Guide to Elected Offices
Purpose of this publication:
This publication is intended to help potential candidates narrow their focus to a specific office. As you review these offices, consider what your skill set is, how it might relate to the duties of the office, and how your professional and personal constraints might fit the requirements of the position.
This guide covers only partisan offices and omits school boards, city councils, and judicial offices. It is organized from the most local positions to the highest level offices. Thank you to Will Watson of Washington County for creating the format we are using.
County Offices - 2 Year Term
Please visit Arkansas Constable Association
Justice of the Peace
Justices of the Peace (JPs) serve two year terms on the legislative body of the county government (the quorum court) and are responsible for passing county ordinances, levying taxes, and maintaining county services like jails, roads and other infrastructure.
Carroll County currently has 11 JPs. There are 2 Independents, 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats. A simple majority on the quorum court is six members. So, to reclaim a majority, Democrats would have to hold onto the 3 seats they currently hold and pick up three more.
JP District 1 - Held by Independent Jack Deaton, representing Holiday Island
JP District 2 - Held by Republican Charles Olson, representing Packard Springs and part of Johnson Springs
JP District 3 - Held by Democrat, Laurie "Harrie" Farrow, representing Eureka Springs Wards 1,2, and 3, and part of Johnson Springs. She has announced she is running for this office in 2020.
JP District 4 - Held by Independent Marty Johnson, representing Polo, Kings River, and Winona
JP District 5 - Held by Republican Matt Phillips, representing Berryville Ward 1
JP District 6 - Held by Republican Craig Hicks, representing Berryville Ward 2.
JP District 7 - Held by Republican Kellie Stevens-Matt, representing NW/SW Prairie , NE/SE Prairie, and Cabanal.
JP District 8 - Held by Republican Donald McNeely, representing Green Forest Ward 1 and NE/NW Hickory.
JP District 9 - Held by Republican Roger Hall, representing Green Forest Ward 2 and SW/SE Hickory
JP District 10 - Held by Democrat Larry Swofford, representing North/South Yocum, Long Creek and Coin
JP District 11 - Held by Democrat John Howerton, representing Liberty, Carrollton, Omega, Osage, Piney and Dry Fork
County Offices - 4 Year Term
These following offices will all have four-year terms beginning in 2018. Information regarding duties of county officers comes from the Carroll County website co.carroll.ar.us and from the Association of Arkansas Counties.
The county judge is the chief executive officer of county government. They are responsible for authorizing and approving the disbursement of all appropriated county funds, operating the system of county roads, administering ordinances enacted by the quorum court, maintaining custody of county property, managing grants from federal, state, public, and private sources; hiring county employees except those employed by other elected officials of the county; and presiding over the quorum court without a vote, but with the power of veto. The incumbent county judge is Democrat, Sam Barr and annual compensation is apprx. $50,000.
The official duties of the office of county sheriff in Arkansas are divided into three major areas: The sheriff is the chief enforcement officer of the courts, conservator of the peace in the county, and has custody of the county jail.
As chief enforcement officer of the circuit and chancery courts, the sheriff's office, which includes the sheriff and deputies, is charged by constitutional and statutory laws with the execution of summons, enforcement of judgments, orders, injunctions, garnishments, attachments, and the making of arrests on warrants issued by the courts. The sheriff also opens and attends each term of circuit and chancery court, notifies residents selected to jury duty and assists in handling witnesses and prisoners during a given court term.
The sheriff, or a member of that staff, often prepares and assembles evidence of the Prosecuting Attorney's case against defendants charged with both felonies and misdemeanors. The sheriff also transports convicted prisoners and others declared by the court to the various penal and mental institutions of the state.
The sheriff in every county has the custody, rule, and charge of the county jail and all prisoners committed in his county (ACA 12-41-502). The sheriff shall be conservator of the peace in his county (ACA 14-15-501). It shall be the duty of each sheriff to quell and suppress all assaults and batteries, affrays, insurrections, and unlawful assemblies; and he shall apprehend and commit to jail all felons and other offenders (ACA 14-14-1301). The sheriff also works with the various local municipal law enforcement officials or other state and federal officials charged with law enforcement. The current Sheriff is Republican, Jim Ross. The annual compensation is apprx. $50,000.
