Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC)
The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) is an organization that allows county and district elected officials to meet, collaborate, and engage in continuing education. The organization aims to “provide a single source of cooperative support and information for all counties and county and district officials through the provisions of general research, public education programs, and conducting seminars for county governments in Arkansas.” The AAC seeks to accomplish these aims by “providing legislative representation, on-site assistance, general research, training, various publications and conferences to assist county officials in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of their office.” AAC is made up of 1,400 members and is itself a member of the National Association of Counties.
AAC membership is made up of nine affiliation associations for county judges, sheriffs, assessors, quorum court officers, circuit clerks, collectors, treasurers, county clerks, and coroners. Each of the nine groups contributes two members to the AAC board of directors. The AAC provides a calendar of events and a list of frequently asked questions for each of the nine groups.
The AAC was founded in 1968. The first president was A. A. “Shug” Banks, the Mississippi County judge at that time. The organization has boasted 100 percent membership of Arkansas counties since 1988. Dues are voluntary and are based on one percent of a county’s “general turnback.” AAC began in a small office space near the Arkansas State Capitol with four employees. By 2021, the organization owned a large office building in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was run by twenty-four employees. In 2010, Chris Villines became the executive director; he had previously served as a county collector and served on the AAC board of directors.
Accomplishments of the organization include the Workers’ Compensation Trust, the Risk Management Fund, a drug testing program for county commercial drivers, and the Health and Hospitalization Program for county workers. The AAC provides resources and updates on the ongoing opioid crisis, information on grant opportunities, information on the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) and social security programs, media coverage, directories, a publication library, and updates of the status of legislation. The AAC also provides information and resources regarding application for the American Rescue Plan, a federal source of funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They co-created a debt collection program called ArkTRECS, working with the National Association of Counties Financial Services.
The AAC holds an annual conference.
For additional information:
Arkansas Counties. https://www.arcounties.org/counties/ (accessed December 17, 2021).
Association of Arkansas Counties. https://www.naco.org/org/association-arkansas-counties (accessed December 17, 2021).
Association Roundup: Association of Arkansas Counties. Arkansas Money & Politics. https://armoneyandpolitics.com/association-arkansas-counties/ (accessed December 17, 2021).
Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas
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