The Mansion takeover: Of course it was Hutchinson's idea | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Mansion takeover: Of course it was Hutchinson's idea

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 7:14 AM

click to enlarge NO LONGER THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE: Legislation makes Gov. Asa Hutchinson the sole proprietor.
  • NO LONGER THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE: Legislation makes Gov. Asa Hutchinson the sole proprietor.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, after the deed was done, got today into the legislation for Gov. Asa Hutchinson to take over the Governor's Mansion. The bill stripped the Commission of its historic power to control additions and purchases. It makes all commissioners serve at the will of the governor. It gave a voting seat to the governor's faithful Heritage department director, Stacy Hurst.

Short take from Hutchinson-friendly spokespeople quoted in the story: The Commission was a lawless bunch — no rules, no FOI — and it wasn't the governor's idea but the idea of House Speaker Jeremy Gillam and Sen.Missy Irvin.

1) Let's get the balderdash out of the way. Of course it was the governor's idea. Or maybe more precisely First Lady Susan Hutchinson, whose decorating tastes  run counter to the period furnishings favored by past commissioners for the public rooms. She also, like some first ladies before her, doesn't much like welcoming public visitors through the public rooms below and above the first family's personal space. Expect them to be moved to a side entrance.

2) The press/public has never been denied admission to scheduled Mansion's Commission meetings. Regrettably, none attended some the last year or so, when First Lady Susan Hutchinson's unhappiness about outside oversight became apparent.

3) The Commission was working on adopting administrative rules, though Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, already an ex officio member of the Commission, scuttled at least one meeting on the rules proposals. (Now that she's a voting member, will her family flower shop be able to sell decorative items to the Mansion?)

4) The article didn't mention the $1.1 million the Hutchinsons got from an agency under Hurst's control for Mansion work including upgrades to private space and some special treatment for a piece of sculpture the first lady particularly admires.

5) There was no mention of a policy shift that has made the Mansion and its great hall — built through a bipartisan fund-raising effort — less available for use by nonprofit groups.

There's time to look further and to compare public use and spending by the Hutchinson administration and the Beebe administration. A good start is that $1.1 million for upgrades, including to personal space, in a year when state employees were penciled out of a pay raise by Gov. Hutchinson because every dime was needed to pay for a highway spending program.

PS: I'd also like an accounting of expenses on redecorating and furnishings in the governor's office. His office won't supply that accounting. Some of it may be buried in Republican Party financial reports, but some expenditures that I know were made don't appear on 2015 state GOP reports. $34,000 in payments to Tipton and Hurst do.  Hurst of course provided cover for the guv in today's D-G.


Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (18)

Showing 1-18 of 18

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-18 of 18

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Today in Trump: Obstruction of justice anyone?

    It's the New York Times with the news today. Fired FBI Director James Comey kept notes of his talks with Donald Trump. A memo he wrote in February after a meeting with Trump said the president asked him to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.
    • May 16, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation