Friday, September 14, 2012

Trevino stepping down as leader of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Robert Trevino is stepping down as commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, an agency that was the subject earlier today of a scathing audit for a laundry list of sloppy financial practices. The citations ranged from $20,000 overpayment to an employee on unpaid leave to failure to take bids on furniture and other items to sloppy travel and expense reimbursement practices.

Bill Walker, who leads the state department of which the division is a part, said in a news release that Trevino would move to a lesser position of associate director so that he'd have more time to care for his wife, who has been ill. Walker praised Trevino's service.

The news release didn't reveal a change in pay, if any and I've been unable to reach any agency officials since getting a tip on the impending change right around state government quitting time, 4:30 p.m. As commissioner, Trevino makes just under $110,000.

UPDATE: In an e-mail, Trevino said the job change would mean a "significant" reduction in pay. He didn't specify the new figure. Asked if the change had any relationship to today's audit, he said, "No sir."

Trevino has been commissioner of ARS since 2005. Before that, he worked as an advisor on the staff of Gov. Mike Huckabee. He's a former leader of the League of United Latin American Citizens, but was voted out of that position in a contentious organization split.

Trevino headed the agency where an unqualified person was hired as an interpreter for the deaf at the instigation of Bill Walker, director of the Arkansas Department of Career Services, which includes Trevindecisive soon. Under heat of KATV reporting, legislative inquiry and pressure from the governor, Walker took responsibility for the decision and transferred the woman, with whom he'd been associated in the funeral home business, to another job in the same agency for the same amount of money.

The news release on Trevino's job change follows. It takes effect Oct. 15

UPDATE: See jump for a memo Trevino sent to staff on the change. Also, Gov. Beebe's office said he'd have no comment on the change in the agency because that was an internal personnel issue. But as for the morning audit's finding, said Matt DeCample, "He finds the audit results despicable, and will be watching closely to see what changes are made."


LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Department of Career Education Director William L. “Bill” Walker, Jr., announced today that Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) Commissioner Robert Treviño will move into the position of ARS associate director for program planning, development and evaluation effective Oct. 15, 2012.

Treviño, who has served as commissioner since Oct. 1, 2005, said that he requested the transfer in order to spend more time assisting with his wife’s recovery from a brain hemorrhage and stroke. He said he had discussed his desire to step down from the commissioner position with Director Walker and with the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), the federal agency that is responsible for oversight of state vocational rehabilitation agencies.

“Commissioner Treviño has provided strong leadership for ARS, and I know he will continue to be a strong advocate for ARS and for Arkansans with disabilities,” Director Walker said. “I understand and respect his desire to be more available to his family, and I am happy that he will remain a member of my team.”

In his seven years as commissioner, Treviño oversaw the major renovations at the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI), as well as an overhaul of the education and training programs offered at ACTI. Under his leadership, ARS expanded it services to individuals with disabilities, established a high school transition program and implemented various other initiatives.

“I am proud of the work ARS has done, and I consider it a great privilege to be able to work for an agency that everyday improves the quality of life for individuals with disabilities,” said Treviño. “The work that ARS does is my passion, and I look forward to continuing my work while also being able to devote more time to my family.”

Director Walker said he will name an interim commissioner soon. The interim commissioner will serve until a permanent replacement is found.

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is a division of the Department of Career Education. ARS’s mission is to provide services that will lead to meaningful employment and independence for Arkansans with disabilities.


I have served as Commissioner of ARS for nearly 7 years. My term as Commissioner has been rewarding in the knowledge that we have presided over significant advances in the way the State of Arkansas serves people with disabilities who strive to create a meaningful career. I am especially appreciative of Governor Beebe’s decision to permit me to continue my devotion to public service in his administration. However, circumstances have compelled me to view my goals in a new light.

As you know, my wife Lori has suffered serious health problems during the past few years including a severe brain hemorrhage and stroke. While she has made great progress, she recently suffered a setback that requires additional medical therapy. Additionally, my Mother’s recent passing has left me with significant responsibilities related to matters of her estate.

Managing ARS effectively requires a great deal of energy and focus as well as countless hours of document review, preparation, and decision-making. Given the weight of the responsibilities in my private life, I feel that the agency’s interest would be better served by permitting me to step down from my responsibilities as Commissioner and instead serve in a role that permits me to fulfill my most important commitment in life. Consequently, I have requested and received permission to serve as the Manager of Program, Planning, Development, and Evaluation in ARS which became vacant this summer due to retirement. I am deeply grateful to Governor Beebe and Director Walker for their kind consideration.

Finally, I am deeply grateful for the support you have shown me during the past 7 years and I look forward to working with you in my new role.

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