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.