A heads-up on some coming news from the Pulaski County courthouse. Treasurer Debra Buckner, in concert with new comptroller Mike Hutchens and others, has put in motion a plan to begin righting the struggling county.
A plan that has begun moving through the Quorum Court would, first, put $1 million in unobligated local and state money into a fund dedicated to public safety -- the jail. She reports, too, that revenue is exceeding spending this year sufficiently that, if the record continues, county employees could receive a one-time three percent pay bonus at the end of the year. She says this is important to retain workers who haven't had a raise in three years and encourage the workforce.
She also has ideas to reduce spending on employee health care, to redirect some unspent construction money to a "wellness center" for county employees and a variety of other measures that, over a period of years, should restore some sanity to county operations. She makes no bones in saying many of these measures weren't possible when Ron Quillin, the accused embezzler, was comptroller. She suggests, too, that an ongoing audit could answer questions about whether Quillin's activities went beyond tapping some minor county funds to finance an extramarital affair.