Court members pass resolution of no confidence in Nelms

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Craighead County Quorum Court members said they've been asked often about the county's debt to the Internal Revenue Service.
"My phone won't stop ringing, I'm stopped in the grocery store. Every place I go, people I don't even know have something to say about what's going on in your office," Justice of the Peace Barbara Weinstock said at Monday night's quorum court meeting.
But it's not just community members who want to voice their opinion. Quorum court members had plenty to ask County Clerk Nancy Nelms about why Craighead County wound up nearly $300,000 in debt to the IRS. 
Many court members said they don't feel as confident in Nelms as they did in the past.
"Therefore, be it resolved by the Quorum Court of Craighead County that confidence has been lost in the county clerk." Justice of the Peace, Ken Stacks read from a resolution he and other court members requested concerning Nancy Nelms.
Of the 13 court members, 11 agreed with the resolution and it was passed by a majority vote.
J.P. Weinstock said she's seen a general consensus among Craighead County residents.
"The question is what we can do, and one is not 'firing you,' because that's what I'm getting a lot of. 'Why don't you just fire her?' And I try to give them the answer but that seems to be the feeling in the community." Weinstock said.
The reason court members don't 'fire' Nelms is because they can't. Though the quorum court is a legislative body, the Arkansas Constitution doesn't provide the quorum court with the authority to remove an elected official.
"She is not an employee, she is an elected official," Justice of the Peace, Michael Hawkins said. "So there's very little that we as a quorum court and especially the judge can do to rectify this situation. We're trying. We're going down the legal avenues but we're hitting brick walls."
So for now, the quorum court has decided to audit the payroll taxes in Nelms' office.
Nelms did agree to the audit but she did request that it wait until after elections.
"I don't have time to stop and explain everything I'm doing. If y'all could wait a week, or ten days. I would ask to do that because I'm scattered thin as it is right now," Nelms said.
Until then, everything will go on as normal. When asked what she would do, Nelms replied, "I'm still working on getting the money back and confident that I will." 
Though there isn't much quorum court members can do to dismiss an elected official, others can. According to the Arkansas Constitution, county members or the prosecuting attorney of that county can ask the Circuit Court to remove any county or township officer for incompetency, corruption, gross immorality, criminal conduct, malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office. 
Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you the latest developments as they emerge.
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