State wants unpaid retirement benefits money from county


An apparent failure to pay retirement benefits for an employee of Jefferson County in the 1980s has come back to haunt the county to the tune of $146,000.

Following the regular meeting of the County Quorum Court Monday night, County Judge Dutch King said he had received a letter from the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System saying the county owed $146,000 in retirement benefits to the former employee, J.Y. Williams, but the retirement system would waive part of the interest and knock that figure down to $86,000 if payment was received by May 31.

King said Williams was paid from a grant, but the late County Judge Earl Chadick gave Williams a W-2 form and county benefits, thus making him a county employee and eligible for retirement benefits.

The money owed covered the period of 1981 to 1986, King said, adding that he was going to talk to the retirement board, possibly next week, to see if some kind of payment plan can be worked out.

“If we owe the money, we’ve got to pay the money,” Justice of the Peace Dr. Conley Byrd said.

During the regular meeting of the Quorum Court, an appropriation ordinance that will add $2,670 to the county assessor’s office to pay for increasing the duties of one staff member was approved, but not before Justice of the Peace Lloyd Franklin II questioned the ordinance.

The funds would come from the Amendment 79 fund, which stipulates that the funds can only be used by the assessor’s office for things like personnel, equipment, services and postage.

Humphrey said the extra duties required of her employee dealt with homestead credits, saying in a letter to King that the work has tripled in the past few years.

During the Quorum Court meeting, Humphrey said that her office is audited by the state on the use of the money, and the requested appropriation “would be a one time thing this year.

“Next year we may have to go with something else,” she said.

Also approved was an appropriation ordinance transferring $4,444.20 from the County Buildings fund to the County Judge’s Office to cover compensation for employees taking on additional duties.

King is eliminating the position of Office Manager in the County Buildings Department, and said in a letter to members of the Quorum Court that the reorganization would eventually save the county $24,484.16 in salary and benefits.

Franklin also questioned the ordinance, saying that he understood that a position was eliminated, but “every time you assign new duties to an employee, you don’t have to give them a raise and I think we’re getting into that.

“We don’t want to overpay someone to do the job they’re supposed to do,” Franklin said. He later voted to approve the ordinance.

A resolution approving an agreement between the Recycling Department and the sheriff’s department Clean Team was approved without dissent.

Under the agreement, the sheriff’s department will be paid $2,000 per month plus 15 percent of the net profits from the sale of recycled material handled by Clean Team members, who will be females working off fines.

A resolution reappointing George A. Makris Jr., and Scott McGeorge to five-year terms on the Economic Development Corporation of Jefferson County Board of Directors was also approved. The board administers the proceeds from the three-eights cent sales tax approved by county voters in 2011 for economic development.