Tom Tatum

Attorney General of Arkansas — Opinion

STEVE CLARK, Attorney General

Honorable Tom Tatum Prosecuting Attorney 15th Judicial District Danville, Arkansas 72833

RE: Quorum Court Per Diem Compensation

Dear Mr. Tatum:

This office has received your inquiry regarding whether a Quorum Court member who fails to attend a regular monthly Quorum Court meeting because of an obligation to the Arkansas National Guard should nevertheless be paid per diem.

There is no provision of the Arkansas statutes which would require payment of such expenses under the described circumstances.

Arkansas Statute Annotated 17-4202 provides as follows:

17-4202. Compensation of township officers. —

(1) Justices of the Peace Serving as Members of a Quorum Court.

(a) Per Diem Compensation. The per diem compensation for justices attending any official, regular, special or committee meeting of a Quorum Court shall be fixed by ordinance in each of the several counties; provided, however, that the per diem compensation of the Justices during any one (1) calendar year shall not exceed two thousand four hundred dollars ($2,400.00) in counties having a population of less than 200,000, and shall not exceed three thousand six hundred dollars ($3,600.00) in counties having a population of 200,000 or more.
(b) Per Diem Compensation Defined. Per Diem compensation is hereby defined as a per calendar day allowance, exclusive of allowable expenses, which shall be paid a Justice for attending meetings of the Quorum Court. Such compensation shall be based on attending a meeting or meetings of a Quorum Court during any single calendar day without regard to the duration of such meeting or meetings.
(2) Justices of the Peace Serving in Judicial Capacity. The compensation of all Justices of the Peace serving in a judicial capacity shall be fixed by ordinance of the Quorum Court in each of the several counties provided, however that such basis of compensation shall not computed on a percentum of the dollar amount of fines levied in (by) such Justice of Peace.
(3) No Justice of the Peace shall receive compensation as a county employee or deputy, nor shall any justice receive compensation or expenses from funds appropriated by the Quorum Court for any services performed within the county, other than as provided by this Act.
(4) Constables. The compensation of all Constables serving in any official capacity established by law shall be fixed by ordinance of the Quorum Court in each of the several counties. (Acts 1977, No. 742, Ch. 7, 109, p. -; 1979, No. 151, 2, p.-).

Because the statute clearly calls for actual attendance, and because there is no provision of the Arkansas statutes which would require payment of such expenses under the described circumstances, no per diem compensation is payable to a Quorum Court member who fails to attend a regular Quorum Court meeting because of an obligation to the Arkansas National Guard.

The foregoing opinion, which I hereby approve, was prepared by Assistant Attorney General James W. Cullum.