A former member of the Arkansas General Assembly and current police chief in Southeast Arkansas has been named the new Jefferson County election coordinator.
Jefferson County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV selected Efrem Elliott, who served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives representing District 11 from 2011 to 2013 and ran unsuccessfully for the House District 16 seat, which is held by Representative Ken Ferguson, in the 2014 Democratic primary. He is currently chief of police at Grady.
Elliott replaces Will Fox, who Wilkins named coordinator before the Go Forward Pine Bluff special tax election, and who was rejected by two members of the commission, Chairman Mike Adam and Secretary Stu Soffer.
That led Wilkins to seek legal action. In a court order Aug. 31, Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt Jr., ruled that the commission must do their job, and while they didn't have to work with Fox, they could not deny him access to the information needed to conduct elections or access to any county-owned property, including the election commission office on Main Street. Earlier this week, Elliott said he was eager to work with the commission and believed he would have no problem getting along with Adam and Soffer to ensure that elections were conducted in a fair and proper manner.
In addition to serving in the legislature, Elliott also worked on the staff of former Fourth District Congressman Mike Ross, was a police officer at Pine Bluff and chief of police at Altheimer. He also worked as intake officer and later as director of security for the Sixth Division (Juvenile) of Circuit Court. He also was a part of the staff for the Arkansas Office of Law Enforcement Standards and the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.
In a letter offering Elliott the position, Wilkins said Elliott's work for that commission will benefit him as election coordinator because a part of his duties will be “to assist the Election Commission with its duty to conduct elections by both the letter and spirit of the law.”
Wilkins also said in the letter that Elliott's experience in the legislature, “where you had the opportunity to see, hear and participate in the formulation of Arkansas Election Law is particularly significant. It provides the rationale and imperative for providing the public with fair and transparent elections that engender the public's confidence.”
The letter also said that even before he applied for the job, Elliott spent a significant amount of time with Fox, where he received training so that he could serve as a volunteer if needed.
“Truly this was above and beyond the call of duty but it also indicated to me that you would have a high level of commitment to the job if you were hired,” Wilkins said in the letter.