The county clerk shall serve, unless otherwise designated by county ordinance, as the secretariat of the quorum court. These duties involve keeping a complete permanent record of the proceedings of the Quorum Court including minutes, ordinances, resolutions and an index to provide easy access to the information (ACA 14-14-902 and 14-14-903).
As clerk to the probate court, the clerk files all instruments making them a matter of record in decedent estate cases, and swears in all witnesses in contested estates. The clerk, also in this capacity, maintains all records relative to adoptions and guardianship cases within the county. The county clerk, or the clerk’s designee, serves as the secretary of the Board of Equalization and records the minutes of their meetings (ACA 26-27-307).
The clerk became the official voter registrar with the adoption of Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution in 1966. The clerk maintains an accurate and up-to-date voter registration list within the office and stores the ballot boxes between elections. In addition, the clerk often handles most of the administrative details of each election for the County Board of Election Commissioners that are required by ACA 7-5-401 et seq.
The clerk issues marriage licenses (ACA 9-11-201), and keeps a record of all firms in the county which have incorporated (ACA 4-26-1201). The clerk issues special licenses allowing certain activities (ACA 26-76-102). The County Clerk is Republican, Connie Doss, and her annual compensation is apprx. $43,000.
County Circuit Clerk
The circuit clerk is the clerk of the circuit court consisting of criminal and domestic relations, civil court, and juvenile court and usually acts as the ex-officio recorder of the county. The administrative duties of the circuit clerk are to maintain a record of all proceedings of the circuit courts and to prepare the dockets for these courts (ACA 16-20-102). The circuit clerk prepares summons, warrants, orders, judgments, and injunctions authorized by the circuit court for delivery by the county sheriff. The circuit clerk also maintains a file of all cases pending in either court, as well as a record of all past court cases and their disposition (ACA 16-20-303 and 16-20- 304). In addition, the circuit clerk acts as a secretary to the jury commission by keeping a list of all prospective jurors (ACA 16-32-105).
The circuit clerk is also the ex-officio county recorder; and is responsible for recording deeds, mortgages, liens, and surety bonds, and many other orders and instruments which involve property within the county (ACA 14-15-402). The circuit clerk maintains a record of many miscellaneous items, and files certain licenses. The circuit clerk also swears in all notaries public and files regulations of state agencies which license trade or professional workers. The County Circuit Clerk is Democrat Ramona Wilson ad her annual compensation is apprx. $43,000.
Arkansas county assessors’ offices are responsible for discovering, valuing and listing property for tax purposes. Each of these responsibilities are challenging. Discovering newly constructed buildings, while not too much of a challenge in cities with building permits, can be very difficult and expensive in rural areas. Valuing property is a profession that is regulated by state and federal law, and though property assessment appraisers are exempted from these regulations, they are expected to live up to the same standards as other appraisers. Listing property is building a record about a property - its physical makeup, its ownership, its taxable status, and all the changes that may occur to any of these. County assessors’ budgets are funded by all taxing units in a county. Each taxing unit contributes a share equal to its percentage of total property taxes collected in a county.
The duty of the county assessor is to appraise and assess all real property between the first Monday of January and the first of July, and all personal property between the first Monday in January and the thirty-first of May. The County Assessor is Democrat Jeannie Davidson and her annual compensation is $43,000.
County Tax Collector
The county collector is the collector of taxes for the county and collects municipal, county, school and improvement district taxes. The collector is responsible for collecting all property taxes from the first day of March to the tenth day of October during the calendar year after they are assessed. By statute, the collector is required to turn over all tax revenue to the treasurer at least once a month. Taxpayers may pay their taxes in installments.
Installment Payments are due by the 3rd Monday in April, 3rd Monday in July and balance by October 15th. Utility company installments are due by the 3rd Monday in April, 2nd Monday in June and balance by October 15th. Mortgage Companies who are escrowing funds for the property owners are required to remit payment within 60 days. (ACA 26-35-101).
Any real or personal property taxes not paid by the tenth day of October are considered delinquent and the collector extends a 10% penalty against the taxpayer (ACA 26-36-201). Before December 1st of each year, the collector of taxes shall prepare a list of delinquent personal property taxes and deliver a copy of the list to a legal newspaper in the county. Within seven (7) days thereafter, the newspaper shall publish the list. If there is no newspaper in the county or district, the publication shall be in the 3 nearest newspaper having a general circulation in the county or districts for which the list is being published. (ACA 26-36-203). Our county has designated the collector as the office responsible for the collection of delinquent Real Estate taxes. The County Tax Collector is Democrat Kay Phillips Brown and her annual compensation is apprx. $43,000.
