MARIJUANA SALES: Medical marijuana patients in Arkansas spent more than $141 million at the state's dispensaries through the first six months of the year.

Andy Babbitt has been named state controller and deputy director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, according to an announcement by the department yesterday. 

Babbitt, who is a certified public accountant and fraud examiner, will oversee the department’s accounting division. The division ensures financial integrity in state financial records, including all accounting and reporting for the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security known as CARES and the American Rescue Plan Act known as ARPA. 

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Babbitt joined Arkansas Legislative Audit in 1995 and worked as a senior auditor before joining the Department of Finance and Administration as an accounting manager in 2021. 

Babbitt’s salary will increase from $118,086 to $150,702, according to department spokesman Scott Hardin.

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Babbitt was selected for the position by Secretary Larry Walther who leads the department. The position does not require gubernatorial appointment.

“This is a critical position for DFA and the State of Arkansas,” Walther said in a press release. “The position requires significant high-level accounting experience along with a thorough understanding of state services and Departments. With decades of experience auditing Departments throughout state government, Andy brings the skill set needed to the State Controller role. I look forward to Andy leading this talented team.”

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