This news release from the office of the non-existent lieutenant governor in the name of Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux beats all:
On February 2, 2014 Mark Darr resigned as Lieutenant Governor of the State of Arkansas. In his role as Lieutenant Governor he served as the Presiding Officer of the Senate.
I serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. With the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Darr, per the constitution of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Arkansas State Senate, I will now fill the role of Presiding Officer and President of the Senate.
As President of the Senate, I will now assume a supervisory role of current employees of the Office of Lieutenant Governor, and I will rely on them to help me carry out my duties. The Lieutenant Governor’s office exists in the constitution to fulfill the duties of Governor in the event of death, resignation, or disability of our current Arkansas Governor.
In fulfilling this responsibility I will not be doing the following: I will not be signing legislation, I will not utilize the services of the Arkansas State Police, and I will not take the salary of Lieutenant Governor, or take any action unless requested by or coordinated with the Governor’s office except in extraordinary circumstances.
On Monday we will begin our fiscal session. With many important issues facing the State of Arkansas, I ask for my colleagues’ patience as we work through this issue of first impression.
This raises question that I”ve posed to Lamoureux
1) Where in statute or Constitution does it state that the Senate pro ten rises to full presiding officer if there is no lieutenant governor?
2) Where in statute or Constitution does it give Lamoureux supervisory authority over staff hired by someone else and working under an appropriation by the legislature, not Michael Lamoureux.
3) What functional duties — functional, I emphasize — does Lamoureux now have that he did not already have?
4) What new work do these essentially non-existent duties require that the staff of the state Senate staff was not already providing him as pro tem?
5) Isn’t the existing governor’s staff better qualified and suited to function in an official capacity should there really be a vacancy in the office than the political hanger-on do-nothings assembled by the unethical, expense-account cheating Darr?
6 Are you s***ting me?
Lamoureux has put his stake in the ground. Lean government and meaningful work are only catch phrases without meaning to the Republican Party. People who want medical insurance, an increase in the minimum wage, extended unemployment compensation are deadbeat worthless welfare chiselers. The $267,000 staff of four Republican political hacks hired by a meaningless former officeholder — a group that includes people who handled and signed off on his illegal expense reimbursements — must be protected from unemployment at all costs (in their case from $16 to $36 an hour) I’ve been meaning to ask if Bruce Campbell, father-in-law of powerful Republican Rep. Duncan Baird (a candidate for treasurer) and a long-time patronage appointee on the state teat, might already be drawing public employee retirement. Feels like he’s been around long enough doing not much for a lot, including sending along Mark Darr’s reimbursement forms to pay him for expenses to which he wasn’t entitled.
It’s an outrage.
The Times’ Big Picture feature dreamed up some ideas for Darr’s staff to kill time on the teat. We left out “continue to do-nothing under a fig leaf provided by a Republican crony.”
One more thing for King Mike: Now that you’ve declared herself as president of the senate, the equivalent of lieutenant governor, I believe this makes all your correspondence and paperwork open under the FOI. No more legislative exemption for you in that role, right? My first request is for lobbyist communications — let’s start with telephone companies — relative to legislation you’ve handled.
UPDATE: While I was out at the Rep, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a statement taking exception:
“Sen. Lamoureux is my friend and I respect him greatly. However, I believe that the press release issued on his behalf inartfully describes his constitutional powers and duties.
“The president pro tem is an important role in our state government and that person fulfills the duties of the president of the Senate if the president of the Senate is unavailable. That unavailability could be due to death, resignation or mere absence. However, the president pro tem does not become the Senate president simply because that office is vacant. Unless the voters fill the office of lieutenant governor, no one else can supervise the staff of the lieutenant governor’s office.
“I have spoken with Sen. Lamoureux this evening to inform him that I am at his service and my office will do all that we can to assist him in accomplishing whatever goals that he wishes to achieve within our existing constitutional framework.”
Lamoureux, who’s apparently lost his mind, told Stephens Media that he doesn’t take advice from the attorney general of Arkansas, but from an opinion of Steve Cook, chief counsel of the Senate. With all due respect to Steve Cook, who’s a nice guy of long government service, do you REALLY think as a paid member of a staff headed by Lamoureux that he’s not going to tell King Mike what he wants to hear.
PS — After Win Rockefeller died, did Sen. Argue declare himself acting lt. governor and run Rockefeller’s staff? He did not.