In recent days tips have been flowing in about Hutchinson’s ideas for reducing the number of cabinet-level departments in the name of “transformation.” He says he’ll soon be outlining these ideas. Two biggies reported to be in the works:
* Merging the Arkansas Economic Development Commission with Parks and Tourism and the Department of Arkansas Heritage, making first-class flyer Mike Preston at AEDC boss of all the ad dollars one man could possibly survey. The idea has the tourism industry nervous, as well it should. Tourism is big business — producing a whole lot more
* A Homeland Security Department. This would include perhaps the State Police, Emergency Management, the drug office and more. Heck, maybe they could roll up the National Guard, too.
Whatever final details emerge — and I’m seeking them — they will be sold to the legislature as efficiency producing. I’m skeptical. No combinations eliminate agencies. Former department heads will be division heads. But there WILL be new bureaucracy — new
If “efficiencies” do result, they will mean the loss of many lower-level jobs, of the sort — such as the probation and parole officers Sheila Sharp
Oh, retirees got a respite yesterday. Hutchinson says he has no intention of combining the multiple state retirement systems. Managing financial accounts for different types of workers doesn’t make sense, he said. Whereas mushing the groundskeepers at Toltec Mounds State Park under the umbrella the Department of Chinese Corporate Welfare does. (A scary thought: What if Stacy Hurst, now presiding over the