A discussion of a county-wide pay bonus lead to questions about the county using a bid process instead of using the state contract at Tuesday night’s Quorum Court.
The court moved to authorize a one-time $300 bonus for each county employee with more possibly coming later in the year depending on funds.
But some justices said it was “embarrassing” they could not give more.
“We have some of the best — if not the best — county employees in the state,” said Justice Steve Goode. “I’m embarrassed we are giving $300 raises.”
Goode said if certain things such as the county employee health insurance and the office furniture for the new criminal justice center had been put out to bid they may have been able to save money and pass that savings on to the county employees.
The county used the state contract list to choose some of these vendors, which is a legal process. With the state contract, bids have already been received and vetted at the state level.
“Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right,” Goode said.
Justice Johnny Brady — among others — also said it makes sense to bring the bid process to local businesses in order to keep the money in the county and give neighbors a chance at providing goods and services. Brady said during election season the justices make promises to the public to keep local interests in mind if elected.
“We live here in Faulkner County,” he said. “And we have not done that.”
The county attorney said he would be willing to look at the issue but emphasized the quorum court cannot impose their will on the executive branch and its decision process.
County Judge Allen Dodson was out due to the flu. Justice Randy Higgins presided over the meeting.
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