Design error blamed for essay requirement on what accomplishment of Arkansas governor that applicants ‘admire the most’

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders addresses the media Thursday during a signing ceremony for several bills intended to encourage tourism to Arkansas parks during a signing at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

A webpage design error put the essay question, "What is an accomplishment of the Governor's that you admire the most?" into the online application for state staff and commissions, according to a statement Thursday by the governor's office.

The question was meant for the application to be an intern in the governor's office -- never for staff, state boards or commissions, said Alexa Henning, spokeswoman for the governor. Summer interns are temporary employees working for the state.

"Our web vendor was supposed to be editing the internship application but instead mistakenly made additions to the boards and commissions form," Henning said in a statement. "That was never intended to be a part of the application. As soon as we realized it, we corrected it with the vendor. However, it should be news to no one that someone wanting to intern in any administration should support the work that principal and their team is pursuing."

This year's interns will work from June 5 through July 28, according to the state's website. The goal of these internships is to give experience to young adults interested in public service. These summer jobs are available for U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are still enrolled in college, recently graduated or are high school graduates who have served at least two years of active duty in U.S. armed forces.

Members of the state's 257 boards and commissions oversee state agencies and state licensing.

For example, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approves or denies liquor licenses. Examples of other boards include the Livestock and Poultry Commission, boards of trustees at state colleges and universities and professional boards such as the state Medical Board.

A check of the staff and board application website Thursday confirmed the question is no longer there. The misplaced question was taken down Monday, according to former state lawmaker Nate Bell.

"A person who was applying for a state board or commission told me about it, and I thought that couldn't be right," said Bell, a former state House member from Mena who now lives in Washington County. Bell went to the application website on Monday, found the question on page three and took a screenshot of it from the laptop computer he was using, he said. He posted the screenshot on Twitter at 6:45 p.m. Monday, according to the tweet's time stamp.

Soon after he posted the question, it was gone, Bell said in a telephone interview Thursday.