The Faulkner County Election Commission (FCEC) called an emergency meeting for 3 p.m. Friday to discuss a complaint regarding Andy Shock’s filing for the District 10 seat on the quorum court.
Shelley Carpenter, who is the daughter of Shock's would-be opponent Johnny Brady, filed the complaint Wednesday arguing that it “is illegal to serve on the parole board and the [quorum] court at the same time.”
Shock, who resigned as Faulkner County Sheriff in August 2015 when Gov. Asa Hutchinson first appointed him to the parole board, was reappointed to the board last month.
Carpenter attached a case file from 1963, Starnes v. Sadler, with the complaint.
County Attorney David Hogue, who said he will explain his understanding of that case and relevant amendments in greater detail Friday, gave the Log Cabin Democrat an overview on Thursday.
Hogue said that Starnes v. Sadler was only slightly relevant to Carpenter’s complaint.
“That case makes it clear that the parole board is a civil office, but that’s all Sterns [v. Sadler] does for us,” he said. “That case came down under the prior law … Arkansas Constitution Article 5, Section 10.”
In 2016, Arkansas adopted Amendment 95, which states: “A person elected or appointed to any of the following county offices shall not, during the term for which he or she has been elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office in this state …”
One of the 10 county offices listed is Justice of the Peace, which would seem to support Carpenter’s complaint. However, Hogue points out that wording and order are important.
The legislature didn’t explicitly say a person couldn’t hold both offices at the same time, which Hogue said is language used in several instances but not in this case.
In other words, if Shock had been elected as a JP before being appointed to the parole board, he would have had to choose, just as he did when he stepped down as sheriff in 2015.
Because Shock was a parole board member first and then filed to run for county office, Hogue said he thinks the law doesn’t prohibit it.
Election Commission Chair Paul Foster said in an email that was sent to election officials and JP Brady, who is seeking re-election to the seat Shock filed for, that the commission will vote on a recommendation Friday.
“I must remind all parties concerned the FCEC is not a judicial organization and can only state an opinion of the law and/or recommend further action,” Foster wrote.
Shock, in an email, responded to the Log Cabin's request for comment: "I am aware that Johnny Brady’s daughter filed a complaint. I have already looked into the legalities prior to filing. If it weren’t legal, I wouldn’t have filed," he wrote in part.
The meeting, which will be in Courtroom A of the Faulkner County Courthouse, is open to the public.
The Log Cabin Democrat will report on updates as they become available.