Multiple sources, including a member of the history listserv maintained by the University of Arkansas that is widely disseminated, report that a key employee of the Department of Arkansas Heritage has been fired.
The spokesperson for DAH says the person is still on the job, which is why we are not naming the employee. But still on the job could mean anything. Perhaps the employee was fired but was asked to stay for a bit. Who knows?
The post on the history listserve was the sixth contact to the Times today reporting the employee was fired.
DAH confirmed that another employee, Patricia Blick, deputy director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, one of DAH’s several divisions, has resigned to take a job as head of the Quapaw Quarter Association. Spokesperson Melissa Whitfield released his note that was sent to the staff:
I am very sorry to report that Patricia has given her notice this morning. She has accepted the executive director position at the QQA. They have no idea how lucky they are to have her because I know how very much she will be missed at AHPP. Please join me in wishing her the best in her new job. Her last day here is Friday, January 27.
Blick’s resignation and the other employee’s firing, if true, add to the parade of employees who have left DAH since the Hutchinson administration put Stacy Hurst in as director. The most recent high-profile exit was by the agency’s archeologist in charge of the federal Section 106 reports required by the National Historic Preservation Act when sites that have received federal dollars undergo alterations. Previously, the head of the Delta Cultural Center was apparently asked to resign, as were two deputies to the director, the
head of the Arkansas Arts Council and others.
NOTE: Joy Pennington, the former head of the Arts Council, emailed me today to say she resigned to take a job at Arkansans for the Arts, and not under pressure.