Roby Brock has a depressing report today on the state of Arkansas economy. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) released its June numbers showing that the unemployment rate has jumped to 8.1%, the highest since June 1987. The DWS tries to spin the numbers as best they can, but there is really no silver lining to a jobs report this bad.
With a report like this, you would think the DWS Director Artee Williams would be hard at work trying to turn this around. Think again. According to Max Brantley on the Times Blog, Williams is currently not employed by the DWS. After years on the job, he decided to retire…for 30 days.
You see, Williams is grandfathered in from having to comply with the new law passed by the state legislature to crack down on double-dipping. Williams is able to terminate his employment and then get re-hired for the same position 30 days later and draw both his salary and his retirement check from the taxpayers.
Oh, but surely, Gov. Mike Beebe would not allow Williams to be re-hired in such a dishonest system that cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars. After all, the budget is so tight and he has said he wants to elliminate waste and fraud in our state government. Would he reward the DWS director for going AWOL during such a horrible economic time by re-hiring him and doubling his pay?
Yep. Governor’s spokesman Matt DeCample tells Brantley they "cannot lose" him and that he has "done an exemplary job."
Here’s an idea: Advertise the position and let qualified candidates apply. Weigh the cost of re-hiring Williams against the cost of a new hire that does not come with a double-dip salary. Go with the option that is better for the taxpayers.