Kirk Lane serves as the Director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, an organization formed by the Arkansas Association of Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League to administer opioid abatement funds derived from opioid settlement funding awarded to the cities and counties of Arkansas. Before this, he served as the Arkansas State Drug Director from 2017 to 2022. Director Lane also has 33 years of experience in law enforcement serving with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chief of Police for the City of Benton, Arkansas.
He has attended the University of Virginia and University of Arkansas Little Rock. He is a graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Academy, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Commander’s Academy, FBI LEEDA, and the FBI National Academy 197th session.
Director Lane currently serves on the National Board of Directors for the National Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Executive Board of the Gulf States High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.
He is the recipient of numerous awards in his field including the 2021 Ramstead/ Kennedy Award for his leadership in the field of Recovery.
As Deputy Director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, Tenesha Barnes focuses on policy development and strategic planning to ensure effective service delivery and outcomes for the new initiative. She provides leadership in developing and implementing comprehensive prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies for substance use disorders at the city, county, and community levels.
Throughout her career, Barnes has worn many hats and has served as the National Association of Substance Abuse Directors (NASADAD) and National Prevention Network (NPN) representative for Arkansas, as well as the First Vice President for Internal Affairs, NPN Secretary, and executive board member. She was also Director of Prevention for the Arkansas Department of Human Services/Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS). In this position, she managed and oversaw all prevention activities, including the Substance Abuse Block Grant. She also served as the organizational liaison for the state’s counties, community prevention boards, non-profit organizations, community coalitions, schools, and free-standing entities. She directly coordinated prevention activities through the State Opioid Responses Grant, Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO), First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants (FR-CARA), and the Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success Grants (PFS).
Contributing seven years of experience as a community prevention champion and state prevention director, Barnes’s tenure helped address health disparities and create structural shifts within the prevention infrastructure for the state’s Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services Division..She also helped establish the CADCA membership for DAABHS/DHS in the state of Arkansas and is currently an active member.
Barnes holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Henderson State University and a master’s degree in Human Resource Development and Leadership from Webster University.
Chris Villines brings a lifelong passion of public service in county government to the AAC executive director position. He was named the seventh executive director of the association in April 2010. Chris was named as one of Ten Outstanding Young Arkansans by the Jaycees in 1998 and later that year was elected to the position of Saline County Collector. He served as collector for 11 years until his selection by the AAC Board of Directors in April 2010.
Chris led the Collector’s Association for several years and was selected to join the AAC Board of Directors in 2005. He was elected president of the National Council of County Association Executives and served in that role from 2019 to 2020.
A lifelong Arkansan, Chris was born in Harrison, but his family moved to Benton before his first birthday. His dad owned a title company in Benton, and Chris, a self-proclaimed “courthouse rat,” grew up working for him. Chris earned a degree in finance at the University of Arkansas. He then went to work for a company doing site acquisition for cellular towers. He did the site acquisition work from 1993 to 1998, when Saline County voters chose their new 28-year-old collector.
Chris has been married to Tonya Villines for 31 years, and they have two children, Trevor and
Mark R. Hayes joined the Arkansas Municipal League in 1989 as an in-house litigator before becoming the League’s general counsel. He was appointed executive director in 2018. Prior to joining the League, he served the city of Little Rock as an assistant city attorney and municipal judge. Hayes received his bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University and his Juris Doctor from the Bowen School of Law. He is a member of the American, Arkansas and Pulaski County Bar Associations and was named Outstanding League Counsel by the International Municipal Lawyer’s Association in 2012. In his role as the League’s general counsel, Hayes was one of only 1,450 members of the prestigious international legal organization, the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel.
Hayes is married to Alison Offutt, a reformed and no longer practicing attorney. Alison’s legal skills remain sharp, however, and are well tested in their home, where she is the regular victor in debates with Mark, their children and their pets. Between them, Mark and Alison are parents to four terrific kids, Franz, Bliss, Colin and Wells. Unfortunately, the Hayes family lost Wells to an overdose in April 2020 following a hard-fought battle with opioid addiction. Like so many before him, opioid addiction was a fight too powerful for Wells to overcome.
Wells’ struggle with opioid addiction—as well as that of hundreds of thousands of Arkansans and millions of Americans—has been a driving force behind Hayes’ fierce commitment to fighting this epidemic. In 2019 352 opioid overdose deaths were reported in Arkansas. More telling, however, is the nearly tripled rate of Narcan doses administered since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Arkansas, as well as the more than 18-percent increase in overdose deaths nationwide. Hayes believes the League’s and the Association of Arkansas Counties’ ongoing litigation against pharmaceutical companies is a substantial piece of the puzzle for ending the opioid epidemic. Addiction is a societal problem, however, and Hayes believes the greatest solution is for all of us to take our place on the front lines and take up the fight.
