JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Regarding a local newspaper's questions about Justice of the Peace pay, Craighead County Judge Ed Hill has one answer: We are not breaking the law.
Hill stated in a news release Friday that justices have been paid "regardless of their attendance or non-attendance at scheduled meetings."
He said they are scheduled to attend one regular meeting and a committee meeting each month.
Justices, according to the county judge, are compensated for attending any regular, special or committee meeting of the quorum court on a monthly basis.
Some justices, Hill noted, also attend anywhere from 2 to 5 budget committee meetings each year.
He said they are not compensated for attending more than two meetings in a month; likewise, they are not penalized when they attend less than two meetings in a month.
Hill added that Arkansas code (ACA 14-14-1205) establishes an ordinance is needed to establish per diem compensation, but it does not mandate that compensation be per meeting.
After researching county ordinances and consulting with legal counsel, Hill said the county is "confident our process is legal and we will move forward."
He said the justices will have an opportunity to visit the issue during their January meeting and can propose changes through legislation.
"Until such time, the executive offices of Craighead County will continue to operate based upon the guidance provided," Hill said.
To read Judge Hill's complete letter, including the Arkansas code defining compensation of justices of the peace, click here.
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