The October meeting of the Hempstead County Quorum Court never happened last Thursday night as four Justices were no shows, and the Quorum Court failed to gain a quorum to conduct business.

The October meeting of the Hempstead County Quorum Court never happened last Thursday night as four Justices were no shows, and the Quorum Court failed to gain a quorum to conduct business.
“It is extremely rare; it hasn’t happened like this in the time I’ve been here,” County Judge Haskell Morse said in an interview afterwards, “But, we didn’t have anything urgent or pressing, or else a special meeting would have needed to be called.”
After an estimated seven minutes, the courthouse was cleared out, and everyone else present, including most of the other county officials, left with no county business getting done.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Quorum Court isn’t until Thursday, Nov. 16.
The October meeting was to include a resolution to repeal the Quorum Court’s earlier resolution this year on the Farmer’s Bank Building and was to include a progress report on purchasing the Farmer’s Bank Building.
There were also two transfer ordinances, one for the purchase of replacement radios, and another for a truck.
Morse said that he had been previously contracted prior to last Thursday’s meeting by three of the Justices, who had said they would not be in attendance, but a fourth Justice was apparently unable to leave Little Rock in time to get back to Hope for the meeting.
“With the number of Justices we have, it really isn’t something we have to deal with very often. If we don’t have the number of Justices present to do business, then we can’t do business,” Morse said.
In some instances, so as college classes, there is a generally known 10-minute time limit for the instructors to show up before classes are officially called off; students are often required to sign an attendance sheet, showing they were present before leaving themselves.
Morse said there was no formal protocol or time limit in place for the Quorum Court meetings, if or when, the required number of Justices don’t show up.
“In the past some Justices would be leaving work, and we would always give them a few minutes. As far as I know, this is the first time in eight years that a meeting has been cancelled like this,” Morse said.
State law does specify that if a Justice (or Justices) miss two consecutive meetings that their pay can be withheld for the missing meetings.  The Justices receive $200 a month for the office of Justice of the Peace and attending the Quorum Court meetings.
The October meeting was also seen as a follow-up to what proved to be a contentious September session, in which several Justices confronted County Judge Haskell Morse about his use of the County Judge’s truck for a vacation to Montana, and requested a legislative audit of the County Judge’s office.