Pulaski County Eyes Employee Bonuses

Good story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today on the Pulaski County Quorum Court: Because of the county’s history of bad budgeting, it can’t afford to give raises to county employees—so instead the county will probably distribute one-time salary bonuses.

As a former member of the Quorum Court (also known as the county legislature), I keep an eye on what it does, in much the same way some people can’t stop themselves from staring as they drive past a car accident. The Pulaski County Quorum Court, like Pulaski County government generally, is notorious for its mismanagement and its self-interested decisions.

Some Quorum Court members, like Allen Kerr, balk at giving themselves bonuses. Kerr argues that county legislators are part-time employees whose prior bad decisions helped cause the county’s financial problems:  “I don’t think we should get an increase when we haven’t earned it by keeping our head above water,” Kerr said.

Others, like Pat Dicker, demand equal treatment, even if they are part-time employees: “I’m an old person. I get Social Security,” she said. In any event, Dicker is a strong advocate of issuing the bonuses. “I want this done in the worst kind of way,” she said.

Given the past performance of the Quorum Court, I am confident that she will get her wish.

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