JPs recommend Sotallaro for vacant court seat

The first action taken by the 2013 Quorum Court was a repeat of an action in 2012 — declaring the seat formerly held by Mark Bailey, who resigned in October, vacant.

Bailey resigned just weeks before the General Election following a discrepancy into an address he claimed on his filing papers. Bailey still received more votes than his opponent but told Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin he would not serve.

The court formally declared Bailey’s seat vacant, which will be filled by Gov. Mike Beebe. The court also made a recommendation for the governor to appoint Jack Sotallaro to Bailey’s seat.

Justice of the Peace Steve Goode addressed Scroggin about filling the spot, saying that “the governor would be inclined to appoint someone if we recommended that person with an overwhelming majority.”

Goode said that Sotallaro had visited with 10 of the current 12 JPs prior to Thursday night’s quorum court meeting and had their signatures of endorsement. He was planning on getting the final two before the paperwork was sent to the governor.

The court had originally declared Bailey’s seat in District 8 vacant following his resignation, but since the governor did not fill the vacancy before or after the election, the court was required to declare the vacancy a second time.

Bailey listed 701 Reedy Road #5 in Conway as his address, which is in River Drive Mobile Home Park. The address listed, however, does not have a home of any kind on the property.

“The residency requirements under which I previously thought qualified me prior to completing the registration to run for another term in 2012 were incorrect,” Bailey said. “I was made aware of the correct residency requirements Tuesday afternoon. This information was provided to me [from] the Faulkner County Election Commission and the Faulkner County Republican Party leadership.”

Sotallaro ran unsuccessfully for the Faulkner County Circuit Clerk position, which was won by incumbent Rhonda Wharton.

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