Two requests for new county employee positions were approved by Crawford County justices of the peace during a personnel committee meeting Monday night.
JPs approved six part-time positions to be created for the Crawford County Road and Highway Department for seasonal work with salary and benefits totaling $17,208.11.
Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap made the request.
Gilstrap noted that in years when the county has faced a disaster such as flooding, workers provided and paid by the Western Arkansas Employment Development Agency were used, but the county faced no such disaster this year and was short handed during the busy summer months.
“When we have a disaster, we can get WAEDA employees to help out during the busy summer months, but when we don’t, we just don’t have enough people to handle the work load during the busiest and hardest times,” Gilstrap said.
Creating the positions gives the road department the option of hiring crew if needed, Gilstrap said.
A request from Circuit Court Judge Mike Medlock for a clerk to help handle the court’s increased criminal case load also was approved by JPs.
Medlock had made a previous request for the position that was approved by the personnel and budget committee, but the measure failed to pass in quorum court.
JP Elaina Damante suggested that the personnel committee not approve the position unless they also planned to approve it in the budget committee.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - if you approve it here, please approve it in budget,” Damante said. “Because I think it’s very unfair to our elected officials to tell them, ‘here’s your position, but you can’t use it’ because there’s no money budgeted for it.”
JP Debbie Atwell disagreed, stating that while they may agree the position is needed, it would be better to decide whether to fund it during the 2018 budgeting process.
Crawford County Attorney Jacob Howell clarified that as long as the position is not placed on an ordinance that fails to pass quorum court, JPs could create the position but wait to fund it until a later date.