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February 23, 2018
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Gleason resigns from tax collector’s office

Quorum Court approves motion to issue back pay

By Madeleine Leroux
This article was published January 9, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

After months of disputes between the Union County Tax Collector’s Office and the Quorum Court, Conor Gleason submitted his resignation Monday.

The Quorum Court met for a special meeting Monday afternoon, almost immediately going into executive session with Gleason, executive administrator in the tax collector’s office. Gleason eventually left the executive session, telling a News-Times staff member that he submitted his resignation, effective at 5 p.m that day.

In a statement given to the News-Times, Gleason said “I have offered my resignation to quell the threats and contemptable legal actions that would be levied against the Tax Collector’s Office and my colleagues, but I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the taxpayers of Union County and am proud of our accomplishments in the Union County Tax Collector’s Office.”

“The erroneous and defamatory statements made by and among our County Judge (Mike Loftin), a few of his sycophants on the Quorum Court and other morally corrupt Officials in the Union County Courthouse, are nothing more than elaborations and fabrications, twisted to appeal to an audience that is incapable of thinking objectively,” Gleason said in the statement.

The issue began in September, when the Quorum Court approved Ordinance 1457 requiring all county employees and officials to submit to a criminal background check and sign written consent forms. After it became clear that at least one employee had failed to comply, the court approved a new resolution to withhold pay from those who do not consent to the check.

Tax Collector Paula Beard and Gleason had objected to the original ordinance on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. They also objected to Loftin receiving all the background checks.

Gleason failed to turn in his background check form by the specified date and was removed from the payroll. He eventually filled out the required form and, at the end of November, it was submitted to Loftin, who has said a committee will review the checks and discuss the reports with elected officials in each office.

In a meeting last month, court members were told that Gleason would not be covered by the county’s liability insurance because of a prior embezzlement charge and Beard told members she would not fire Gleason. Gleason has previously said that more than seven years ago, he was charged with offenses, which he said were later dropped and have been expunged from his record.

After voting 6-4 not to issue back pay to Gleason at that time, the court then voted 8-2 to explore and take legal action to force Beard to remove Gleason from her office.

But with Gleason submitting his resignation, the Quorum Court changed its earlier vote and unanimously approved a motion Monday to pay Gleason back pay. All members supported the motion except Ross Burton, who was not present at Monday’s meeting.

“We will get his checks ready today,” County Judge Mike Loftin said after the vote Monday.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 870-862-6611 or mleroux@eldoradonews.com.

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