Without dissent this morning, the Arkansas Senate approved SB 139 to allow Gov. Mike Beebe not to call a special election this year to fill the office of lieutenant governor, vacated Feb. 1 by Mark Darr’s resignation over misuse of taxpayer and campaign money. The bill goes to the House. For now, the deadwood four-person staff in the office still can look forward to a year’s pay for doing nothing.
Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux, who’s claimed effective succession to the office despite an absence of constitutional or statutory authority for this move and used that seized power to protect the office staff, praised bipartisan cooperation on the legislation. He continues to wage partisan opposition to reducing state expenses for the $267,000 four-person payroll of the office, which now has nothing to do. The staff is, however, larded with Republican insiders, from $75,000-a-year chief of staff Bruce Campbell, father-in-law of Republican Joint Budget Co-Chair Bruce Campbell and “director of government relations” chief Josh Curtis, who makes $51,000 despite having no duties. He found time today to announce his bid for re-election as a justice of the peace in Saline County, where his father is county clerk.