New Officials Take Office In Northeast Arkansas

by Michael Wilkey ( 19 views 

Rusty McMillon said Monday that the past several days of the new year have been busy.

The new Greene County judge is one of several new officials in Northeast Arkansas to start their terms after a historic campaign season.

McMillon, a Republican who defeated longtime Democratic County Judge Jerry Shipman in November by a nearly three-to-one margin, said he met with the county road superintendent and a project manager within minutes of the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Day.

The meeting was set to walk through the county shop, seeing what equipment was available to use. On Friday, McMillon met with county road employees and worked on equipment needing repairs.

Monday’s agenda also involved county roads and a way to address layoffs last year within the department.

McMillon said his office has been inundated with calls and requests about various needs in the county. He said he plans to address the issues while at the same time, working to learn procedures and state law.

The November election brought several Republicans into office in the region. Republicans won county clerk races for the first time in Poinsett and Randolph counties, while the quorum courts in Craighead and Greene counties will be controlled by the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction.

McMillon said he plans to work across party lines to get things done.

“I have a personal focus on the citizens in Greene County. The D and R only matters in elections,” McMillon said, noting county officials plan to work as a team.

Craighead County Assessor Hannah Holloway-Towell echoed many of the statements made by McMillon.

“It has been going well,” Holloway-Towell, a 24-year-old Republican who defeated Democrat Toni Oden by a 60-40% margin in November.

Holloway-Towell said office employees have worked to update records for 2015, including payroll and reports on the county’s property re-evaluation.

According to Arkansas law, the assessor’s office is in charge of handling property assessments. The assessments and property value also help to key revenue for cities, counties and school districts among others.

Holloway-Towell said the money that is sent to schools is the “biggest one” because of the local money going toward the “benefit of our children.”

Craighead County Circuit Clerk Candace Edwards said she is wanting to implement a pair of public notification programs.

One program will involve updating the county’s jury notification system while another – the Contexte case management system – will give residents a chance to research court records.

As for the jury system, Edwards said she wants to implement a system similar to one used by the state of Arkansas.

“It is easier, time saving and computerized,” Edwards said of the plan, which will begin in March. “You can put it on an email, robo call or text message.”

County Clerk Kade Holliday, who started his second term Thursday, said his office will also be digitizing its marriage licenses starting in February.

The project is expected to be done by late summer, Holliday said.

The following is a list of other new county officials in Northeast Arkansas:

CLAY – Sheriff/Collector Terry Miller, D

CRAIGHEAD – Justices Billie Sue Hoggard, R; Richard Rogers, R; David Tennison, R; Steve Cline, R and Garry Meadows, R

CRITTENDEN – Justices Stacey Allen, D; Ronnie Marconi, D and Kenneth Cross, D

CROSS – County Judge Donnie Sanders, D; Justices Roland Leslie, I and Kevin Jumper, R

GREENE – County Clerk Phylllis Rhynes, R; Sheriff David Carter, R; and Justices Dustin Rumsey, R, Barry Bateman, D, Jonathon Davis, R, Tommy Grooms, R, Ronnie Banning, R, Blake Phillips, R and Jonathan Barr, R

INDEPENDENCE – Justices Brad Covington, R, Tammy Pearce, R, Ronald D. Lewallen, D and Wanda Pomeroy, R

JACKSON – Circuit Clerk Stacie Sullivan, D; Assessor Dianne Ballard, D and Justices Tim Higgins, D, Jennifer Ballard, R, Allen Edwards, D, Jerry W. Mann, D and Robby Stewart, D

LAWRENCE – Sheriff Jeff Yates, D

MISSISSIPPI – Circuit Clerk Leslie Mullins Mason, D; Justice Neil M. Burge, D

POINSETT – County Judge Bob Cantrell, D; County Clerk Teresa O’Brien Rouse, R; Circuit Clerk Misty Richardson, D and Justice Floyd Hancock, D

RANDOLPH – County Clerk Rhonda Blevins, R; Coroner Kerri King, D; and Justices Doris Sharp, D and James Ward, R

SHARP – Justice Chuck Murphy, D