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

Bring me the head of John Shannon! 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 supplemental aide for the commission.

The request will include about $1.2 million to repay the federal government for grant money the agency improperly spent on ongoing expenses and about $1.5 million to keep the agency going through the end of the fiscal year.

Shannon said last month he told 36 employees of the 298-person agency they will be laid off Jan. 13 because of a $4 million shortfall.

Read Lyon’s whole piece for the sordid details as to how we arrived at this impasse.

But the key question, as presented in the headline to this post: Just what DOES it take for an agency head to lose his or her job in the Beebe administration?

After all, in recent months, we’ve seen reports of tens of millions of dollars in waste from the Department of Workforce Services, and now the state Forestry Commission is limping thanks, in part, to some highly questionable accounting practices. Yet the agency leadership just keeps bumbling along from one catastrophe to the next. Quick! Someone find me one more example of malfeasance so we can officially deem it a trend!

The crowning quote in the tale comes from DFA’s Tim Leathers, who here raises the use of the evasive bureaucratic passive voice to something near an art form. Leathers explains the effect of those aforementioned improperly spent grant funds:

State officials have said they recently learned that the federal money was overcertified, or counted twice, and was not authorized for ongoing expenses.

“You had overspending as a result of that,” Leathers told legislators today.

Indeed! “You had overspending.” But no one one was actually accountable for that overspending. It simply….happened. “You” had it. It—this overspending—it was “had,” by someone, that someone being “you.” QED.  No further questions, please.

Let’s run an experiment: Go f**k something up disastrously in your job, and then come back to your bosses and tell them you can fix it up if they’ll only give you some more money. Oh, I don’t know, let’s say, $2.7 million. Let me know how that works out for you.

Oh, if only John Brummett were still alive to write a column about how this is really all the fault of legislative Republicans and the Tea Party, or something. RIP, John Brummett (1946-2011). 

Some Lawmakers Leery of Aid Request for Forestry Commission (Arkansas News Bureau)

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

  • timetorun

    In the private sector you run a company into the ground you lose your job. Director should go. There have been some questions as to how honest he has been. If he had any honor he would resign.

    ‎$161 million in improper unemployment payments from 2008-2011, Over 8,000 state vehicles, ADC director suspended for lying to the corrections board, Double Dipping by high level state employees, Game and Fish controversy, Lottery Commission being fined by the IRS and multiple problems, more problems than a person could count at DCC, Trail Assistants shortfall, Highway commission overtime controversy. Can you imagine the media coverage if we had a Republican governor. Thank God we are under the leadership of “America’s Best Governor”!

  • we might argue about when or whether i died, but not about when i was born. it was 1953, not 1946, and i do not appreciate the seven-year error.

  • What’s take to lose your job under the Communist B-B? Be White Sovereign of the inited states if America, republic, UNDER God and and Born Again Christian of “Christian America” 1776-2012. It’s not they dislike us. They fear us. Would fill their drawers at the thought of an Old Fashion Patriot of Geo. Washington Day. Men of honor, integrity and an Un aleinable Faith in God, Old Glord and the usA, republic, under God and the Law of the Land. The Original, Moral/christian, 1787 Constitution of t5hye usA, republic. Are any of you old enough to see a history Book of the True Republuc? and, of course the Organic, Law of the Land is synonomous to the KJV, Inspired Word of God. Are any of you familiar with the Word of God? The Truth?


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