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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Leon Jones Jr., the Arkansas director of the Labor Department.

The former head of the state Department of Labor will take over as director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission on July 1, according to a news release sent Monday.

Leon Jones Jr., who was the first black man to lead the Department of Labor, will replace executive director Carol Johnson at the Fair Housing Commission. Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office announced the appointment in a news release Monday morning.

“Leon’s background in the housing sector, in addition to his experience as an attorney and small-business owner, will serve him and the people of Arkansas well in this new role,” a quote attributed to Hutchinson in the news release reads. “I also want to thank Carol Johnson for her nearly two decades of service to our state, including the last 14 years she’s served as the executive director of the Fair Housing Commission. I want [to] congratulate her on her new opportunity, and I wish her the best in all future endeavors.”

The commission is a quasi-judicial regulatory agency that works with the federal government to enforce fair-housing and fair-lending laws.

Johnson will step down as executive director on June 30. She has been commission director for 14 years and is leaving for “a new opportunity,” according to the news release.

Jones will take over the agency July 1. He served as a commissioner for the Fayetteville Housing Authority from 2007 to 2014.

“It is with pleasure that I am accepting the assignment as executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission,” Jones’ statement said in the news release. “I have been working in the housing arena since 2007, where I served as a Commissioner of the Fayetteville Housing Authority until 2014. I look forward to the opportunity to get back into a space where I have a passion, and I look forward to working with Secretary-Designate [Elizabeth] Smith.”

Smith is the secretary of the Department of Inspector General.

Jones worked at the Department of Labor for four years and six months. His salary was $134,068.48 annually, according to transparency.arkansas.gov.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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