Benton County Road Supervisor’s Firing Upheld By Judge
A Benton County Road Department supervisor arrested last month in a corruption case will not get his job back, the county judge decided Tuesday.
Benton County Judge Bob Clinard found that road construction superintendent Grant McCracken was involved enough in the corruption scheme to warrant his firing from the department.
McCracken was fired Aug. 15 after police said he helped two other road department supervisors steal money from the county for personal use. McCracken countered that he did not play an active role in the theft and reported it a few weeks later, according to Benton County officials.
“Though apparently not for his own financial benefit, Grant was involved with theft of county funds, a crime for which he has been arrested. When I was a businessman, if someone had done something like this with respect to my business, I would have taken this same action,” Clinard states in his decision. “Grant’s reporting of the theft three weeks after he knew about it and participated in it is not satisfactory to me, particularly in light of the fact that at the time of these events, he was one of the top three persons at the Road Department.”
After McCracken appealed his firing, the Benton County Grievance Council found last week that the former road department worker had been treated differently in the investigation from others in the case. The council’s role is advisory, and the decision on whether to use the information to reinstate McCracken was left with Clinard, who declined to reinstate him.
Two Benton County road officials, Public Works and Road Director Scott Stober and Road Superintendent Jack Brown, resigned in the investigation shortly after being arrested.
Brown was arrested Aug. 10 on suspicion of theft and other charges after authorities said he admitted to collecting cash envelopes for scrap metal from Rogers Iron and Metal (RIMCO) for Stober. Brown has since been released from the Benton County Jail on bond. Brown faces a felony accomplice-to-theft charge on suspicion that he delivered cash payments from RIMCO to Stober, according to an arrest affidavit.
Brown was given a choice to resign or be fired, according to county officials. He chose to resign later in the day.
Stober was arrested July 31 on suspicion of theft after allegedly using about $3,000 in county money on improvements to his personal pickup truck and on materials to build a deck for his house. He was released the next day on $2,500 bond.
Stober later resigned.
McCracken was also arrested Aug. 10 on suspicion of misdemeanor accomplice to theft.
An affidavit states McCracken bought lumber with county money for a deck at Stober’s home and helped Stober build it.
McCracken was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest. He was later fired.
In the termination letter, Clinard states McCracken was being fired even though he was “forthcoming” with law enforcement officials during the investigation.