Monday, August 3, 2009
No Bid Bully Exposed Again
I can't get too excited about Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards, because she doesn't seem to do much or have the political courage necessary to provide any real leadership. That is still a vast improvement over the arrogance and bad judgment of former County Judge Jerry Hunton. Forcing him to retire is the greatest accomplishment of Judge Edwards thus far, and that might be enough.
One only need to examine the ambulance service fiasco to realize that we are still suffering the bad effects of Jerry Hunton's self-dealing and political bullying by threatening to break every contract for cooperation with the City of Fayetteville if it didn't support and subsidize the no-bid service for rural areas in the county. Or threatening eminent domain to condemn and tear down older homes to make a parking lot. Then there was the no-bid contract to build a private road in Benton County for a well-connected smiley-face group that could well afford to pay for their own driveway.
Now, even the Northwest Arkansas Times understands what was perhaps the biggest blunder of Hunton's entire career in government -- cutting deals for unconstitutional no-bid deals to buy a new building from Tom Terminello, demolish and rebuild a parking deck at the courthouse, and restore the interior of the historic 1907 courthouse. It was too late to stop the building purchase, but local attorney Jim Rose filed and settled a lawsuit against the county and saved the taxpayers at least $2.6 million. The education of County Attorney George Butler, who couldn't read the plain language of the Arkansas Constitution, and the reminder of why we're lucky to be rid of bully boy Jerry Hunton, priceless.