SALINE COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington has now decided that he won't be retiring at all but will instead run for office again.
STORY: Saline Co. Sheriff changes retirement notice (http://on.kthv.com/174eTEE)
The Saline County Courier released the story Tuesday night, saying that Pennington has confirmed that he will not be retiring in Oct.2013 or in Jan. 2015, but he will seek reelection in Nov. 2014.
The Saline County Quorum Court met Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on Pennington's recent string of announcements.
Sheriff Pennington was a no-show at the meeting, so THV 11 didn't hear anything formal from him, but members of the public had a lot to say; most of them were upset with the sheriff, wanting him out, and the Justices of the Peace agreed.
"He's embarrassed our county. He's embarrassed our quorum court. Things are not right in the sheriff's department, and I am having a resolution fixed up now for a state police investigation into the department," confirmed Buster Warrick, Justice of the Peace.
That resolution is still to come, but the 13 justices of the peace all voted in favor of a resolution basically asking Sheriff Pennington to resign effective immediately. While it's not binding, it sends the message that the quorum court wants Pennington out.
All of this stems from the sheriff's arrest June 29th at Denton's Trotline. He later pleaded guilty to public intoxication and resisting arrest and turned in an initial retirement letter for October, then came back yesterday saying he'd retire in Jan. 2015.
This move baffled many in the public and the quorum court, but at least two citizens at the meeting wanted to give the sheriff another chance.
"I don't think anyone of you all can say that you are perfect. I just think he's done a pretty good job keeping Saline County clean, and all of us make mistakes--at least he stood up for it," said David Brewer.
Another big question is if the quorum court can't remove the sheriff, who can? The county attorney said it lands in the hands of the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court that is based here in Saline County.
The law said someone would need to bring information forward to that office to get the ball rolling, but there is no word yet on who may be doing that.
Saline County Judge Lanny Fite has strongly urged Pennington to resign as Saline County Sheriff effective immediately.
He sent Pennington the following letter:
"On Friday, August 30th you submitted a letter announcing your retirement due to personal reasons effective October 1, 2013. On Monday, September 2nd you rescinded that decision and changed your retirement date to coincide with your current term of office which would end January 1, 2015.
As an elected official you are a public servant and as a public servant you must have public trust. This means that you have a responsibility to Saline County and its citizens to place the public good and ethical principles above private gain. The public deserves and should expect no less from their elected officials.
At this point, your personal problems are preventing you from impartially performing your official duties. Therefore, I strongly urge you to resign as the Sheriff of Saline County effective immediately."