Saturday, September 10, 2016

State to re-bid youth services contracts; senator in thick of negotiating for client

Posted By on Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 8:11 AM

LEGISLATOR LAWYERING: Jeremy Hutchinson brings influence to bear on state agency.
  • LEGISLATOR LAWYERING: Jeremy Hutchinson brings influence to bear on state agency.
The state Department of Human Services says it will re-evaluate bids to operate Youth Services facilities after complaints from current operators who stood to lose the work to an out-of-state bidder with a higher price. Report from Arkansas News Bureau.

DHS had chosen Youth Opportunities Investments of Carmel, Ind., based on a variety of criteria, not just price. Protests were filed by South Arkansas Youth Services of Magnolia, which operates facilities in Mansfield, and by Consolidated Youth Services of Jonesboro, which has facilities in Colt and Harrisburg.

I have been remiss in not noting earlier in this process the off-smell of Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson being hired as a private lawyer for South Arkansas Youth Services and negotiating "settlements." He can call this lawyering. I call it lobbying a state agency that needs the senator's votes in many other issues.

Hutchinson tends to leave an aroma. Keep a lookout for gambling enterprises whose interests Hutchinson represents. It starts, but does not end, with his successful advocacy of a junior casino license for Dave and Buster's, where you  can win expensive prizes if you pump enough coins into their machines. It might be time to bring back the Batman photo.

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