Hayes’ personal and professional philosophy is simple but impactful: Be kind to others. Use your voice to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. This philosophy extends not only to municipal officials and employees that the League serves every day but also to our friends, neighbors, and the citizens of Arkansas’ cities and towns.
Joy Spence is the Data Research Manager at ARORP. In this position, she will measure the impact of ARORP settlement funds in Arkansas communities. She is currently a Masters of Social Work student at UA Little Rock, where she previously assisted the Methamphetamine Grant Coordinator in creating the statewide Me Over Meth prevention campaign. Spence graduated from Hendrix College in 2018 summa cum laude with the President’s Medal, then started the Arkansas Fellowship at Apptegy. There, Spence helped create Apptegy’s media department: SchoolCEO. As managing editor of the SchoolCEO brand and co-host of SchoolCEO’s podcast, Spence spoke with hundreds of school superintendents across the country about their unique needs and innovations in education. Spence is an Arkansas Certified Teacher in Secondary English Literature and a 200h trained yoga teacher at Sixth House Studio in Little Rock.
The Counties and the Cities and Towns, by agreement of the AAC Director and AML Director, will convene an advisory board with an equal number of members appointed by each Director, to study proposals and make recommendations to the AAC Director, the AML Director, and the Partnership Director, regarding programs and strategies to abate the Arkansas opioid epidemic in a manner consistent with approved purposes, any settlement agreements, and any orders approving settlements.
Cindy Smith who resides in Strong, Arkansas, has a wealth of experience in finance and accounting. She has served on various committees to help maintain and oversee finances in her career as an accountant assistant. She is currently employed by a Fortune 500 company, Murphy USA, as an Accountant Assistant since 2002.
Cindy graduated from Strong High School in 1977 and South Arkansas Community College, where she obtained certification in Clerical Business Administration. She also serves as a Notary Public and a Certified Tax Preparer.
Cindy is active in her community, serving on the Strong-Huttig School District Board of Education since 2007 as Board President. Her church affiliates are Curry Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Strong, Arkansas and The Church at Gaines Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. She enjoys singing, fishing, basketball and football. She has always served as a volunteer during the Murphy USA Annual United Way Campaign which donated $980 thousand this year. She has also participated in the International Women’s Entrepreneurship.
Cindy brings a deep corporate governance experience through her work with corporate boards, including audit and finance committees—and she is qualified to serve on audit committees as a financial expert.
Her most valued treasures are her testimony and her family. Her most favorite quote by Jane Austen is “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
“Like father, like son, like grandson. I am the third generation of my family to become a law enforcement officer, so you might say, protecting and serving others is in my blood. Since my first job in law enforcement over 39 years ago, I have considered this honorable profession a calling, and it is a privilege to now be serving my community as Sheriff of Washington County.
My granddad, Earl Thomas, moved from Missouri to California for work in the 1920’s. He had a relative on the force with the Los Angeles Police Department, so he applied and was hired. Granddad retired from the LAPD after 20 years as a foot and mounted patrol officer. My dad, Robert Helder, also worked 25 years for the LAPD as a patrol officer and detective. He was a Lieutenant Detective in the Homicide Division when he retired. One note of interest about my dad…he was the lead investigator in the Charles Manson – Sharon Tate murder investigation.
I moved to Arkansas as a teen, graduated from West Fork High School, and began my law enforcement career in 1979 with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, working in communications as a dispatcher and later as a field deputy. In 1982 I was hired by the Fayetteville Police Department where I worked for 21 years, retiring in 2003 as Deputy Chief of Police. I then returned to my roots and began working for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as Chief Deputy for Sheriff Steve Whitmill in April 2003. In 2004, after Whitmill accepted a position with Tyson Foods, I entered the race for Sheriff and was subsequently elected. I began serving my first term on January 1, 2005. Beginning 2021, I am now halfway into my very first four-year term, and 16 years as your sheriff.
I have been married to my beautiful wife, Holly, for over 30 years. We have been blessed with three awesome children, Nolan, Clay and Karli, and six amazing grandchildren. Nolan, wife Kasey, and their children, Kane, Ruthie, Ellie, Henry, and Alana live in Headland, AL. Nolan serves as Family Pastor with Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama, and is currently working toward his Doctorate in Theology at Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans. Kasey stays busy as a “stay at home” mom where, along with all of the normal demands of a mom, she home schools our grandchildren.
