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More Call for Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to Step Down
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Staff for Mark Darr say the Lieutenant Governor is not expected to be at work the remainder of the week as calls for his resignation amid an ethics violation continue to grow.
Communications director Amber Pool said Thursday Darr is not granting interviews.
"I don't know when he is expected to be in the office," Pool says.
The office of lieutenant governor in Arkansas is a part time position with the only constitutional responsibilities of presiding over the Senate and serving as the executive when the governor is out of state.
John DiPippa with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law says Darr can stay away as long as the legislature tolerates it.
"The taxpayers are entitled to having a constitutional officer do his job," DiPippa says.
Darr accepted the findings from the Arkansas Ethics Commission which levied an $11,000 fine on Monday, more than one-fourth of Darr annual $42,219 salary.
Darr admitted to misspending more than $44,000 in campaign and taxpayer funds since he took office in January 2011.
State representative Andy Mayberry, R-East End, is the first state lawmaker to call on Darr to resign.
"This was the largest penalty ever levied by the Arkansas Ethics Commission," Mayberry says. "I think first and foremost we have to put public trust above everything else."
Mayberry says the longer Darr stays in office the worse the impact for the state.
"I feel like his presence at a fiscal session may be an unnecessary distraction, considering all the weighty issues that our legislature needs to be able to focus on," Mayberry says.
Mayberry added the lieutenant governor "needs to be accessible", something DiPippa says Darr apparently has decided against right now.
"Part time employees have to show up for work wherever they work," DiPippa says. "Doesn't make a difference whether you're the lieutenant governor or somebody working at McDonald's."