Exclusive: Former White County Judge Says Current Officeholder Is ‘Misusing Taxpayer Funds’

The following letter was submitted to The Patriot by former White County Judge Bob Parish.  Mr. Parish served the people of White County as judge for ten years, garnering nearly 70% of the vote in his last election.  In 2006, Parish supported current Judge Mike Lincoln as his successor, but has since withdrawn his support.

This letter was also submitted to the Searcy paper as well as the Bald Knob paper.  They have declined to print it.

May 7, 2012

Dear Editor:

In 1989, White County voters passed a one percent county-wide sales tax. The purpose of the tax was to keep White County offices and services to the county afloat. At that time, all departments were facing a real threat of employees being laid off and services to the county being reduced. There was very little money in the treasury.

On August 8, 1995, the tax was challenged due to allegations of misuse of funds. A lawsuit was filed against White County, which resulted in the tax being struck down by an Arkansas State Supreme Court ruling in 1998.

On June 23, 1998, in a special election, White County voters went to the polls to abolish the original sales tax ordinance and to approve the adoption of a new one percent sales tax within White County. This ordinance remains in effect today.

The ballot sets forth the usage of the county’s portion of the one percent sales tax revenues:

  • 50% for county roads
  • 25% for county general
  • 10% for non-mandated services
  • 10% for capital improvements
  • 5% for volunteer fire departments

Judge Michael Lincoln has used county road funds for graveling and hard-surfacing city streets, platted sub-divisions, private lanes, and other non-county roads throughout the county. Many of these roads have not been dedicated to the county, nor has a court order been filed regarding the acceptance of dozens of these roads. Two examples include recently opened and paved city streets in Letona, where new housing has been developed; and the Dayton sub-division located near Judsonia. Using county labor, materials, or equipment to build or maintain non-county roads is misuse of county funds and therefore, an illegal exaction. The practice of using county road labor, equipment, or materials on non-county property reduces potential jobs for contractors who may desire to bid on the projects.

In 2003, White County was not allowed to use county funds for the promotion of a one-half percent sales tax to fund the building of a new law enforcement center. Judge Lincoln hired an individual to promote the passage of a one percent sales tax to be used for the Searcy bypass project. This individual is being paid an amount of $2,000.00 per month by the county – another misuse of county funds.

When revenues generated by the sales tax ordinance, which was approved by White County voters, are not used as ear-marked on the ballot, it is an abuse of taxpayers’ money. The misuse of our penny tax this way jeopardizes all 16 incorporated cities and all volunteer fire departments. We stand to lose approximately 10 million dollars per year.

Judge Bob Parish

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21 comments

    • scottbiddle

      Warren,
      I think it fair to say that Bob Parish loves White County, its residents, and its employees. What he appears to be saying here is that he is fairly certain that the end result of an illegal exaction lawsuit against the county would be that the county would be found to be violating state law and forced to give up millions of dollars a year in revenue, which would be bad for the county. He is warning folks that the longer our current judge follows his reckless path, the longer the window will be open for such a lawsuit to happen and harm the county, but Bob Parish is likely not the type of man to file that lawsuit himself..

  1. sarahjanelives

    This is just shameful, and in my opinion stems from Haynie’s ridiculous conspiracy theory claims. There is absolutely no way I will vote for Haynie at this point. I cannot believe the witch hunt this seems to be devolving into.

    • T.J.

      Sarah,
      Thanks for your input !
      But would you please give us the facts about Judge Lincoln ? Please use the blog to put out the truth about Judge Lincoln!
      Also, please tell us about Mr. Haynie’s conspiracy theory?
      Please put the truth on this blog!!!!!
      If you are old enough to vote, please learn the facts first!!!!
      I am waiting on your input of facts!!!!
      If you can not five me any facts about Judge Lincoln , then please don’t waste my time!
      Have a good day!!

  2. Dog

    Nic,
    Once again we have to get information from your blog that we can not get from the daily papers! It appears that they love Lincoln. And don’t want the people to know the facts!
    Please keep up the good job of getting the truth out!!
    The voters need the truth and they will not get it from the local liberal papers!
    Vote for Haynie!

  3. donnieboy1

    Seems to me likewhen eleceted officials do wrong, then then when the truth comes out, it’s call BASHING. I just don’t get it. Why, when an elected does wrong, do people continue to want to keep them in office. It’ doesn’t bet better when thathappes, it just gets worse. My ovte is for Mr. Haynie/

  4. jim Baker

    Well as for the truth about the streets opened in Letona: They were opened while Bob Parish was in office, and I have been assured by the Mayor of Letona that the City has reciepts showing Letona payed for them.
    Just another truth, the 13 justices of the quorum court appropriate all county funds. No judge can spend any moneys without majority concent.

  5. Bob Parish

    Mr Baker:

    All money is appropriated by the qc court is true. They don’t tell him where and how to spend the monies.

    1. 9/7/2011 city of Letona gave WCounty a check ( number 808) for $15,108.97 for material.
    Who paid for labor and equipment

    2. Letona is an incorporated city and did they advertise for bids anything over $10,000
    A county in Arkansas can not go into an incorpated city without approval of the court.

    • jim Baker

      Mr Parish,
      According to the Mayor & Secretary-Treasure of Letona the check in question was for material, equipment, and labor as per the bid recieved from White county. Since the county Road Dept is the only entity that does Chip Sealing in the county and it was approved by the letona City Council I don’t see the problem. Furthermore if there was any wrong doing wouldn’t there have been an issue with the state auditor?
      When you held the judges office you opened streets in Letona as well. It has been brougbt to my attention that it has been standard for the county to make bids and chip seal streets i.side incorporated city’s fo

  6. Jim Baker

    Mr Parish,
    I was cut off during my previous entry, I apologize.
    To continue, I don’t see any difference from when you and several previous White County Judges chip sealed roads within incorporated cities in the county.
    As for whether the judge gained approval from the QC… I’ll have to check with his office as I don’t have that information.

    Mr Parish,
    I appreciate a fair debate of ideas and opinions, you have been fair and generous.

    PS. While speaking to Mayor Bennett he informed me he submitted a letter to Arkansas Patriot” disputing Mr Parish’s claims on Fri 5/18/12. I wonder why that letter hasn’t been published on this site? Could they be waiting until after the election on Tues?

  7. Pingback: Mayor of Letona Responds to Former Judge Parish «

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