By Anita Tucker

Van Buren County no longer has an economic development director.

The Economic Development office was created by the Van Buren County Quorum Court in late 2010 when Robert "Bogie" Bramlett was county judge. The position paid $50,000, which originally was split between the city of Clinton and the county. A few month’s ago, the city stepped out of the picture and the position was placed solely under the county’s oversight.

Peter Giovannini of Morrilton was hired for the position in the spring of 2011. His last day on the job, sources told the Democrat, was Jan. 10. According to county records, a month’s salary — $3,800 — was paid to Giovannini on his departure.

Asked Tuesday if he had fired Giovannini, County Judge Roger Hooper said he had "no comment."

Giovannini lives in Morrilton, which did not sit well with some in Van Buren County. Justice of the Peace James Kirkendoll told the Democrat he believed anyone holding a county position should live in the county. He also went on record in 2010 objecting to a salary that paid more than that of the county judge.

No announcement of the vacancy was made at last week’s Quorum Court meeting.

Hooper said the position will not be filled immediately.

He said the Quorum Court Economic Development committee would discuss the situation at its next meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4 in the Quorum Court meeting room at the Courthouse Annex on Highway 65 in Clinton. The meeting is open to the public.