Word is that former state senator and former insurance executive Jay Bradford will be appointed state insurance commissioner in January, when the term of Commissioner Julie Benafield Bowman expires. Bowman was appointed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee. Bradford, now director of the state Division of Behavioral Services, is a close friend of Gov. Mike Beebe, with whom he served in the Senate. He would be the first non-lawyer to head the Insurance Department in many years.
As of press time Tuesday, only one Arkansas candidate had applied for the position of dean of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. (The deadline was Wednesday.) The Arkansas candidate is Wendell Griffen, a former judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals who was defeated for re-election last November. The other candidates are Richard A. Bales, an as-sociate dean at the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights; Penelope E. Bryan, an associate dean at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Vincent R. Johnson, a visiting professor of law at the George Washington University Law School in Washington; Young Kim, a visiting faculty member at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boul-der; Joan Mahoney, a professor of law at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit; Brent E. Newton, an assistant federal pub-lic defender in Houston; Mickie A. Piatt, an associate professor of law at Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law; Robert Chase Seibel, vice president and general counsel for Hamlin and Burton Liability Management of St. Louis, and Che' D. Williamson, a practicing lawyer with firms in Woodlands, Texas, and Houston. (Williamson also listed a practice in Little Rock, but there's no listing for him in the Little Rock telephone directory.)
A law school search committee will reduce the list to three or four who will be invited to Little Rock for interviews. The faculty then will make a recommendation to UALR Provost David Belcher, who will make the selection.
As an appeals court judge, Griffen was threatened with discipline by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission for public criti-cism of the Bush administration and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, among others, but the charge was dropped. He is black. There is some racial tension at the Law School. (See below.)
Richard Peltz, the white University of Arkansas at Little Rock law professor who sued some black law students and black lawyers because, he said, they had falsely accused him of racism, says that the case is now in mediation with the University and “We're opti-mistic.” The University offered to mediate, Peltz said
Multiple sources confirm that Arkansas is in the hunt to be the new location of the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree, which draws some 100,000 Scouts every summer.
Acreage in western Saline County — we believe Weyerhaeuser timberland — is under consideration here. The Boy Scouts in June an-nounced a search for a new site to open by 2013. It would serve as a training center year-round and a potential site for World Scout Jamborees. Selection is supposed to be made this year.
The Scouts are seeking sites with “spectacular natural beauty,” water for recreational activities, an interstate highway within 25 miles, an airport within 150 miles, accessible year-round. The Scouts want to obtain at least 5,000 acres, but want access to some 65,000 more acres.
A state Economic Development Commission spokesman confirmed that the Scout search included Arkansas, but provided no more details. A consultant in the search said he couldn't say more than the fact that Arkansas is “in the mix.”
It's all academic
Lu Hardin's loose talk on pay issues set events in motion that cost him his job as president of the University of Central Ar-kansas. Before it was over, issues raised included faculty complaints about the president's involvement in academic issues.
Those past events come to mind with the discovery of a new small discrepancy in the Hardin record: The 2007 University of Central Arkansas football media guide contained a bio on former president Hardin, including the following: “Hardin stays in touch with college students by teaching a state and local politics course, and through his daughter, Mallory, who recently graduated from UCA and received her diploma from her very proud father.”
According to the office of the registrar at UCA, however, Hardin's daughter has not graduated from the university. Anthony Sitz, the university registrar, says students who participate in the graduation ceremony receive a degree, “conditional upon completion of any and all remaining requirements,” since official grades are not released until after the ceremony. Students who fall short of requirements are not issued an actual diploma and are instead sent a letter informing them of their incomplete status.
Former president Hardin and his daughter could not be reached for comment. The university's interim president Tom Courtway said he couldn't comment on student matters.
As campaign signs proliferate, a dual sign strategy has been noted by one candidate — Mark Leverett, who's seeking the Little Rock dis-trict environmental court seat in a race against Gary Sullivan.
Leverett campaign signs in predominantly white neighborhoods bear only his name and the office he's seeking. His signs in predomi-nantly black neighborhoods include his photograph. Leverett is black and his opponent white. We missed connections in attempting to get a comment from Leverett on the sign strategy.