RICHER PUBLIC TEAT: Republican Charlie Collins will get a substantially bigger public paycheck beginning Jan. 2 when he leaves the legislature for a job in the Hutchinson administration. Brian Chilson

It’s official. Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, defeated for re-election by Democrat Denise Garner, won’t stop receiving a state paycheck when he leaves office at the end of the year. As I’d mentioned was a possibility before, he’s going to work for the Department of Finance and Administration.

He will be a budget and policy manager for the Department of Finance and Administration and be paid $95,381, more than doubling his legislative pay of $41,394, not counting per diem, and upping his potential public retirement benefits substantially because they are pegged to highest paying public jobs. In private life, he’d also worked for a personnel recruiting firm that specialized in finding people for Walmart and Sam’s Club jobs.

Spokesman Scott Hardin said Collins “will perform professional analysis and research of complex and critical issues that impact the state budget, regulation or policy. With knowledge of the budget from a legislative perspective and years of experience at Fortune 500 companies, along with an undergraduate degree in economics from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.A. in Quantitative Economics from George Washington University, he brings a unique skill set to DFA. In this position.”

He goes to work Jan. 2.

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When I reported the rumor about Collins joining a parade of former Republican legislators to higher-paying state jobs, I mentioned a rumor also that Republican legislator Duncan Baird, who is budget administrator at DFA, was expected to fill a job as head of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.  Long-time director Gail Stone was forced to retire from that job after the controlling board of the system was reconstituted with appointees of Gov. Asa Hutchinson. No word on that as yet. Baird remains at DFA and Collins will report to him. This is a new position in an administration that has been talking about its reductions in state payroll and a plan to transform state government with agency consolidation and other efficiencies.