Saline Sheriff Bruce Pennington says he'll run for re-election; Quorum Court calls for his resignation | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Saline Sheriff Bruce Pennington says he'll run for re-election; Quorum Court calls for his resignation

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

click to enlarge READY TO RUN: Sheriff Pennington.
  • READY TO RUN: Sheriff Pennington.
The saga of Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington has turned into a sad spectacle. Or, who knows? Maybe it will be a personal triumph.

I reported last night that the sheriff had rescinded an earlier letter to retire/resign Oct. 1 in favor of serving out his term, which runs through 2014.

But the Benton Courier now reports that Pennington said this morning that he will not retire at all, but seek election to another term in 2014. As yet, no other candidates have announced. 

The Saline Quorum Court is to meet in "emergency" session tonight to pass a resolution urging Pennington to resign. But all they can do is urge. The QC proposes; Pennington disposes.

This is going to step up the whisper campaign about Pennington's behavior, with odd happenings not restricted to the night he was arrested for being drunk and resisting arrest outside a nightspot in Benton. He turned up, for example, to help a 30-year-old Lonsdale woman who said she used to work for the sheriff when she was arguing with her ex-husband Aug. 22 over custody of their child. The Benton police were called about the dispute and filed a report.

County Judge Lanny Fite has written Pennington urging him to resign. He says personal issues are interfering with his public job.

UPDATE: The Saline Quorum Court held its meeting and voted unanimously for the resolution urging Pennington to resign. He didn't appear. The vote followed 30 minutes of impassioned criticism from residents — about having a lawbreaker as sheriff; about fears that Pennington was a menace on the streets if still drinking; about avenues to oust him from office. There were suggestions to seek an attorney general's opinion, to seek a State Police investigation, to cripple the sheriff's budget, to take his car away. One resident said she believed what Pennington had done constituted an "infamous crime," though Supreme Court rulings to date haven't removed anybody for similar offense. Generally, at least theft is required. One speaker said it was enough Pennington had "acted a fool."

AND A STRAY THOUGHT: How, you might ask, can Pennington dream of mustering any public support for staying in office? What does he have to offer? Well, he could bring the county immense grief by helping plaintiffs in legal action over brutality and otherwise deplorable happenings at the Saline County Jail. Just a thought.

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