Road Dept: Former Supervisor Misused County Equipment In The Past

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After the arrest of three Benton County Road Department supervisors new details emerge about the past of Former Road Dept. Superintendent.

An employee file shows that former Benton County Road Department Superintendent Jack Brown was hired in 2007 and almost a year later was suspended for three days and then fired for “running county equipment at his place.”

Brown was rehired that same year.

Brown was arrested Saturday (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 Scott Stober, the county public works administrator and road director.

Stober has since lost his job because of his arrest in the case. Brown has since been released from the Benton County Jail on bond.

The arrest affidavit also states that Brown admitted to using three county employees to plant 500 pine trees at his home.

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.

“We are going to continue to look into the invoicing and legislative audit is going to come in and take a look at the books to so unless something else comes that we don`t know about I think it`s over,” said Benton County Judge Bob Clinard.

Clinard was not the county's top official in 2007 when Brown was fired and re-hired, but Clinard said the county is putting better checks and balances in place.

Brown faces a felony accomplice to theft charge for delivering the cash payments to Stober, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The affidavit said officers believe scrap metal, worth several thousand dollars, was bought by RIMCO with cash during the previous few months.

“We’ve already started practices in place to have a better system in place of improving invoices and who approves them, who signs for them so that possibly we can avoid this in the future,” said Clinard.

The Benton County Quorum Court this week unanimously voted to reorganize the road department by cutting about 10 positions, leaving the department with 70 employees.

"Reduce the number of head count in the department and then take the remaining members and do a little bit if a salary increase for them for moral purposes and at the same time give some money back to the county general fund," said Barry Moehring, Benton County Quorum Court, Justice of the Peace District 15.

County Construction Superintendent Grant McCracken was also arrested Saturday on suspicion of misdemeanor accomplice to theft because of his alleged involvement in the corruption case, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

McCracken was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest.

Clinard said he has no tolerance for wrongdoing, but that will be stressed again among county employees.

“If you misuse county property, or county equipment or county invoicing you will be terminated,” added Clinard.

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