Letter to the editor - re the water board
An open letter to J. Randy Young, executive director, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, dated Oct. 27:
Received letter from Edward Swaim dated Sept. 30 in response to my concerns with the formation of the Carroll County Public Water Authority. I appreciate your having the public meeting. I was unable to attend but have kept abreast of happenings from those who did as well as in the paper.
I now understand that enough signatures were obtained to put this issue to a vote. I spoke with Judge Barr, Carroll County Judge, yesterday to understand the procedural details but he had yet to speak with the county attorney as to how to proceed. I have some questions that perhaps you can answer regarding this issue.
1. If approval has not been given by your office, how is it that a similar body has already been created and had a meeting at a private place of business here in Berryville?
2. Mr. Menz, attorney for Jimmy Jones, stated that any board member who profited from a Public Works Authority would be subject to criminal prosecution. How can Jimmy Jones not profit from this venture, particularly given the vast powers such a board would have? Resign after everything is in place and then reap the profits?
3. Mr. Menz stated he is usually paid from loans made for construction systems, such as monies that Jimmy Jones would be paid as a contractor. As Mr. Menz is Jimmy Jones' attorney, do you feel there may be something here that is, at the very least, unethical, and at most, illegal?
4. Now that the process has become a ballot issue, where or when does your office now enter the picture?
5. Will you wait for the results of the referendum prior to making your decision? I strongly believe that both of these entities are backed and controlled by Jimmy Jones so we are fighting a two-pronged attack from the moneyed interests here in Carroll County.
As I mentioned in my earlier letter, this affair has the distinct odor of good old boy backroom politics. I would hope that you use your influence to educate the local populace and support the people in their quest for an equal voice.