Second Jefferson County
Clerk Quits Amid State Probe
Jefferson County, Arkansas -- Circuit
Clerk Annette Branch has left her job in the middle of a state
police investigation into unauthorized withdrawals from a county fund.
Branch, who took office Jan. 1, resigned August 17 after her attorney
delivered a resignation letter to Jefferson County Judge Mike Holcomb.
Holcomb says Branch withdrew funds from the county without
authorization. Holcomb did not specify how much money was improperly
withdrawn, but he said Branch repaid the money, according to a recent
report by KATV News.
Branch is the second Jefferson County circuit clerk in 29 months to
resign after allegations of fiscal mismanagement.
Former Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Jeanette Hence resigned in April
2005 after her arrest on a misdemeanor charge of attempting to commit
tampering with a public record. She was accused of misspending more
than $14,000. That charge stemmed from an Arkansas Legislative Audit
Division report accusing Hence of using more than $ 14, 077 in county
funds to service her personal car, adorn her house and church with
furniture, and pay Rotary Club dues and credit-card fees.
Jefferson County Quorum Court appointed Deputy Clerk Flora Cook to
serve as circuit clerk in Branch’s absence. Cook was also appointed to
the job after Hence resigned in 2005.
Holcomb applauded county employees who first brought attention to the
situation. He said the employees acted as a safety net for the county
by noticing discrepancies in the county fund and addressing the
“ The system worked,” Holcomb told reporters with the
“The employees noticed something that was wrong and responded.
Jefferson County didn’t do anything wrong. One person in Jefferson
County made a bad decision, and it’s been corrected,” he said.
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