Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Full-time secretary of state aide moonlights as Fairfield Bay city attorney

Posted By on Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 3:33 PM

BUSY MAN. A. J. Kelly makes $100,000 from the state and more working for Fairfield Bay.
  • BUSY MAN. A. J. Kelly makes $100,000 from the state and more working for Fairfield Bay.
Blue Hog Report digs up some more dirt on Secretary of State Mark Martin's office.

In his obsessive fashion, the Blue Hog (Matt Campbell, a Little Rock lawyer) has put together public documents into a damning case of taxpayer abuse by A. J. Kelly, Mark Martin's deputy secretary of state for elections, legal and business and commercial services.

Kelly is a lawyer. He is paid $100,043 a year. But he is too busy to represent Mark Martin in legal matters, such as the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Campbell filed. For that, the office has turned to expensive outside counsel. That, in turn, led to Campbell's successful legal pleading that Martin's office had broken the state law that required the office to get attorney general approval to hire outside counsel.

Perhaps Kelly might have had more time to look up that statute but for the fact that — while a $100,000 state employee with all the perks that accrue — he has a part-time job as Fairfield Bay city attorney. He doesn't make as much in that job as he once did, but it still produced almost $18,700 for him in 2012, at $125 an hour.

But wait, there's more.

Blue Hog's examination of e-mailing from the secretary of state office and leave records provide circumstantial evidence that he did some of this outside legal work on state time. E-mails were sent during office hours. Documents created during office hours were transmitted by Kelly. He has billed the city for meetings in Fairfield Bay at times for which secretary of state records reflect that he didn't take leave time. CORRECTION: The emails were sent on Kelly's AOL account to Fairfield Bay at times that fall during secretary of state office hours.

State voters should care. But when you have the name of a famous race car driver, many things are forgiven. Blue Hog says Fairfield Bay residents should doubly care:

Taxpayers pay A.J. Kelly $100,043.62 per year in his position with the Secretary of State, in a state where the median household income is barely over $40,000. No one can honestly say that they have no problem with a full-time state employee spending his well-compensated work hours performing a second job and getting paid for both.

And if you happen to be a taxpayer in Fairfield Bay, you are really getting shafted. In addition to your tax dollars paying Kelly’s state salary, you also paid him an additional $18696.50 in 2012 alone. Fairfield Bay Municipal Code states only that the city attorney is appointed and serves at the pleasure of the mayor and city council. It doesn’t define a salary or limit his billing rate, so Kelly is free to bill your town $125/hr for answering emails from his other job, and he’s apparently allowed to bill you by submitting little more than a list of dates and actions (with no amount of time specified for each event) and claim 135 total billable hours that you have no way of verifying
.
I've asked the secretary of state's office for comment on Kelly's moonlighting generally and specifically on whether he's doing contract work on state time.

Imagine, for a moment, what Republican Chair Doyle Webb might say if this double-dipping were to be discovered in a Democrat's office staff.

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