Governor names former ABC lawyer as interim director | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 26, 2017

Governor names former ABC lawyer as interim director

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge MARY ROBIN CASTEEL - LR SOIREE
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  • MARY ROBIN CASTEEL
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that he'd named Mary Robin Casteel as interim director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.

It was only yesterday that resignations from the ABC were announced of Director Bud Roberts and the agency's two attorneys, Casteel and Milt Lueken.

Said the governor's news release:

Casteel is currently a staff attorney with ABC, but had planned to resign and enter private practice. At the request of the governor, she has agreed to serve as interim director of the agency until a permanent director is hired.

“I have a great deal of respect for Mary Robin, and am confident that her knowledge and leadership will serve the agency well during this time of transition,” said Governor Hutchinson. “The ABC serves an important role for the state, and I am glad she has agreed to help out and lead the organization as Interim Director.

Casteel, 38, joined ABC in 2013. The ABC regulates the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in Arkansas, and currently oversees more than 5,000 permit holders in the state.
Lueken, 73, said it was simply time for him to retire after 28 years, but he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette what I'd been told by another ABC source: that the governor had asked for Roberts' resignation. The governor's press aide repeatedly denied this. I'd also asked Casteel yesterday if she'd return to the agency if asked and she indicated she wasn't sure, though she insisted she'd been thinking about a move to private practice for a long time. She said she'd had no problems with Roberts' leadership, a potential factor cited by another source.

Casteel has been a pivotal worker in developing regulations the agency will use in overseeing the new medical marijuana law. Her resignation had been set to take effect June 16.

Casteel made about $73,000 as staff attorney and Roberts made about $89,000 as agency director. I've asked what her interim pay will be.

UPDATE: She''ll receive a pay raise above her staff pay, a DF&A spokesman said, but the precise figure hasn't been determined.

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