Asa Hutchinson said he’ll retain at least three current state agency heads when he takes office as governor — Jay Winters, director of the Arkansas Crime Information Center; Kermit Channell, director of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, and Arthur Boutiette, director of disability determination for Social Security Administration.
“As a former prosecutor, I understand the need for top notch law enforcement professionals in key positions supporting our prosecutors and police. I consider it one of the Governor’s greatest responsibilities. Kermit Channell, the current director at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, and Jay Winters, former Pope County Sheriff and current director of the Arkansas Crime Information Center, have those qualities and have done an outstanding job in their respective positions. I am happy to announce both have agreed to continue serving in their current roles.
“In the same way, I am excited to announce that Arthur Boutiette will continue in his current capacity as the director for the Disability Determination for Social Security Administration in Arkansas. Having worked under multiple Governors, Arthur is a long-time servant to the state and nationally regarded for his expertise in this particular arena.”
Boutiette is one of the people with long-standing Republican ties that Mike Beebe kept on when he became governor (despite questions about qualifications). It will be interesting to see if any identifiably Democratic state leaders hang on to state positions. (I don’t count Bill Walker, director of the Department of Career Education, in this number. He’s an incumbentocrat, as somebody once put it, ready to change coloration as the administration suits, even though he once held a legislative seat as a Democrat. If he survives it will because he played his I-love-Republicans card, as he once did with Mike Huckabee.)