Official date set for Perez grievance hearing


Drew County Attorney, Cliff Gibson, contacted Grievance Committee Chairman, Frank Appleberry, to request a special meeting of the Grievance Committee be held on Monday, September 11.
The special meeting was called to address a situation that arose after last week's committee meeting.
The circumstance that led to this special meeting was that after the original committee meeting, committee member Orlando Jones sent out a text stating that he would like to recant his vote in favor of allowing Jack Talbot, an attorney from Pine Bluff, to hear the case, make findings based on the testimonies and evidence presented, and give his recommendation to the committee members. Jones expressed some concerns, as Talbot was recommended by Gibson who will be representing the county in this hearing.
"It's nothing personal against Mr. Talbot or Mr. Gibson," Jones said. "I think we need to do everything to make sure that this is fair to both sides."
Gibson stated that Jones could not recant his vote because it was given during an open meeting, placing it on the record, which means it has to stand as it is.
"Mr. Jones can, in my opinion, ask the committee to reconsider its action in the appointment of Mr. Talbot," Gibson stated. "I think his request to take back his vote should be treated as a request to reconsider by this committee."
"This committee does have another option," Gibson added. "That option is for the committee members themselves to sit on the grievance hearing. They would hear all evidence, and make the final advisory recommendation to Sheriff Nichols. This would eliminate any questions of fair versus not fair, or right versus wrongdoing by any individual."
Gibson said that at this point, this is probably the best course of action, as it is the only one that will allow Deputy Jerome Perez to have this hearing held in a timely manner. Trying to find someone else to appoint would only further delay the hearing and subsequent decision.
Gibson said that with the committee sitting on the hearing, it would allow notice of the hearing to be posted promptly, and all who needed to be informed would have plenty of time to be notified.
Appleberry called for a vote, and the committee members voted unanimously to sit on the hearing and proceed in the fastest manner possible.
The hearing has been set for 9 a.m. on Monday, September 18, in the main courtroom in the Drew County Court House.