by Max Brantley
Good story today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Michael Wickline on an illegal secret vote by a state board to hire Republican politico Alan Pogue of Sherwood to a fat, light-duty job as executive director of state Board of Examiners in Counseling. Even some Republican legislators objected to the original idea to push Pogue's fat pay up to $80,000, against the $65,000 paid the long-time director who was shoved out to create a job for Pogue (who had been a member of the board that hired him.) He's going to have to settle for $75,000, still 15 percent more than the his trained, experienced predecessor. Plus, the office of the agency is going to be moved from Magnolia to Little Rock to make it more convenient.
Rep. Jim Nickels of Sherwood observed in the article that it looked like Republicans were creating a job for one of their failed candidates. Pogue opposed him for re-election last year. And here comes the kicker:
But state Rep. Andrea Lea, R-Russellville, said she didn’t recall that Pogue ran against Nickels last November until after the legislative council’s personnel subcommitteee made its recommendation to pay Pogue a $75,000 salary, and she doesn’t recall who told her about it.
Andrea Lea. Remember her? She's running for state auditor since she's run out of public teat-sucking time in the House. She promises to bring integrity to state government.
So here's the public record. Pogue's campaign finance reports show Lea gave $200 to help his race against Nickels in July 2012.
How easily we forget. Or, maybe, how easy it is to fib. You choose. Forgetful or dishonest isn't a high recommendation for an auditor.
UPDATE ON POGUE: That secret vote, in contravention of the FOI law, which requires public votes on such things as bestowing $75,000 jobs on political hacks, didn't offend Pogue much, I judge from his tone in the article. He likes secrecy. Check this campaign report. He reported $200 in contributions from someone who wished to remain anonymous. Anonymous $200 contributions aren't allowed by law either, but, hey. It's just state work. Or maybe he forgot the name, like Andrea Lea. Pogue's report of contributors, by the way, is an honor roll of folks like the Kochs and the taxpayer-subsidized Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and other special interest lobbies.