The Anatomy of Corruption, Bill Walker Style

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I reported on July 18th that the Legislative Council’s Personnel Services committee was reviewing the hiring of Miss Clara Taylor--a woman who was hired to serve as a sign language interpreter for the state, despite her lack of credentials for the position.  That review has now been conducted and completed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and has produced this 15-page document which is full of fun facts for taxpayers. Now, this report is filled with oodles of background information … [Read more...]

Bill Walker On Interpreter Hire: “I’m Comfortable With The Decision That Was Made”

KATV has released a partial transcript of conversations that took place at the personnel committee hearing on Tuesday in Little Rock. Below are some of the more interesting excerpts.  Enjoy! Director of Workforce Services, Bill Walker: If we had taken the position that we want the criteria to be that we want to have these high QAST levels if you will…that we want to have this national certification if you will…then there would be nobody in our department today that would … [Read more...]

The Cost of Cronyism

Governor Beebe flushing your money down the toilet, albeit with a smile.

Yesterday I reported on the state’s hiring of an uncertified, unqualified sign language interpreter, Miss Clara Taylor.  You may recall that there were eight other applicants for the position, seven of which tested better than Miss Taylor on their qualification exams, and six of which were certified interpreters. I also mentioned that the taxpayers will be on the hook for paying for Miss Taylor’s certification and training, in order to get her up to speed, but it was uncertain what that cost … [Read more...]

Auditors: State Unemployment Overpayments Only $44 Million!

What a relief!

A long-awaited audit of the state unemployment insurance (UI) program was the focus of a legislative hearing Tuesday, and since that's been a subject of interest here on The Arkansas Project lo these many months, I strolled over to see what was going down. You'll recall in September of last year, a U.S. Dept. of Labor report indicated that Arkansas had made an estimated $161 million in "improper" UI payments  from 2007-2010. The Dept. of Workforce Services (DWS), which administers … [Read more...]

More Budget Scrutiny for State Agencies? Why, Yes, Let’s Have Some of That!

More scrutiny needed. Wear rubber gloves.

Erroneous headline alert! Erroneous headline alert! A story over at the Arkansas News Bureau reports that "After Forestry Commission flap, state agencies’ budgets to get more scrutiny." I'm sure that "more scrutiny" was supposed to read "some scrutiny," since it's hard to believe most of these state agencies get any scrutiny at all. Now that the financial shenanigans at the troubled Arkansas Forestry Commission have been flushed into the open and the appropriate heads have rolled (Forestry … [Read more...]

Forest Fracas: Just What DOES It Take To Lose Your Job In the Beebe Administration?

Burned: John Shannon and the Arkansas Forest Fracas

 Arkansas Forestry Commission chief John Shannon is feeling the heat now that his agency is some $4 million in the hole—and Gov. Mike Beebe's asking lawmakers for an extra $2.7 million to clean things up at the gravely mismanaged agency. Reports the Arkansas News Bureau's John Lyon: Forestry Commission Director John Shannon and Tim Leathers, deputy director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, told a legislative panel that the governor plans to ask for about $2.7 million in … [Read more...]

Study: Now Let’s Reform Disastrous Unemployment Insurance Program To Make It Somewhat Less Disastrous

Unemployment insurance, what a mess

Ugh, the Arkansas unemployment insurance (UI) system, what a mess, am I right, people? What, oh, what could ever be done to fix such a terrible program, that is what you are sitting around wondering today, right now. You need wonder no longer, because the crackerjack policy wonks at the Tax Foundation have published an extensive new report focusing on insolvency in state unemployment insurance programs and what can be done to address the problem. You know it's authoritative because it is 32 … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget That The Arkansas Unemployment Insurance Nightmare Is Still A Thing!

Arkansas unemployment insurance waste

The nightmare that is the state unemployment insurance program has slipped from the front pages, so let's check in to remind ourselves what's going on there, and what happens next. As you'll recall, last month we learned that the federal government had identified an estimated $161 million in improper unemployment payments issued by Arkansas government from 2008-2011. The state Dept. of Workforce Services, which administers the unemployment program, has argued that it wasn't that high—they … [Read more...]