegations by the complainant, whose identity was concealed in a copy of Sloan’s letter received by The Commercial late Thursday, were:

• The “sheer volume of new campaign signs blanketing” the third ward, which Brown represents, “were indicative of (an) expenditure in excess of $500.” Brown, however, failed to file a pre-election campaign contribution and expenditures report “as an opposed candidate for re-election” in the 2012 general election.

• The complainant “confirmed” through a deputy county clerk that “there was no final campaign report” for Brown on file in the Jefferson County clerk’s office in connection with the 2012 general election.

• According to Pine Bluff Finance Director Steve Miller, Brown “received $12,450 in compensation in calendar year 2012” as an alderman. However, Brown failed to report in his statement of financial interest (SFI) for the 2012 calendar year “income over $1,000 from the City of Pine Bluff (which he) earned” while serving in his elected capacity.

• “As a former Jefferson County justice of the peace,” Brown “is entitled to conduct civil marriages” by state code and is listed on the “county clerk’s justice of the peace marriage call sheet.” Brown officiates marriages for a fee, but did not report in his 2012 SFI “income over $1,000 (he received for) performing marriages.”

• Brown “listed a creditor but failed to provide the creditor’s addresses as required” in his 2012 SFI.

• While Brown performs marriages in his capacity as a former JP, “he has no other standing or entitlements” at the courthouse. However, Brown “performs marriage ceremonies in the quorum court room, a room furnished at public expense, for either personal or political campaign gain. Members of the public cannot use this room for personal or political campaign financial gain.”

Sloan responded by outlining the commission’s focuses in its forthcoming investigation on each of the points. He also instructed the complainant to deliver “any and all evidence” to the agency, which is located in Little Rock.

Additional details on this story will be released Friday.