Police chief speaks about hiring mayor's son

Police chief speaks about hiring mayor's son

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - At Tuesday's Jonesboro City Council meeting, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot proposed a resolution to create a full time Sex Offender Registration Specialist position. Before the council meeting, Mark Perrin, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin's son, was already filling in for the part time position.

Some members of the Jonesboro City Council raised concerns that a civilian may not be the best fit for such a job, even before they knew Mark Perrin was in the position.

Some believe the Mayor's son is a good hire. Others don't think Mark Perrin is qualified.

When asked if there was any abuse of power when making this decision, Chief Elliot said absolutely not. "No, it was just I had the right person at the right place, right time," Elliot said.

Elliot said the job is more computer based, making it better suited for a civilian. That way police officers can focus their time and effort. "The biggest bulk of this work involves data entry, a lot of files and record keeping," Elliot said. "He has a vast knowledge of computers."

While some believe nepotism is involved with the hire, Mayor Perrin said the position was created out of need, not for his son.

"That was not the reason it was drafted to be a full time position or whatever, whether it's my son or anybody else's son," Perrin said.

Chief Elliot said when he was looking for someone to fill the part time position he sought someone with computer skills along with a police background. Mayor Perrin said his son fits those qualifications.

"My son had been the chief of police in Cash," Mayor Perrin said. "He is also on the reserve with Craighead County now."

Mayor Perrin explained his son also has an engineering background. Mark Perrin used to work for Nordex along with owning the business Alltech Computers in 2000 and Alltech Online in 2001.

Chief Elliot and Mayor Perrin said putting a civilian in the position saves tax dollars.

"It would save the city a great deal of money because you don't have to pay the lofty retirement etc. for a non-certified police officer," Perrin said.

Chief Elliot assures Mark Perrin will be treated no different that any other employee.

"He will be treated like any other employee that works under my command," Elliot said. "Any violations or anything else will be disciplined."

After reviewing the hiring policy for the city of Jonesboro, it doesn't appear any wrongdoing occurred. Chief Elliot explained because the first position was just part time, it didn't have to be advertised to the public.

Now that the city council has approved a full time Sex Offender Registration Specialist position, Mark Perrin simply carries over to the full time position.

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