Phillips County Coroner Earnest Larry says the county needs an ordinance on the books dealing with disposal of unclaimed remains. Larry presented a copy of such an ordinance currently in effect in Pope County (Russellville) to members of the Phillips County Quorum Court Tuesday night for their review.
“This is not a problem that we have to deal with very frequently but it does come up now and then,” reported Larry. “We may have an ordinance already on the books but I am not aware of it. If we don't, we need some kind of procedure to follow.”
The coroner currently is facing the problem. Larry said he had contacted the family but was told not to call them again.
According to Larry, the usual reason for bodies not being claimed is there is either no next of kin or the surviving family simply cannot afford to pay the funeral expenses.
Under the proposed ordinance, the body would be held six months and then cremated.
JP Clausey Myton suggested Larry to check with the state to make sure Phillips County was in compliance with state regulations. The county will look closer at the proposed ordinance at a future meeting.
“I just want my job back,” James Bell, former Phillips county jailer told the quorum court as he approached the JPs about being reinstated.
Former Sheriff Ronnie White allegedly terminated Bell who was reportedly charged with criminal impersonation, a Class D felony. However, according to Bell, no criminal charges were ever filed against him.
The dismissal occurred approximately a year ago and since that time, Bell says, “I have been off almost a year without pay or without any unemployment checks. I am 66 years old and the breadwinner of my family.”
Bell is seeking back pay for time lost and reinstatement as county.
“I would like the opportunity to work under the new administration,” commented Bell.
Chalk Mitchell, attorney for the county, said he would meet with Bell's attorney to help rectify the situation.
Through the passage of a pair of resolutions, two Phillips County industries received the green light from the quorum court to participate in the state's Tax Back Program.
JPs voted to endorse Norac Additives and BPS participation in the program in which the local government authorizes the refund of local sales and use taxes as provided by the Consolidated Incentive Act of 2003. Both companies have requested benefits accumulating from construction and expansion of their facilities.
BPS and Norac have agreed to furnish the local government all necessary information for compliance.
In other business JPs:
•Appropriated $1,200 for County Clerk Linda White to participate in a training session for a new court automation system to implemented sometime this year
Page 2 of 2 - • Voted to keep the regular monthly meetings of the quorum court at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.