Thursday, April 10, 2014

Johnny Key among three finalists for UA lobbying position

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge KEY: Hoping to cash in.
  • KEY: Hoping to cash in.
The University of Arkansas has announced its three finalists for the position of vice chancellor for governmental relations (read: lobbyist), to replace Richard Hudson, who will retire at the end of July. Hudson is making $202,000 per year. The job posting does not list a salary but the university could pay the new hire anywhere between $177,226 and $221,532 based on what is allowable in the state budget*. The finalists:

*Mac Campbell, a former aide to Sen. Blanche Lincoln
*Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home)
*Randy Massanelli, state director for Sen. Mark Pryor

Juicy list! A final recommendation will be made by a committee appointed earlier this year by UA Chancellor David Gearhart. Gearhart will make the final decision.

Many believe the wheels have been greased for Key, who chose not to seek re-election, opening the door for Rep. John Burris to run for his seat. 

The potential hop that Key would make is plenty smelly: from the Capitol presiding over UA's budget as chair of the higher education budget subcommittee... to a high-paid gig lobbying at the Capitol for UA. Smelly, but not illegal under current law. 

Campbell and Massanelli are well-connected insiders in their own right but Key has to be the favorite given the Republican makeup of the legislature and Key's, well, recent tenure serving in the body that will need lobbying. 

Bummer for Mark Darr, who must have juuuuuuuust missed the cut. 

*An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the new hire would earn $202,000.

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