Steve Goode, only recently given broad responsibility for several state regulatory agencies, has submitted his resignation effective Friday to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Goode, a Vilonia grocery store owner who grew to insider status as head of state Tobacco Control, had recently been put in charge of that agency, plus the combined enforcement and regulatory arms of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and the Racing Commission, now overseeing a multi-million-dollar and growing casino gambling industry. The move was part of Hutchinson’s “transformation” of government to fewer agencies, a process for which Goode was a key advisor.
Goode, who is also a Faulkner County JP, hasn’t responded to my queries. I got a copy of his resignation letter from the Department of Finance and Administration:
Governor Hutchinson and Secretary Walther
Please accept my resignation as of Friday February 28 th , 2020, as the Administrator of DFA Regulation. The purpose of my resignation is to pursue private sector opportunities and to devote more time to the retail supermarkets and cattle business that I currently own.
It has been an honor to serve you both, first as the Director of Tobacco Control and then as the Administrator of Regulation for Tobacco, Alcohol, Medical Marijuana, and Racing.
My hope for our team is that they will continue moving forward with the transformation and efficiencies that we began in July last year as they strive to serve all taxpayers and stakeholders in those industries. It has been a pleasure for me to serve the citizens of Arkansas, stakeholders, fellow state employees, legislators and both of you.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your administration.
The reference to private sector opportunities is interesting. Rumors have been circulating that Goode intends to cash in on government service by moving to the consulting/aka lobbying business. One rumor links him with a future relationship with a major tobacco company as well as a local nonprofit. If I hear from him on the point, I’ll pass it along.
There is a state law on the revolving door, but it’s easy to evade, as many who’ve moved into “consulting” as opposed to “lobbying” temporarily have demonstrated. For the record, the law says:
A former state official or employee shall not knowingly act as a principal or agent for anyone other than the state if he or she participated while serving in that capacity and the state is a party or has a direct or substantial interest: (1) A judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling, or other determination; (2) A contract; (3) A claim; or (4) A charge or controversy. Prohibition extends for 1 year after employment or service. Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-102.
Successor to Goode: no word yet