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County prepared to pay $82,000 to settle suit


Quorum Court making moves to end employees’ dispute over wages

Crittenden County Attorney Joe Rogers told Quorum Court Justices Tuesday the court has yet to rule on a wage and hour lawsuit settlement but justices went ahead and voted to authorize payment to the plaintiffs.

The settlement which amounted to over $82,000 involves former Crittenden County jail employees over disputed hours they claimed they worked and weren’t fully compensated. From previous meetings regarding the lawsuit, Rogers explained the problem centered around how county staff “rounded off” hours worked. Since then, and because of the litigation, the county recently purchased an entirely new computerized payroll system that calculates employee time to the exact minute and eliminates “rounding.”

In other business:

• County Judge Woody Wheeless told justices about what he called a serious moisture problem in the courthouse addition that is causing potentially harmful mold and other issues.

Wheeless said there has been moisture coming from the courthouse basement and moisture in between the brick on the outside.

“This has been an ongoing issue that is making this section of the courthouse like a rain forest,” Wheeless said. The judge told justices he has had professionals experienced in dealing with historic buildings examine the problem and as of yet they have been unable to come up with a solution.

“I just don’t know the answer,” Wheeless said in frustration.

Justices discussed the problem is probably being caused by the high water table and the excessive rainfall over the last several weeks.

• Justices also heard a plea from Carolyn Anthony with the Wonder City Boys and Girls Club in West Memphis, for financial assistance in acquiring hygiene related items for disadvantaged female students in the junior and senior high schools.

Anthony said there is a lot done to provide needy students with backpacks and other school materials but there is no consideration given to the hygiene needs of female students.

With a planned budget of between $4,000 and $5,000 Anthony says it would be possible to put together packages containing various hygiene products that will last for about a week or more. They would be given out for free.

“Often times this is an issue that can cause a young female student to be bullied and has been attributed to suicide in some cases,” Anthony told justices.

Justice Vickie Robertson suggested the request be given to the court’s finance committee for serious funding consideration.

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