Sunday, October 31, 2010

Graft or Greed?

I am always amazed at the gall of some public officials lining their own pockets with public tax dollars. Some double dip on the city payroll, and some double dip from the state with fake retirements. This is all legal because aldermen, JPs, and state legislators don't have the courage to rock the boat and stop the looting of the public fisc by petty grifters. All legal but no shame.

Washington County Circuit Clerk Bette Stamps (D) is paid a salary of more than $80,000, which should be adequate compensation for public service. However, state law allows (but does not require) collection of additional fees for job related duties during foreclosure sales. Stamps pocketed $104,458 in fees, kept them for her personal benefit. That's so wrong. Stamps is unopposed for reelection, so expect this shady practice to continue for another two years. The state legislature and the quorum court have done nothing to stop it, and the circuit judges turn a blind eye to the practices of their clerk.

Stamps should resign, but she won't. Stamps should pay back the money into the county general fund, but she won't. Stamps should stop taking the money and deposit future fees in the county general fund, but she won't. Stamps should be defeated in 2012, and she will.

Pat O'Brien (D), who is the County Clerk and Circuit Clerk in Pulaski County, does not take the fees from foreclosures. O'Brien is running for Secretary of State this year, and his opponent is the King of Self-Serving Expense Accounts, Republican State Rep. Mark Martin. Rep. Martin bilks the state for more travel expenses than any other state legislator in northwestern Arkansas, but he doesn't stop there. According to official documents, Martin has been paying $1,300 a month in taxpayer fund for an office in Benton County, which is miles away from his district and his home in Prairie Grove. He claims he is using it as a legislative office, because the location is much more convenient. For whom?

Let's dump those who seek undue enrichment. Find an honest opponent for Circuit Clerk Stamps and vote her out in two years. Stop Mark Martin on Tuesday, before he gets his hands into the larger till at the state capitol, and elect Pat O'Brien as Secretary of State.


  1. I agree that Stamps and Martin should be involuntarily retired by the voters. I hope someone will eventually provide a list of all the city and county officials and public employees who are provided vehicles for personal use and what type of vehicle they are sporting around at taxpayer expense. My guess is that this freebie is one that goes to those with the higher salaries. This must stop. Will the city councils and quorum court members do nothing to protect the treasury from freeloaders in these lean times? Do they feel no fiduciary responsibility to cut the fat from the budgets? Apparently not.

  2. Mark Martin is an embarrassment to the Republican Party and our state, a weird combination of arrogance and ignorance. We are not all that bad.

  3. The Democratic Party officials have been strangely silent about Bette Stamps and her personal enrichment scheme. Is her behavior acceptable when Mark Martin's is not? What's the difference morally?

  4. Stamps should be defeated in 2012, and she will.

    Since Betty Stamps is well past retirement age she likely will retire. Her hubby has already retired.

    Pat O'Brien knew he was running for higher office and that's why he didn't take the money the law officially set up as extra fees for Circuit Clerks to do extra work. Plus, Little Rock had fewer sheriff's sales of foreclosed property than Washington County.
    Chickenopolis was the epicenter for mortgage meltdowns in Arkansas.

    For anyone with more than a high school education to think the entire hunk of money went to Stamps is to call her superwoman. Assistants and other help were hired and paid from the $104,500.

    When the law was passed one tenth of one percent didn't mean much until the Disaster Monkey came along and bubbled things up only to see the inevitable happen..the bursting of the bubble and the need to auction off thousands of homes at back to normal prices.


  5. Is her behavior acceptable when Mark Martin's is not? What's the difference morally?
    Likewise for the Benton County Circuit Clerk who did well during the Bushbubble aftermath.

    Martin's behavior should and has (I believe) generate ethics complaints. He's obviously following a practice set by former state Senator Jim Holt of milking the system via expense vouchers. For Holt it was his highest paying job ever.

    Compare Martin's expense vouchers to those of Fayetteville Rep Lindsley Smith. You will find that Smith claimed about one-half as much per diem expense as Martin even though they live about 20 miles apart.


  6. The greed of Bette Stamps was one factor in the defeat of her fellow Democrat county official, Tax Assessor Lee Ann Kizzar. Every Democrat officeholder in the court house will pay for this travesty in 2012 -- unless they speak out and put a stop to this egregious practice.