Tally so far at attorney general's office: 32 gone, including 15 lawyers, and 7 new hires | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tally so far at attorney general's office: 32 gone, including 15 lawyers, and 7 new hires

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 11:41 AM

JIM DEPRIEST: 22-year consumer protection lawyer among thosenot retained by new attorney general.
  • JIM DEPRIEST: 22-year consumer protection lawyer among thosenot retained by new attorney general.
In response to my Freedom of Information Act request, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office has supplied a roster of office staff on Monday, Dustin McDaniel's last day in office, and today, the first full day of the Rutledge administration.

A comparison of the list shows 30 gone from McDaniel's last day and seven new names today. Fifteen of those gone, many presumably dismissed as part of Monday's mass firings, were staff attorneys at various pay grades. If any others than those I've mentioned below left voluntarily and would like to say so, please let me know. UPDATE THURSDAY: I learned later two two more investigators — Chad Meli and Aaron Washington —had not been retained, taking the overall departure tally to 32.

Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere notes that there will be hires to fill vacancies. He didn't say this, but I expect further departures from holdovers from McDaniel's staff. Also, some existing staff members who were retained might have different assignments. 

The documents don't include some McDaniel employees who'd left ahead of his final day. And the McDaniel list also included at least one early Rutledge employee, Deere himself, added to the payroll to assist transition.

Any change of leadership was sure to bring changes, particularly a change from a Democratic to a Republican administration. A number of those gone predate McDaniel's arrival, however, and viewed themselves as career employees. In theory, the office operates in a non-partisan fashion, though, inevitably, it is often enmeshed in politics, particularly in legislative issues.

Notable departures include Jim DePriest, an office employee who'd headed the office's consumer protection efforts, and Scott Richardson, a key lawyer on education matters. Richardson, as well as another departing lawyer, Bart Calhoun, were part of McDaniel's previously announced plans to form a law firm. Also, Erika Gee, who was chief of staff, had always planned to return to private practice after McDaniel's term ended. And a reader says another departee, Mark Ohrenberger, had been planning an end-of-term departure since before the election.

Rutledge's new employees today are administrative assistant Leflore Barbour; Chief Deputy Julie Benafield; David McCoy, attorney general IV; Channing Pejic, administrative assistant II; Jessica Ray, executive secretary; Carl Vogelpohl, chief of staff; and Kenneth Warford, attorney general II.

UPDATE: Unconfirmed word of more departures this afternoon, including two criminal investigators.

Following are the 30 no longer employed and their former positions based on the morning lists:
Lea Ann Adams, attorney general VI
Ailen Bran, courier III
Syxzoski Brown, courier
Rhoda Brown, fiscal specialist II
Bart Calhoun, attorney general VIII
Hester Criswell, attorney general VI
James DePriest, attorney general II
Stephen DiGiovanna, investigator III
James Druff, attorney general III
Jimmy Ellington, investigator V
Lorraine Ferguson, secretary III
Erika Gee, attorney general I
Amanda Gibson, attorney general VII
William Greening, investigator V
Eileen Harrison, attorney general VI
Lauren Heil, attorney general V
Frederick Holcomb, administrative assistant
Kendra Jones, attorney general IV
Avis Lane, community relations director
Michael Mashburn, chief investigator
Mary Mills, secretary III
Mark Ohrenberger, attorney general IV
Steven Potett, network specialist II
Landon Reeves, attorney general VII
Scott Richardson, attorney general II
Nicana Sherman, attorney general VII
Joshua Standerfer, attorney general IV
Kristen Van Acker, administrative assistant II
Lentonieal Washington, administrative assistant I
Wesley Wilkins, administrative assistant III

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