Hey, remember way back in July when a pair of state legislators asked Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for a legal opinion on whether former state Sen. Shane Broadway was statutorily qualified to serve as director of the Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education? Come on, think back….
Remember that? So do Republicans Reps. Allen Kerr and Jane English, the aforementioned lawmakers who requested the opinion. Here we are some six weeks later and they wanna know, “Hey, where’s that opinion?” They’ve issued a news release pressuring McDaniel to come forth with the goods, pronto, or….Or what I don’t exactly know, but it’ll be something, I’ll bet.
It all hearkens back to Gov. Mike Beebe’s attempt to slide Broadway into the director’s slot after he’d served in the position on an interim basis for six months. And while it’s virtually impossible to find anyone to say anything but the nicest things about Broadway, it’s generally agreed that he lacks the experience in higher education required for the position by state law. (A state law that Broadway co-sponsored in 1997 [opens as PDF], in a nice twist.)
In July, we compared Broadway’s qualifications to those of higher ed honchos in the six states surrounding Arkansas. He came up rather short.
Today’s full news release, with statements from English and Kerr, is below the jump.
English, Kerr want to know if executive branch followed state law
Little Rock, Ark. – State Representatives Jane English of North Little Rock and Allen Kerr of Little Rock today issued the following statements calling on Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to provide answers to their July 26 request for an opinion concerning whether the appointment of Shane Broadway as Arkansas Director of Higher Education followed specific requirements outlined by Arkansas Law:
“It is customary that the Attorney General’s office return opinion requests within six weeks,” English said. “It has now been six weeks and we are concerned that Mr. McDaniel has failed to respond in a timely matter to our request for an opinion for what we view as a simple matter of law.
“Our request is not about Shane Broadway, but whether Governor Mike Beebe followed the laws of the State of Arkansas when he selected Mr. Broadway and whether the Arkansas Department of Higher Education fulfilled its legal obligations,” English continued. “We’d like an answer.”
“Attorney General McDaniel has issued fifteen other opinions since Rep. English and I made our request,” Kerr said. “It is not whether Shane Broadway can do the job, but whether the laws passed by the Arkansas General Assembly are to be followed by the executive branch of government.
“There is a higher issue at stake,” Kerr added. “The last I checked, the legislature is a co-equal branch of government in our state and we are both subject to following the law.”
The July 26 request specifically addresses the requirements of a Director of Higher Education as outlined in Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-61-203 .
Reps. English and Kerr asked Attorney General McDaniel to provide the legal definition of a “search and selection process,” and whether or not he is of the opinion that the ADHE followed that part of the law. English and Kerr also asked the Attorney General for various legal definitions in the law, including the definition of an “experienced educator,” and whether Broadway fits those definitions.