The county treasurer is the disbursement officer of the county, and is the unofficial or quasi comptroller. A few counties do have a county comptroller. The treasurer is responsible for the custody and disbursement of all county funds and school district funds. The treasurer, therefore, receives county tax collections, county turnback funds, federal matching funds, state aid to school district funds and revenues from various other sources. The treasurer, after receiving this revenue, distributes the money to the various taxing units of the county. The county treasurer signs checks, prepared and signed by the county clerk indicating that the expenditure has been authorized by the county court, to pay employees and creditors of the county. A copy of each check serves as a warrant and is filed in the county financial records.
The treasurer must keep an accurate and detailed account of all receipts and disbursements of the county (ACA 14-15-807). The treasurer is required to make a monthly financial report to the quorum court on the fiscal condition of the county (ACA 14-20-105).
The county treasurer is allowed a two percent commission on all funds coming to his/her office. This commission is allowed on all funds including county and school district funds (except revolving loan, equalizing, vocational education funds and proceeds of bond sales and insurance claims and other nonrevenue receipts) that the treasurer receives. (ACA 21-6-302) Also, the county treasurer is allowed a smaller commission (less than 2%) from school districts that employ their own treasurer. (ACA 6-20-221) The 2% commission is not kept by the treasurer but is intended to create a source of revenue accruing to the office from which the salary or operation of the office could be paid. Any excess treasurer's commissions shall be redistributed to the various taxing units. The County Treasurer is Republican, Makita Williams.
The county coroner is charged with the responsibility of determining the cause of death for those deaths properly the responsibility of the coroner. Although the duties of the county coroner are, necessarily, intermittent, the office is a full-time position. The coroner is tasked with the investigation of deaths occurring within the county 24hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days per year. At any time the coroner is required to investigate deaths. When a death is reported to the coroner, he shall conduct an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of an individual and gather and review background information, including but not limited to, medical information and any other information which may be helpful in determining the cause and manner of death. (ACA 14-15-301). These duties are mandated to be completed in very short time frames. The County Coroner is Democrat Jim Capps and his annual compensation is apprx. $7,000.
State House of Representatives
House District 97
This large, multi-county district is comprised of northeastern Washington County, including Brush Creek, Sonora, and Goshen, as well as the northwestern corner of Madison County (including Hindsville), and most of Carroll County (including Berryville, Eureka Springs, and Holiday Island). Republican, Harlan Breaux won the seat in 2018. Democrat, Suzie Bell, has announced her run for this office in 2020 election.
House District 98
This district includes portions of Boone and Carroll Counties. It is held by Republican, Ron McNair.
House District 83
This district includes portions of Boone, Carroll, Newton, Pope and Searcy Counties. Republican, J. Donald Ragland was elected to this office in 2018 Special Primary Election.
Senate District 5
Is a very large district that contains rural portions of south Washington County, including Winslow. Its largest centers of population are Berryville, Eureka Springs, Huntsville, Alma, Mulberry, and Lavaca. The district includes portions of Carroll, Madison, Washington, Franklin, Crawford, and Sebastian Counties. Republican, Bob Ballinger won the seat in 2018
Senate District 16
Five counties fall in this large district, Pope, Boone, Carroll, Van Buren and Newton. It is strategically placed in the center of Arkansas. The largest centers of population are in two metropolitan cities, Russellville and a portion of Harrison. The Senate seat was filled by Republican, Breanne Davis in 2018 special election.
Republican, Asa Hutchinson was re-elected in 2018.
Republican, Tim Griffin was re-elected in 2018.
Secretary of State
Republican, John Thurston was elected in 2018.
US House of Representatives
Carroll County is part of the 3rd Congressional District. The incumbent is 4th term Republican Steve Womack of Rogers. Democrat, Celeste Williams, has anounced her candidacy for this office in the 2020 election.
Arkansas Republican Senators, Tom Cotton and John Boozman, are up for re-election in 2020. Democrat, Joshua Mahony, has announced his candidacy for the seat held by Tom Cotton in the 2020 election.