by Max Brantley
It's Thanksgiving eve. Got anything to say, here's your chance. Final words:
* THE UNCOLA: The Quorum Court staff today sent a memo indicating some members of the county governing board indicated they didn't want the one-time payment — up to 5 percent of pay — voted by the court Tuesday night for all county employees, including themselves. JPs are to report by Tuesday if they don't want the money. Phil Stowers (R) has already indicated to me he won't take it and Shane Stacks (R) also indicated he'd bypass the payment, a county employee said. Six JPs, including Stacks, have only served two years and qualify for a 2 percent bonus; three have served 4 years and could get 4 percent bonuses, the remaining six, including Stowers, could get 5 percent. JPs are paid $11,106 a year, mostly to meet once a week every other week. They are entitled to free health insurance for themselves, too.
Unfortunately candid response to the memo from JP Teresa Coney (D)
We went with the original plan. I want my money!
JP Judy Green (D) defends the payment in her email response:
I would like to receive the COLA and any other bonus the County will reward us with. As I stated in the meeting last night "if every JP works as hard in their district as I do, we are not receiving enough for what we do. I participate in everything my constituents request of me, which is a lot (day and night); and my district is very big land wise which requires me to use a lot of mileage and spend a lot of money on gas, not to mention wear and tear on my car. I'm not complaining, because I ran for this position with a knowledge of this; but it really irritates me when I hear JPs say that we are making too much money. Let those JPs refuse the little extra money, but don't take it from the rest of us. We voted on this issue last night, and it should not be voted on again thru e-mails.
UPDATE: Paul Elliott of Maumelle said he, too, would bypass the 2 percent raise to which he's entitled.
* GOVERNMENT BY TOWN HALL: A Tea Party group is working (Talk Business) on an initiative to require votes on all tax increases, new taxes or tax renewals at any level of Arkansas government. And if we give up representative government on taxes, why not everything else?
* BEEBE LAMENTS FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS: Gov. Beebe tells Stephens Media that the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith and the state Forestry Commission could suffer from automatic budget cuts that will be coming because of failure to reach a negotiated federal budget plan.
* DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHO HUCK'S ENDORSING? DOES ANYBODY REALLY CARE? Punditry hot and heavy today on whether Mike Huckabee was or was not going to endorse Mitt Romney. Best guess is that he's staying out of the primary and getting ready to take a big bite of the s*** sandwich and tell his peeps to vote for Willard when he gets the expected nomination.
* RUSHING THE SEASON: I meant to remark when a neighbor's house turned up in full Christmas light regalia more than a week ago — dang, that's early! I think tomorrow is still too early, even if the retailers have pushed the official Christmas season, as measured by shopping, into Thanksgiving day.