Clay, who graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in International Relations, has returned from New York City where he had a career in production. He currently serves at CLC in production.
Karli graduated from the University of Arkansas in December 2016 with a degree in Hospitality Management. She married Beau Waddell in August of 2018, and on August 14, 2020, brought grandchild number six, Joey, into the world. Beau was ordained this year and they remain busy serving in a variety of areas for New Life Church in Fayetteville. We enjoy being active and involved with our family and our community.”
Although she is a native Arkansan, Dr. Virginia Stanick spent most of her adult life in New York City. In 2013, she returned to her home state. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College in Conway; a Master of Social Work degree in clinical social work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and a Ph.D. in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) at The City University of New York. Her professional interests and experience are diverse, including human electrophysiology, neuropsychology, and integrative/behavioral medicine, but the majority of her career has been committed to clinical and research work in a variety of settings focused on substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Colin Jorgensen is from Little Rock, where he lives with his wife, Eve, and two children — Hank (born 2010) and Suzy (born 2014). Colin has a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Oklahoma and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Michigan. From 2004 to 2006, he worked as an associate at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP in Little Rock. From 2007 to 2017, he served as an assistant attorney general and senior assistant attorney general in the Civil Litigation Department of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office. Colin joined the Association of Arkansas Counties in 2017 as a litigation attorney, and he has served since 2018 as counsel for Arkansas counties in litigation against opioid companies, seeking monetary relief to abate the opioid epidemic across Arkansas.
Colin is a long-time mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. In January 2019, he was appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to a six-year term as Chair of the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) Committee. He was a member of the JLAP Foundation board from 2016 to 2019, and he served on the board of the Wolfe Street Foundation from 2013 to 2015.
Colin is a dedicated public servant, and from the beginning, he has been grateful for the opportunity to serve the counties and Arkansans related to opioid litigation and the opioid epidemic. Colin is especially grateful for the opportunity to serve as a lawyer and a board member because he has lived experience with addiction and recovery. He knows that sobriety is a miracle and a gift, and to keep it, those who have it must give it away.
A native of Conway, John Wilkerson has been employed with the Municipal League since 2006. He began as a Law Clerk, then became Senior Legal Counsel, and now General Counsel. John received his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Arkansas and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, School of Law. He currently lives in Little Rock with his wife Zara and three kids – Razik, Amila, and Merah.
James W. Sanders has lived a life of public service. He was employed by the City of Blytheville Police Department from 1977 until he retired in 2000. He rose through the ranks from Cadet to Captain and was in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) when he retired. He continued his work in Law Enforcement after his retirement, when he went to work for the Arkansas State Police. While working for the State Police, James ran for, and was elected to, the Blytheville City Council representing Ward I. In 2009, Mississippi County Sheriff Leroy Meadows succumbed to a long illness. Sheriff Meadows hand-picked James Sanders to be his successor. After careful thought and prayer, James decided that he had a need to better serve his community by running for mayor of Blytheville. James Sanders won the election in November of 2010 and began serving as Mayor on January 1, 2011. His first term in office was successful and he is currently serving his second term. He is proud to serve the citizens of Blytheville.
Gloria Gordon, MS is a retired research scientist and medical/technical writer who moved from New York State to Arkansas in 1993. She is an independent advocate for the elderly and people with disabilities, and has been writing grants for the state and nonprofit organizations at no charge for 20 years. She received a BA from Wellesley College and an MS from the University of Pennsylvania, and did graduate work at New York University Medical School. In Arkansas, she has worked at Biotechnical Services, Inc. as a senior medical writer, editor, and auditor of regulatory documents, preclinical and clinical study reports, and safety assessment documents. Most recently, she has worked as a parttime grant writer for Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care. Previously, she worked for 20 years as a senior research toxicologist and electron microscopist for a multinational pharmaceutical company (Pfizer), and conducted academic research at three major university medical centers (New York University, University of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson Medical Schools). She has published journal articles in the fields of pathology, microbiology, oncology, chemotherapy and dermatology.
Danny Bradley has served as chief of the North Little Rock Police Department since January 2001. Prior service includes six years as chief deputy of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and, before that, twenty-one years with the North Little Rock Police Department where he worked his way from cadet to captain. He was instrumental in bringing about organizational change to incorporate the principles of community policing in both departments.
