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Walker watch

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We’ve mentioned before that we expected former senator and recent mayoral candidate Bill Walker to land a spot in the Beebe administration. He campaigned and raised money for the governor.

Now we think we know where he’ll be working. A usually reliable source believes Walker is headed to the cabinet, as director of the Workforce Education Department, a position recently vacated by Huckabee appointee John Wyvill. Wyvill acknowledged that he was leaving to open the slot for a Beebe appointment.

The politically ambidextrous Walker currently serves on the state parole board by Mike Huckabee appointment, a slot awarded after he campaigned for the Republican governor.

No details yet

The Arkansas Blog reported last week, in advance of Frank Broyles announcement that he’d retire at the end of this year as University of Arkansas athletic director, that the deal would include a multi-year agreement under which Broyles would continue to be paid to work for the university as a fund-raiser and goodwill ambassador.

Chancellor John White noted at the UA Board of Trustees meeting Saturday that he’d made Broyles just such an offer. But he offered no specifics. We asked for more this week, but a university spokesman said there was no firm agreement yet, in that Broyles was still working actively as athletic director. One source told us, however, that he believed the deal will give Broyles full pay for eight years after retirement, a multi-million-dollar going-away present if true.

Broyles is paid $286,280 annually as athletic director. That’s the lowest rate of pay of the 11 athletic directors in the Southeastern Conference according to an article in the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger.

Intraparty squabble

The Bush Administrations decision to remove seven U.S. attorneys, including Bud Cummins of Little Rock, to replace them with new faces, including Karl Rove aide Tim Griffin in Arkansas, has had unfavorable consequences. Democrats and some Republicans are complaining about Bush’s use of an interim appointment process to bypass Senate confirmation hearings. And the Bush administration has gotten in trouble by suggesting that job performance was a factor in many of the changes, though not Cummins’ performance.

Cummins has spoken up now to criticize the administration, saying in an interview last week with the Washington Post: “They’re entitled to make these changes for any reason or no reason or even for an idiotic reason,” Cummins said. “But if they are trying to suggest that people have inferior performance to hide whatever their true agenda is, that is wrong. They should retract those statements.”

Cummins was shoved aside for Griffin thanks to the intercession of former White House counsel Harriet Miers, the failed Bush Supreme Court nominee from Texas. Griffin has caused more of a stir by going on the attack against U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor for insisting that Griffin go through the constitutional confirmation process. Griffin testily told the Democrat-Gazette that he now wouldn’t submit to the confirmation process because he wouldn’t get a fair hearing. But he told several news outlets subsequently that he’ll stay as long as the Bush administration needs him, presumably until January 2009.

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