Arkansas Secretary of State office names dismissed workers

FILE — The state Capitol is shown in this undated file photo.
FILE — The state Capitol is shown in this undated file photo.

Incoming Secretary of State John Thurston on Friday released the names of the 10 office employees he doesn't plan to keep once he's sworn in next month.

The names of the employees -- most of them administrative assistants -- were redacted in notification letters provided to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in response to a public records request earlier this week. The letters notified them they'd be losing their jobs when Thurston takes office Jan. 15.

However, Thurston on Friday released the letters without the names redacted after determining that they were subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Thurston, who now is the Republican commissioner of state lands, will replace Secretary of State Mark Martin, who is term-limited.

The 10 employees are:

• Franklin Diemer, director of Capitol facilities.

• Danielle Diemer, notary public administrator.

• Whitney Butler, a corporations representative.

• Rita Harding, a corporations representative.

• Eric Caffey, a state Capitol Police officer.

• Victor Coates, an administrative assistant.

• Katherine Crossland, an administrative assistant.

• April Evans, an administrative assistant.

• Amy Hemme, an administrative assistant.

• Ruby Young, an administrative assistant.

The changes in the secretary of state's office include employees leaving on their own. Martin's chief of staff, Kelly Boyd, will become the chief deputy for Land Commissioner-elect Tommy Land, a Republican from Heber Springs. The secretary of state's office has about 140 employees; the land commissioner's office has about 40.

Chris Powell, spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said those employees who won't be retained by the incoming administration were put on paid administrative leave earlier this week so that they may search for new jobs.

Turnover in state constitutional offices is routine when a new officeholder is elected. Thurston and Land are the only two new officeholders who were elected last month among the seven constitutional officers.

Land said in an interview earlier this week that he plans to keep any employees who don't join Thurston in the secretary of state's office.

Metro on 12/08/2018

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