Wed, Feb 7, 2024 4:16 PM
By Kim Jarrett, The Center Square
A former state senator declined to accept a role with the Arkansas Board of Corrections after the firing of the corrections secretary, leaving it unclear as to the board's next move.
The board does not have another meeting scheduled, Dina Tyler, a spokesperson with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, said in an email to The Center Square.
Former state senator Eddie Joe Williams turned down an appointment offered by the board this week.
Attorney General Tim Griffin said in a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, that he thinks Williams did the right thing by not accepting the position with the board.
"Sen. Williams made the right and honorable decision by refusing to accept the illegal appointment offered by the Board of Corrections," Griffin said. "I appreciate and applaud his clarity of thought and strength of character at a critical and undoubtedly stressful time."
Former Secretary of Corrections Joe Profiri was fired last month, a casualty of the battle over who controls the position's appointment.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a bill passed by lawmakers last year gives her the authority to appoint the secretary. The board has sued Sanders, saying the authority rests with it.
A judge has sided with the board and issued a temporary injunction stopping the law.
The board and Sanders have been at odds since a November press conference where she, Profiri, Griffin and law enforcement officers from throughout the state said the board should add nearly 500 new prison beds requested by Profiri. The board shot back in its lawsuit and said Profiri had not vetted the addition, which the board said could create a safety issue for staff and inmates.
Profiri accepted a position with Sanders' administration as an advisor at a salary of $210,699.89. That's a higher salary than Sanders' or her staff, according to records from the Department of Transformation and Shared Services.