Favorite

What is Leslie Rutledge hiding? 

Leslie Rutledge, the Republican nominee for attorney general, is stonewalling attempts to understand why superiors said should she not be rehired after abruptly resigning as a juvenile court lawyer for the Department of Human Services effective Dec. 3, 2007. A supervisor, in a note added to her file 10 days after she left, stated the reason was "gross misconduct."

An examination of Rutledge's personnel file is limited by state law. Records that constitute job evaluations are exempt from disclosure under the open records law unless an employee has been fired or suspended. Employees may voluntarily release such records, however Rutledge refuses to allow release of all her personnel records. She also did not return calls after a limited document release produced emails to and from her that demonstrated she'd mishandled aspects of at least three cases — two adoptions and an appearance in juvenile court. Failure to call a subpoenaed witness in juvenile court prompted a supervisor to ask Rutledge to meet with her Nov. 15, 2007. DHS records contain no further e-mails by Leslie Rutledge after that supervisor's final request for a meeting and Dec. 3, when her resignation took effect.

The Democrat-Gazette did get a response from Rutledge to calls from Democrats that she disclose all relevant information about her work history for the state.

"I have no confidence in those files and what is contained in those records," Rutledge said. "The real concern [should be] how and why a state agency would change an employee's personnel file 10 days after they resigned voluntarily."

Does she have no confidence in her own e-mails, which reflect problems — perhaps minor, we still don't know — in three cases? We do know that it is not unusual for employers to add notes to former employees files after departure, particularly when differences existed and repercussions were possible. Rutledge had been hired on an "emergency" basis while Mike Huckabee, a Republican was governor. Her father, Keith Rutledge, was a Huckabee supporter and his drug czar.

Here's what we also know:

Leslie Rutledge seeks to be the state's top lawyer, attorney general.

On account of purported "gross misconduct," Rutledge would not be eligible to be hired by a state agency the attorney general represents.

DHS files contain more information about Rutledge's mishandling of cases. Rutledge refuses to allow that information to be released.

Rutledge has had at least nine jobs since graduating from law school in 2001 and the work has left few notable marks. Apart from a few months in private practice in Jacksonville and her establishment of a personal law firm in Little Rock when she returned from Washington after the 2012 election, her jobs have been in partisan political or government/patronage positions. A family friend hired her as Court of Appeals law clerk; she worked for 14 months for a Republican prosecutor (on which she bases her campaign claim that she's an "experienced prosecutor); she worked 10 months for Gov. Mike Huckabee before an abrupt departure (she had no new job and didn't find one with the Lonoke prosecutor until a couple of months later), and she worked for the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and the Republican National Committee. A search of the state and federal eastern district court databases turns up no cases in which Rutledge has participated as a lawyer since a divorce case in 2007.

Work history counts. To borrow from Rutledge, it's hard to have confidence in her based on the sketchiness of her resume. She should open the doors to a full inspection of her work for children in distress. She won't. Voters deserve better and should remember that in considering the deeper record of her Democratic opponent, Nate Steel.

Since the column was published, Rutledge has further demonstrated she's unfit for office. See here and here.

Max Brantley is on vacation. This column appeared first on the Arkansas Blog.

Favorite

Speaking of Leslie Rutledge

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Kids count, not confidentiality

    The trial for the murder of Isaiah Torres, 6, was a reminder again of a gaping hole in the law pertaining to child protective services.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Fixing blame: President Trump

    Did the press fail? Were liberal-leaning journalists on the coasts responsible for missing the Trump wave among middle-to-lower income white voters with lower educational attainment?
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Can we get along?

    he Times production deadline fell before polls closed this week, so I'll look to the past and future.
    • Nov 10, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.
  • Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    No state political party in the modern era has had a more abrupt fall than Arkansas's Democrats

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Worth it

    • Alas, Gene's memory ain't what it used to be. He wrote a column some time…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: Forget identity politics

    • Hillarys 'Stronger Together' nonsense failed because she failed to make it a reality. As Gene…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: Fake economics

    • Trump economic proposals: Rates for Married-Joint filers: Less than $75,000: 12% More than $75,000 but…

    • on December 5, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation