Lawrence Co. Justices of the Peace will not receive bonuses in 2016

Lawrence Co. Justices of the Peace will not receive bonuses in 2016

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - There will be no bonuses for justices of the peace in the Lawrence County Quorum Court.

The justices voted Tuesday night to remove a proposed $500 bonus in the 2016 budget, with one member voting against the measure.

County Judge Dale Freeman had threatened to veto the bonuses. Freeman said JPs will also not be allowed to take money for the end-of-the-year incentive.

Freeman said he has talked to lawyers about the issue and those specific bonuses are illegal.

He started the meeting Tuesday by saying "we are not going to break our laws."

One justice of the peace did vote against the motion to remove the bonuses from next year's budget.

Justice Lloyd Clark made the motion against the bonuses.

He said he was happy with the outcome, but still had some concerns since the motion only took away bonuses for the JPs.

"I'm still a little disappointed that we are giving bonuses to elected officials," Clark said. "I just ethically have a problem with that. All the employees, certainly but elected officials in my opinion shouldn't vote themselves bonuses, or other elected officials bonuses.

The issue over the legality of those bonuses stemmed from a budget meeting held a week ago when a resident asked why the JPs awarded themselves an extra $500.

Freeman asked the officials what their motives were.

"Are we doing this for the money or for the benefit of Lawrence County," he said.

Justices of the Peace will also not be allowed to be paid for every meeting they miss.

Freeman said it is illegal to be paid for more than one missed meeting.

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