Chief Bradley has worked on a wide range of police issues in Arkansas. He was key in establishing the first organized police supervision and management training in Arkansas that evolved into the Criminal Justice Institute which is part of the University of Arkansas system. He instructed in that program as well as having served as adjunct faculty for the Criminal Justice Department of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
As Chief Legal and Ethics Officer, Executive Vice President for LiveRamp (formerly Acxiom Corporation), Jerry C. Jones leads the Legal, Privacy/Data Ethics and Public Policy teams in addition to being responsible for the strategy and execution of mergers, alliances and other strategic initiatives company-wide. During his 24-year tenure, Jones has spearheaded several high-profile projects such as Acxiom’s expansion in international markets including Australia, Japan, China, Europe, Brazil, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. He has also played a significant role in moving the company into digital and interactive marketing services as well as leading Acxiom/LiveRamp through the successful acquisition of two public companies, in the US and in France.
Jones is a member of the board of directors of Agilysys, Inc., Walton College Business Integrity Leadership Initiative, Arkansas Research Alliance, ForwARd Arkansas, and Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP) Advisory Board.
He also was the chairman of FASTERArkansas, connecting students to a 21st century education in trying to bring high-speed internet to every public school in Arkansas. His passion for community-related challenges has been the driving force for the creation of several programs, including Harnessing 21st Century Solutions: A Focus on Women. As leader of the initiative, Jones was responsible for bringing to Arkansas the annual meeting of the Club de Madrid, an organization comprised of 93 former heads of state of 65 democracies to the Clinton Presidential Center where Jones serves as a Special Advisor. Jones holds a degree in public administration and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas.
Johnathan Goree, MD, is an associate professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where he serves as director of the Chronic Pain Division, Program Director of the Pain Medicine Fellowship, and Chair of the Opioid Stewardship Committee. Dr. Goree considers himself a quality of life physician who is focused on improving function through opioid-sparing interventional care. His research interests include complex regional pain syndrome, racial disparities in chronic pain care, implementation science, and studying efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field.
Thomas (Tom) L. Barron is a lifelong resident of Pulaski County He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English in 1981 and received his Juris Doctor in 1984. Tom is the principal and owner of Bear State Law, PLLC.
Among his peers and the judiciary, Tom has the highest rating AV Preeminent®. Tom was appointed to the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) Committee by the Supreme Court in October 2007 and served as the Chair of the Committee. JLAP provides mental health and substance abuse services to Arkansas’ judges, lawyers, and their family members. In 2014, Tom received the Arkansas JLAP Justice Robert L. Brown Community Support Award. This award is presented to a person within the legal community who has performed outstanding service to Arkansas’ communities through a commitment to building and sustaining a program of lawyers helping lawyers. This service has been performed out of a sense of duty, responsibility, and professionalism to improve lives and protect communities by supporting the health and well-being of judges, lawyers and their families.
Tom is also a former board member and chair of The Friends of Recovery Foundation, Inc. (FOR), and is still actively engaged in fundraising, peer to peer counseling, and serves as its legal counsel. Tom is currently a Master of the Bench in the Judge Henry Woods American Inn of Court. and an alumni Master of the Bench in the Judge William R. Overton American Inn of Court (1989-2003). Tom is a member of the Pulaski County Bar Association, the Arkansas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.
Tom married Holly in 2003 and took on the wonderful role of becoming a parent to his stepson, Gavin. Today, their family is complete with their three dogs Toto, Olive, and Virgil. Tom, Holly, and Gavin are all dedicated to helping others and volunteering in their communities. They all particularly share a passion for helping those with addictions and family members of those with addictions find the resources and support they need.
Danny began his lifelong career in public service in the mid-70s. His parents instilled “service to others” as one of the most important parts of life.
His career with the public started with working at the Lafayette County Road Department. During this time, he also served as a volunteer firefighter for Stamps Fire and Rescue eventually become Fire Chief. Later he would become a Deputy Sheriff with the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.
An opportunity arose for Danny to become a member of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management as the Area 4 Coordinator including a variety of rolls such as response, recovery, and mitigation to all types of disasters. His days also involved planning for the next upcoming disaster.
In 2002 he ran and was elected Sheriff of Lafayette County, serving the citizens for two terms. In 2007 he began his service as the Deputy Director of Arkansas Department of Emergency and in 2019 he served as State Director for the Arkansas Crime Information Center. After retirement his desire for community service was answered as he began serving as the Local Emergency Manager for Lafayette County. In 2019 he ran and won his election as Lafayette County Judge where he continues to serve today. Danny’s hobbies include hunting and fishing mainly. His first love is spending time with his family and
friends cooking and spending time in “the shop”.