The head of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission has been appointed to become a Saline County circuit judge later this month, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Barbara Womack Webb, 60, to replace Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister, who agreed in November to resign after being charged with failing to pay his taxes.
McCallister's resignation is effective Dec. 15, and Webb begins her term Dec. 18, the following Monday.
Webb will serve until Dec. 31, 2018, and earn $160,000 annual salary, she said. She currently earns $129,117.04 annually as CEO of the Workers' Compensation Commission, a position she will hold through Dec. 15.
David Greenbaum will replace Webb as chief of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission, according to Chairman Scotty Dale Douthit.
Greenbaum, 69, has worked at the commission for 39 years and has served as chief administrative law judge for 21 years, Douthit said. He served as an administrative law judge prior to that.
Douthit said he wasn't sure what Greenbaum's salary would be in the new role. He currently earns $107,987.98.
Webb said she inquired about the vacancy after hearing McCallister would resign, calling the judgeship the right position at the right time.
Webb will be the first female circuit judge in Saline County, 18 years after being elected the first female prosecuting attorney in the county.
"It's a big honor for me to be the first," she said.
Webb was the administrative law judge for the Workers' Compensation Commission for 10 years before Hutchinson appointed her CEO in 2015.
Webb previously served as prosecuting attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, which includes only Saline County, for two terms and prosecuting attorney in the 7th Judicial District -- when it covered Saline, Hot Spring and Grant counties -- for one term.
Webb is a Benton resident, married to Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb and the twin sister of Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Becky Keogh.
In his announcement of the appointment, Hutchinson said he had known Barbara Womack Webb for years.
"I am confident that her extensive courtroom experience has well equipped her to serve as Circuit Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit," the release stated.
McCallister faces trial Dec. 19-20 on charges of failing to pay taxes. His resignation, accepted unanimously by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, means he is ineligible to hold judicial office again.
He has been suspended without pay since July, shortly after he turned himself in to Arkansas State Police.
Information for this article was contributed by John Moritz of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Metro on 12/06/2017