Some positions come with just a title, others with substantial pay

Friday, February 26, 2010

CARROLL COUNTY -- The voting public will be asked to cast ballots in the year ahead to elect county officials and municipal office holders.

Some elected positions come with a substantial paycheck and benefits package while other seats are filled with people who work for free.

Local judicial positions, such as district and circuit judgeships, will not appear on this year's ballots.

However, some state positions will, such as that of prosecuting attorney, a post currently held by Tony Rogers.

It is a four-year term that comes with an annual state-paid salary of around $119,000 a year. The filing period for that office is noon March 1 through noon March 8.

Other top wage earners in this year's local races will be the county judge at $45,754 a year, and the county sheriff at $44,271 per year.

Next in line are county office holders who make $38,771 annually. They include the county clerk, circuit clerk, treasurer, tax collector and the assessor.

In addition to their salaries, the judge and sheriff and all county office holders receive a benefits' package with medical, dental, retirement, life insurance, and short term disability policies included.

Justices of the Peace who serve on the county quorum court do not receive benefits but they are compensated $150 for each meeting they attend. Meetings are usually held once a month at the county courthouse in Berryville.

One group receiving nothing for their efforts are constables, elected from each township. Serving two year terms, they receive no pay and no benefits.

The filing period for all county positions, including constables, is noon March 1 through noon March 8.

The filing period for municipal office holders, including mayors, aldermen, clerks, treasurers, recorders and city attorneys is noon Aug. 4 until noon Aug. 24.

Many receive compensation but some do not.

This year's ballots will include the names of mayoral hopefuls running for four-year terms, as well city attorneys, where applicable, and recorder/treasurers.

City aldermen seats are up for grabs as well this election season. They are two-year terms.

In the City of Green Forest, all elected positions come with a medical and dental benefits package, plus a monthly paycheck.

The mayor earns $750 a month, the recorder/treasurer gets $375 a month, and council members earn $200 a month. The mayor and council meet twice a month.

Green Forest has elected a city attorney in the past, but currently operates with an appointed attorney because there are none who meet election guidelines which call for city residency.

It's the same situation in the City of Berryville, where there are no attorneys living in the city limits who aren't already obligated. That elected position, if filled, would come with a $21,500 annual paycheck.

Elected officials in the City of Berryville do not receive any benefits.

There, the mayor earns $20,000 a year, council members receive $20 per meeting, and the clerk gets $25 per meeting. The mayor and council meet twice a month.

In Eureka Springs, the mayor draws an $18,000 annual salary, the clerk/treasurer gets $30,000, and council members are paid $2,400 per year.

The city attorney is paid $100 an hour for professional services that are civil in nature, $75 an hour for duties as city prosecutor, and $150 per meeting no matter the length of the meeting.

The mayor, clerk/treasurer and city attorney are offered one-half of an insurance benefits package if they pay the other half.

In Oak Grove, where Jean Morgan has served as mayor more than 25 years, the mayor and council do not receive any compensation -- other than a life insurance policy from the Arkansas Municipal League. Morgan says she doesn't quality for the policy because of her age.

In the town of Beaver, the mayor, recorder/treasurer and council members did not receive official compensation in the past, but, according to a recent council vote, the mayor will now receive $200 a month.

Although Beaver township officials do not get paid, they are reimbursed for business travel.

The former clerk/treasurer, for a time, did get a stipend when she took over all bookkeeping duties. Since then, the town has hired a bookkeeper and pays $225 a month for the service.

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