JONESBORO — Filling the empty county clerk’s position will be the top priority when the Craighead County Quorum Court convenes Monday.

The court’s public service committee narrowed down the field of applicants from nine to three after a special meeting Tuesday, then on Thursday voted to recommend Lesli Penny to complete the unexpired term of Kade Holliday, who resigned and was removed from office following his June 29 arrest on charges he stole almost $1.6 million in taxpayer money.

If approved by the full quorum court, Penny would serve through the end of 2022. She would not be eligible to run for a full term.

Penny, who is a Jonesboro resident, has served as a deputy county clerk since 2010. Prior to that, she was a deputy circuit clerk from 2005-2010.

Also Monday, Holliday is scheduled to appear in Craighead County Circuit Court for arraignment and trial setting. He is free on $150,000 bond.

Holliday is accused of diverting county employees’ federal and state payroll tax withholding funds as well as those to the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, to his personal bank accounts.

The county filed a civil lawsuit against Holliday in an effort to recover county assets. In that case, Circuit Judge Richard Lusby has ordered Holliday to appear at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 on a request by the county that he be held in contempt of court.

The county contends Holliday has withheld some of his personal financial information. But Holliday’s lawyers maintain all the information and documents the former clerk had were seized by investigators for the Arkansas State Police and Craighead County Sheriff’s Office following his arrest.

A former business partner with Holliday has filed a separate lawsuit against Holliday, claiming Holliday stole from her company.

Rose Hankins and her company, Total Healthcare LLC, are suing Kade Holliday for misappropriating company funds “in excess of $500,000” as part of an embezzlement scheme. Hankins said the company had to shut down because it was unable to pay its 50-plus employees or cover operating expenses.

Meanwhile, Hankins, Holliday and Total Healthcare were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in White County Circuit Court. Jetton General Contracting Inc. of Paragould claims it’s owed almost $435,000 for building a new facility for Total Healthcare in Nashville, Tenn.

Jetton said Holliday and Hankins personally guaranteed payment of the debt, and Holliday provided a document that showed Holliday had more than $2.35 million in a personal investment account.

In other business, the quorum court will consider the reappointment of Barry Kirby to the Craighead County Equalization Board.

The justices will convene at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the Craighead County Courthouse Annex, 511 Union St. Due to social distancing requirements attendance by the public will be limited.

The meeting can also be viewed online via Zoom. Contact the County Judge’s Office at 933-4500 or by email at: llawrence@ craigheadcounty.org.

Following that meeting, the court’s road committee will review a real estate plat on Craighead Road 730, owned by Lou Ann Crain.

Sun Staff Writer Randal Seyler contributed to this report.

inman@jonesborosun.com