by Max Brantley
Former Sen. Randy Laverty has been hired as new commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Career Education Department headed by Bill Walker, himself a former state senator. Both are Democrats.
Laverty has a background in human services and was a hired director (don't call the job a lobby position) for the Developmental Disabilities Provider Association, an interest group for agencies largely backed by public funds.
The news release follows. It didn't mention the pay Laverty will receive. I've sent a query. Former Commissioner Robert Trevino made $109,000 before he stepped down to a lower level job in Walker's department following a tough audit of the agency. Randy Parker came out of retirement to be interim director in October. UPDATE: Laverty also will make $109,000.
Arkansas Department of Career Education Director Bill Walker today announced the appointment of Randy Laverty, former state senator, as commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS). Laverty will assume the position February 3. He will be formally introduced to ARS staff January 18.
“I am delighted that Senator Laverty has chosen to continue his commitment to public service by assuming the commissioner position for ARS,” Walker said. “He brings to the position a broad range of experience and leadership that will enhance and expand the services provided by ARS.”
Laverty takes over the helm from Randy Parker, who came out of retirement in October to serve as interim commissioner. “Mr. Parker’s dedication to ARS is exemplary, and I want to thank him for guiding ARS through these past four months,” Walker said.
Laverty began his career of public service in 1975 as the Newton County director for the Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services. As county director, he was responsible for economic and medical programs, as well as children and family services. In 1982, he was named assistant director of field operations for the Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services, and was responsible for all social services programs in 17 counties. In 1985, he assumed the position of assistant director for the Department of Human Services, Division of County Operations, and served in that position for eight years.
Laverty also served as executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Provider Association from 2001 to 2009 and is currently the association’s resource development director, a position he has held since 2009.
He served 16 years in the Arkansas Legislature, in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 and in the Senate from 2003 until January 14, 2013. Among his many leadership roles, he served as chair of the Joint Audit Committee; as chair of House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee; and as vice-chair of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. He also served on the Joint Budget Committee, where he chaired several subcommittees, including the Personnel, Classification and Compensation Subcommittee.
Laverty holds a bachelor of science degree from Arkansas Tech University. He and his wife, Virginia, have three children and four grandchildren.