By RICHARD DUKE

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

Nearly three months after Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin was re-elected to his position, he has said he will resign and accept the position of Director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

His absence will leave the court with a hole to fill, and it will have that opportunity during a special meeting Thursday, Jan. 31.

Scroggin has called the meeting to announce his resignation and to allow the court to appoint a replacement who would serve out his remaining term. In the swirl of the announcement made by the governor, two names have emerged as possible replacements for Scroggin: Allen Dodson and Mark Vaught.

Dodson was recently hired by Scroggin, a Democrat, to be the county attorney and has filled that role for the past seven months. He said he would consider taking on the role of county judge if the court saw fit to appoint him.

"I would selfishly prefer that Preston remain in his current position," Dodson said. "But I would never begrudge him taking advantage of this great opportunity."

Dodson said he wants to see the process go smoothly on Thursday, no matter who is selected.

"The people should be confident that the business of Faulkner County will continue to be done in an efficient manner," he said.

Vaught, who finished serving as a member of the Conway City Council in 2012, ran unsuccessfully for the position of County Clerk in November as a Republican, losing to incumbent Melinda Reynolds. He also said he would consider filling in for the remainder of Scroggin’s term.

"I have been approached by several members of the community asking if I would accept the position if appointed by the quorum court," Vaught said. "I told them I would be honored to serve the remainder of Judge Scroggin’s term and not be interested in running for the position in the future."

Whoever is appointed to the position will be unable to run for the seat in the next election, which would be November 2014. According to Dodson, there is no wiggle room on that provision.

The court will have two resolutions in front of them Thursday. The first will be to declare a vacancy, and the second will be to vote for a new county judge. The court is split with seven Republicans and six Democrats. Scroggin defeated Republican Marvin Lessmann in the General Election.

JP Steve Goode said he hoped the process would be smooth during the meeting.

"Hopefully we can get this taken care of for the people of Faulkner County pretty quick," he said. "We will make the selection. We will choose amongst the 13 of us who it will be according to the way I understand the law."

Dodson said in the short time he had been involved with the county, he has been impressed with Scroggin.

"He has been invaluable to this county, and he will do great things at the state level," he said.

Vaught echoed those sentiments, saying Scroggin is "very qualified for (the position at the ARLPC.)"

"I want to thank Preston for his service to the citizens of Faulkner County and offer congratulations on his appointment."