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Second pick

Former Grant County Sheriff Lance Huey went to work Tuesday as security director of the Arkansas lottery, at a salary of more than $115,000 a year.

Huey wasn't the only person offered the job, unlike some other lottery jobs in which director Ernie Passailaigue sought specific candidates for top positions. The Insider is told the job was offered — at the same top end of the authorized pay scale — to Lt. Col. Tim K'Nuckles, deputy director of the Arkansas State Police.

Though the job would have meant a substantial pay raise, K'Nuckles chose to stay with the State Police. He could be the top man some day.

There was a side effect of the job offer. We also hear. Gov. Mike Beebe sent a message through an aide to Passailaigue to keep his mitts off Beebe administration officialdom. Intrastate bidding wars don't make much sense in a tight economy.

 

 

‘Family' man Pryor

There's been a new round of interest in the Family, a secretive religious organization that has been wielding influence — from a conservative as well as an evangelical Christian perspective — in Washington since its founding 74 years ago to fight the New Deal.

The family underwrites the C Street House, a D.C. apartment house for a number of conservative Republican members of Congress. It has become a house of ill repute because of the activities of its recent residents, philandering Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford and former Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi.

Salon magazine published a long article about the Family this week by Jeff Sharlet, who wrote a book about the group.

The article listed “men under the Family's counsel.” They are mostly Republicans, but include U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. Sharlet wrote: “Sen. Pryor explained to me the meaning of bipartisanship he'd learned through the Family: ‘Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over.' And by Jesus, the Family means the Family.” Pryor has served as co-chair of the Family's National Prayer Breakfast.

COMMENT RECEIVED TOO LATE FOR PRINT EDITION: Michael Teague, a spokesman for Pryor, calls Sharlet a "nut job." He says there's no record that Pryor has ever talked to Sharlet and he disputes the validity of the quote. He says Pryor is not a "member" of the Family and says it's a stretch to link him to the group merely for his co-chairmanship of the Family'-sponsored National Prayer Breakfast.

Sharlet responded to Teague's comment angrily. He said he had spoken to Pryor for an article he wrote several years ago for Rolling Stone. He said that Pryor was responding to unflattering attention by trying to turn the attention to the writer of the article.

 

 

Westward ho

Sharon Priest, director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, has written a letter to the Arkansas congressional delegation  asking it to review the Social Security Administration's plans to move its office from the federal building on Capitol Avenue to a new “build-to-suit” building in an office park in western Little Rock at Bowman Road and Executive Center Drive.

Social Security is soliciting proposals to build a two-story, 47,000-square-foot building on a site not currently on a bus line. Priest wants the delegation to see if the proposed move comports with long-standing executive orders that encourage federal office buildings in historic city cores and consultation with local officials. She'd prefer new construction downtown, of course.

The move caught downtown advocates by surprise. It shouldn't have. The request for building proposals follows an earlier public request for potential sites for the building and led to the government's option on the five-acre site. A number of sites were submitted, one local developer said. The official from Texas who's overseeing the project made trips to Little Rock to inspect the potential sites. All, our source said, were west of University Avenue and north of Colonel Glenn Road to the Arkansas River. The office serves the southern half of Pulaski County and Saline County.

The proposal specifies 272 surface parking spots. That amount of parking would be a difficult requirement downtown without construction of an expensive parking deck, our source said.

The developer will be chosen in a two-step process. The first phase, not completed, is to screen would-be developers as qualified. Then there will be a competitive phase on design and cost.

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