Government Waste

Bill Walker Lied, Government Integrity Died

Governor Beebe, the puppeteer, and Director Bill Walker

What’s our dear friend Bill Walker up to these days?  I’m glad you asked.

I originally reported on July 19th that Walker’s hand-picked, uncertified sign language interpreter was enrolling in classes at UALR to obtain her certification.  Enrolling was apparently the right grammatical tense, although it should have seemed inaccurate at the time.

According to KATV, Walker told state legislators at the personnel hearing that his hire, Clara Taylor, was already enrolled at UALR.  But it turns out this was not true:

Two days ago State Workforce Director Bill Walker told a room full of lawmakers that a state employee hired to interpret sign language was enrolled in a college course to better learn that skill.

Turns out…she wasn’t.

A day after Mr. Walker told lawmakers this employee was enrolled in a sign language course at U.A.L.R…she did in fact enroll.

This is an important development:  not only were state lawmakers misled, but they were misled in a way that likely made them more inclined to let Ms. Taylor remain employed.  If I were a lawmaker, knowing (or thinking) that Ms. Taylor was already enrolled and state tax dollars had already been spent on her certification would certainly make me more inclined to let her retain her employment. (See: loss aversion.)

As I reported a few weeks ago, the estimated cost for Ms. Taylor’s certification, according to UALR, is just over $36,000.

Despite many new developments, this is a story that continues to live.  My reporting on the topic continues to garner comments from members of the deaf community, even in recent days.

And Mr. Walker seems to know this is not the end of the story as well, going on a listening tour of the deaf community a few weeks ago.  But it is less clear what action Walker plans to take in order to resolve the situation.  While KATV does mention at the end of their report that Walker is considering changing the job description of the position, that would be a ridiculous substitute for actually correcting his error and firing Ms. Taylor, particularly when anything short of her removal and replacement means the needs of the deaf community will remain unmet.

If KATV’s report is correct and Bill Walker lied to state lawmakers, he should be removed from his position as well.  This conduct is unacceptable for state officials, particularly when such large amounts of taxpayer dollars are hanging in the balance.

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9 thoughts on “Bill Walker Lied, Government Integrity Died

  • David Dinwiddie

    Our State Government don’t stand up for the people.
    Why don’t somebody in state government stand up and call them on this?
    Two reasons: they are selfish and don’t have a spine.

    • Nic Horton

      David, I often share your pessimism, but there are state lawmakers staying on top of this issue. I hope to have more to report soon.

  • James Roach

    on 7/9/12, I and the house committee of Veteran affairs were lied to by April Harwell, Executive Assistant to the Director, Arkansas Department of Labor. In 2003 I was lied to by the UAMS HR director on official UAMS letterhead paperwork. WE need to have some accountability where individual lie and must suffer consequences.

  • Simplemente Conservador

    Unfortunately the accountability is the Governor’s and he has no interest in dealing with these partisan attacks. They ARE partisan because it isn’t his fault that in the worst fire season in recent memory, he agreed to lay off 36 Forestry Commission workers until Conservatives in the Legislature forced his hand and amazingly enough, $500,000 was FOUND at the Dept. of Ag to cover the shortfall. A billion dollar surplus at the beginning of his administration went “poof” and has been seen no more. Companies are laying off workers willy-nilly while he talks about how good the business climate around here is. And we have a projected $400,000,000 shortfall in Medicaid funding (which the Arkansas Constitution prohibits from actually occurring) and his brilliant plan is to add 250,000 more people to the Medicaid rolls. His administration has been a farce, one error after another. And now we expect him to do something about Bill Walker? Beebe is too busy putting in-your-face Gays in charge of our children’s school programs to care about a crony hire and a waste of taxpayer money under Bill Walker.

  • Paul Kiel

    Thank you for reporting on audism being practiced by Beebe and Walker. They are both wrong and they belong in Audists Hall of Shame. They should listen to Deaf community and be respectful. They need to resign for practicing cronyism and disrespect. It is clear violation of civil rights. That so-called interpreter Clara Taylor can be blacklisted in our community for a long time. She will probably not be hired ever again for violating the trust that interpreters need to earn to work with deaf people. Shame on them!

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