Another piece of transition news: Martha Miller has told staff that she’ll be departing as director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
She got the word yesterday from Michael Lamoureux, incoming Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff, that he’d be making a change in the leadership.
Miller has been director for two years. She comes from a deep Democratic tradition and so is another who’d been thought unlikely to remain under the administration of Asa Hutchinson. Her father was long-time Democratic Rep. John Miller of Melbourne. She once was married to Morril Harriman, Gov. Mike Beebe’s chief of staff.
In recent days, Republicans have raised questions about the cost of land her agency purchased for a new headquarters on the Arkansas River near the Baring Cross railroad bridge. Miller, 62, is a lawyer and had been deputy director of the department’s museum division before becoming director.
As in other agencies, Miller will remain on the job for the time being. Hutchinson doesn’t take office until Jan. 13.
Miller’s note to staff yesterday:
Dear DAH Staff,
I learned today from Governor-elect Hutchinson’s chief of staff that the Governor has decided to take a new direction with the director’s position of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, so I will be submitting my resignation before he takes office on January 13. I have committed to Governor-elect Hutchinson and his transition team that I will work with the new Administration to make this change as seamless as I can.
My two years as your director and the year prior to that as deputy director for museums have been some of the most fulfilling years of my lifetime and career. Protecting the history, heritage and culture of Arkansas has been a task I have loved. I will always be your champion. Representing you and working with you has been a blessing and a delight.
Keep up the good work,
This adds to the Education Department, Career Education, Securities Department, Economic Development Commission, Workforce Services and State Police where plans for new leaders have been announced. Hutchinson has said he’d be happy to have Shane Broadway stay at Higher Education, but I believe he said so with the understanding that Broadway would soon be hired as the next lobbyist at Arkansas State University. ASU nominally is having a search process to fill that job, but I suspect it’s a formality. Department of Finance and Administration will have a new leader on Richard Weiss’ retirement. No word yet on the Department of Human Services, the state’s biggest.
It doesn’t ease the news for those directly affected — nor for employees who might have cause for concern about a change in leadership — but the many changes are no less than you could expect from a change from Democratic to Republican administration.