Could Lieutenant Governor's Office Go Away?
(KATV)-Six states do have not a lieutenant governor position, some in Arkansas believe the office should go away completely. Although Lt. Gov. Mark Darr submitted his resignation to the people of Arkansas, he has not officially resigned. His office says that he will formally comply with his resignation by Feb. 1.
Arkansas law says that a special election must be held within 150 days of a vacancy, but that could cost the tax payers up to $3.6 million dollars. Legislators could also approve during the fiscal session to keep the seat open until the general election.
Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller passed away in 2006. His position remained open until the general election. A former staff member of his said even Rockefeller jokes the position of lieutenant governor was not completely necessary.
"Well he said it was a spare tire, or the office was a spare tire. Kept it pumped up, locked away and everyone hopes they don't use it," said Steve Brawner, Rockefeller's former spokesman.
Today Darr's staff told Channel 7 News that they had not received any formal direction on if they would continue working once Darr left the office in February.
"This is an office that can sometimes struggle to stay busy anyway and now there's not even an office holder there. So I mean, they have an entire year before somebody else takes this job, so I'm not exactly sure what they're going to figure out to do with their time while they are there," Brawner said.
State Sen. Keith Ingram tried to have the office abolished in 2009 and 2011. He says he'll introduce the idea again in the next session. But that won't happen until 2015. It would have to be a constitutional amendment and then be placed on the ballot for public to vote on in 2016.
"The business man in me has always questioned why we need 400,000 worth of lieutenant governor's staff when the function is very minimal at best," Ingram said.