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Friday, January 31, 2014

Mark Darr submitted resignation letter to Mark Martin, legislative leaders, but not governor

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge markdarrresigns.PNG

I've just received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request a batch of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr office correspondence related to his departure from office.

It includes the letter above, dated Jan. 21, he sent to Secretary of State Mark Martin and copied to House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux. There is no letter to Gov. Mike Beebe, who has sole authority under Arkansas law to declare the office vacant.

As recently as Thursday, Darr's communications director Amber Pool had told reporters that Darr would resign "with all formal protocols concerning his  departure from office by Feb. 1, 2014." In his original announcement Jan. 10 of an intention to resign following news of his violation of campaign finance law and misspending of his public expense account, he said he resigned to "the people," not to any state official. But he later insisted he'd follow protocol.

I'm awaiting a response to my question of whether Darr's letter to Martin is considered the formal protocol, or if a letter to Beebe is to come.

I've also asked Beebe's office for its view of the situation. And Mark Martin's office.

The batch of information includes directed remakes of the office's website to eliminate sections to contact Darr. But an avenue to contact the staff will remain. The office clearly anticipates remaining in place, though there were no documents responsive to my request about such materials. It's a wonder where they have authority to work given the man who hired them is out of a job.

Here's the file produced in response to my FOI.  Among others, it includes office responses directing to Darr questions about Darr's promise to pay an $11,000 fine in installments and almost $10,000 in personal expenses paid by the state.

UPDATE: Though the letter to Martin was dated Jan. 21, Alex Reed of Martin's office said his office had received it 30 minutes ago and gave a copy to the governor. "That is all of our role in this matter," he said.

UPDATE II: Beebe's spokesman Matt DeCample chimes in: "With reception of that letter, we consider it official and we'll decide how to act from there come next week since he'll be resigning over the weekend." He said the office had just received a copy of the letter time-stamped by the secretary of state this afternoon.

UPDATE III: Amber Pool of Darr's office says this is the extent of communications expected today from Darr and that it constituted the "protocols" mentioned earlier.

Not exactly a grace note in departure.

I couldn't reach the Ethics Commission on whether it had received Darr's first $1,000 fine installment. The auditor's office said Darr's office has inquired about the details on submitting the $9,800 he owes the state, but so far has not. He also need to submit a duplicate of an earlier $1,200 check that he wrote to cover personal expenses charged to the state, but apparently misplaced by the depository bank. The auditor also received a copy of the resignation letter, which should terminate his place on state payroll. He made almost $42,000 a year.

UPDATE: Mark Darr produced an official office certificate to attach to the Darr letter. They're big into certificates.

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