Republicans blast Beebe's push for Broadway | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Republicans blast Beebe's push for Broadway

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The Arkansas Republican Party unloads on Gov. Mike Beebe for pushing to have his "crony" Shane Broadway elevated to director of the state Higher Education Department when he lacks qualifications specified by state law for the job. The GOP nicks Beebe, too, because at least one member of the appointed board that will fill the job seems prepared to dispense with a prescribed search process.

The GOP engages in some silly, petty stuff sometimes. Make that often. But this is fair political commentary. (I do think it's somewhat silly to fault a politician for appointing or promoting a political friend to a job under his control or influence. He's going to appoint an enemy? But the law is another matter altogether.)

I'm reminded of the comment by a reader this morning that the governor and his Senate-days Bobbsey twin, chief of staff Morril Harriman, run the state like it was their private club. The governor also thinks the definition of tolerance is to silently tolerate whatever Mike Beebe says or does, no matter how off-key.

UPDATE: It's the governor's office contention — as I figured — that Broadway's time as interim director gave him the statutory job experience, including on college campuses, by virtue of his interim work managing the agency and his visits to most of the campuses in Arkansas. Spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor was also somewhat surprised at GOP criticism because Broadway had a proven record of ability to work in a bipartisan fashion in the legislature. He further said that while the statute may specify a "search," it doesn't specify the size or scope of such a search and the governor's office believes that determination is up to the Higher Ed board.

As a practical and probably legal matter, the governor's view is defensible. As a political matter, the Republicans are closer to "truth" on this one. It's a political deal where friendship counted more than qualifications.

BUT .... I had held off on this earlier, because the turncoat in question at least had some college teaching credentials and a law degree (and, turns out, a yen for law-breaking and gambling), but, a commenter notes:

I'm a little nonplussed that in all the hullabaloo over Beebe making them name Broadway as higher ed director no one calls attention to Mike Huckabee forcing the state Board of Education to name Lu Hardin as director of higher education and then as president of UCA. Lu with Mike's help used his position to undermine Win Thompson at UCA and set himself up for that job. Lu and Shane are both examples of political cronyism, Republican and Democratic.

Read on for GOP statement:


Governor Beebe Wants Friends in High Places

State GOP Questions Beebe’s Motivation Behind Broadway Selection

Little Rock, Ark. — Democrat Governor Mike Beebe wants friends in high places according to an article in Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette which reports that Beebe has requested former Democrat state senator, legislative ally and candidate for Lt. Governor Shane Broadway to become the permanent Director of Higher Education.

“It appears Governor Beebe is more interested in seeing his Democrat crony elevated to a cushy position in his administration, rather than following Arkansas law,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos. “This is just another classic example of the good ole boy network in full swing.”

According to Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-61-203 (a)(3):

“The director shall be an experienced educator in the field of higher education who demonstrates competence in the field of institutional management and finance. The director and key staff must have relevant experience on a campus of higher education."

To the contrary, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette clearly acknowledges that Broadway has no experience in higher education, but instead “holds a bachelor’s degree in political science…”

Meanwhile, according to the United State Census Bureau, Arkansas is ranked 49th in number of adults who hold bachelor degrees.

“We cannot afford to risk the future of higher education in Arkansas by allowing Governor Beebe to hand a political favor to a friend who lacks the necessary qualifications for the position,” said Vasilos. “Governor Beebe needs to shed the political motivation behind his intentions and take filling this position seriously.”

Further ignoring Arkansas law, Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman David Leech told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “We could discuss the process, or we could decide that we don’t want to do a nationwide search and that we’ve got the right person here now.” Beebe echoed that sentiment through a spokesman who said “the governor asked Leech to select Broadway.”

According to Arkansas Code Annotated § 25-7-101 (b):

“The executive head of the department shall be the Director of the Department of Education. The director shall be appointed by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board through a search and selection process that includes substantial input, review, and recommendation from the Presidents Council, subject to confirmation by the Governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.”

“Why is Governor Beebe discouraging a thoughtful search and selection process?” asked Vasilos. “While he may wish to bypass a nationwide search, he cannot and should not bypass Arkansas law.”


Arkansas Ranks 49th in Bachelor’s Degrees

“U.S. Census data released in December show that Arkansas ranks second from the bottom in degree-holding adults in the latter half of the decade, with only 18.9 percent of residents older than 25 holding bachelor’s degrees.” (Evie Blad, “Beebe: Let Broadway stay at higher-ed helm,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/29/11)

Beebe Takes Care of Broadway

“Gov. Mike Beebe asked a board chairman to select interim Higher Education Director Shane Broadway to permanently fill the post, officials said Tuesday. Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman David Leech said he planned to follow through on Beebe’s request, asking the board to hire Broadway at its July meeting.” (Evie Blad, “Beebe: Let Broadway stay at higher-ed helm,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/29/11)

“Broadway and Beebe have been legislative allies since they worked together as House speaker and Senate president pro tempore, respectively, from 2001-03.” (Evie Blad, “Beebe: Let Broadway stay at higher-ed helm,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/29/11)

Beebe Sought to Influence 2010 Lt. Governor Race

“Gov. Mike Beebe is willing to spend some of his political capital this election season and Democratic Lt. Governor hopeful Shane Broadway is happy to receive the payout. In an ad that debuts today, Beebe appears with Broadway on camera and says, 'For jobs for the future, for Lt. Governor, Shane Broadway is my choice.' Beebe and Broadway have worked together for years in the state legislature and executive branch of government.” (Roby Brock, “Beebe, Broadway partner in TV ad,” Talk Business, 10/28/10)

“Gov. Mike Beebe joined state Sen. Shane Broadway, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, at Broadway’s first stop today on a statewide campaign tour.” (John Lyon, “Beebe helps Broadway launch campaign tour,” Arkansas News Bureau, 9/14/10)

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