Ray Hobbs, director of the Arkansas Correction Department, sent notice to employees that he was retiring Nov. 1.

He was named director by the Board of Correction in 2010, after the departure of Larry Norris.

Hobbs, 62, has almost 40 years at the department. He started as a correctional officer at the Tucker Unit in 1975. He rose through the ranks to warden and then chief deputy director in 2001. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from UALR..

He distributed this letter today:

Dear Governor Beebe, Board of Corrections Members and ADC Staff:

After much prayer, reflections, humility and noting a career of almost forty years (39 years and 10 months) in corrections, I have reached the decision to retire effective November 1, 2014.

I have expressed my appreciation to Governor Beebe for the opportunity to serve as Director of the Arkansas Department of Correction. I am expressing my appreciation for the wisdom shared with me by the Board of Corrections during good times and during difficult times.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to all the ADC staff for your commitment, dedication and loyalty to carrying out the Mission of the Arkansas Department of Correction to protect the public, staff and inmates every day. I am forever grateful to have served with you in the mission.

Please stay safe and secure at all times. I continue to pray that each and every member of my ADC family go home safely after serving this agency.

Sincerely,

Ray Hobbs
Director

The Board of Correction will decide on interim leadership and set the replacement procedures. Governors traditionally have some influence in the choice and it will be interesting to see how quickly the process moves. Gov. Mike Beebe leaves office in January. The board’s next meeting is scheduled at the end of October, but they will likely meet before then. They could move quickly to elevate an inside candidate, is worth noting.

Spokeswoman Shea Wilson said of Hobbs, “He was upbeat today, but it was bittersweet. He loved his work. He’s looking forward to enjoying the next step.” Hobbs is paid about $147,000.