Saline County Judge Lanny Fite has just told me that because of a glitch in the required notification procedure, the Saline Quorum Court won’t be able to vote today on a resolution declaring the office of sheriff vacant on Oct. 1.
As you may recall, the on-off-on retirement of embattled Sheriff Bruce Pennington was announced to be on Friday afternoon. Fite called a Quorum Court meeting this afternoon to declare the office vacant. Though some legal questions exist about a pre-vacancy declaration, he said the court wanted to get action on the record because of the boiling controversy.
Pennington has given multiple interviews expressing his firm intention to resign this time and has also provided the county with a copy of his application to begin drawing state retirement, which he can’t do until he’s actually retired.
Fite wrote me to say there’d been a miscommunication with the printing roo at the local paper, the Saline Courier just called and said they had a miscommunication with the printing room and the resolution was not published in this morning’s paper. Publication in advance of the meeting was required, along with 24-hour notice of the meeting itself, which was given by 2 p.m. yesterday.
The judge said it was too late to call today’s meeting off and he expected the Quorum Court to take action Monday night.
The county’s plan has always been to allow Pennington to serve through Oct. 1, so the delay today doesn’t materially affect that. Pennington is resigning as a result of pressure following his guilty plea to public intoxication and resisting arrest charges filed in a scrap with Benton police at a nightclub. The Quorum Court will choose a successor to serve until the 2014 election.
UPDATE: Judge Fite says the 2 p.m. meeting was held and the Quorum Court rescheduled consideration of the resolution for 7 pm. Monday. Also delayed were ordinances, including one aimed at preventing Pennington from driving a county car by preventing county vehicle use by anyone convicted of an alcohol- or drug-related crime. Presumably the occasional garbage truck driver who’s had a private brush with a misdemeanor violation in this realm has been considered.