LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The former chief fiscal officer of the Arkansas Forestry Commission says his boss knew for years about problems that will lead to 36 layoffs next month.
Robert Araiza told a Legislative Council subcommittee Tuesday that state Forester John Shannon told him in 2010 the governor's office didn't want any public discussion of a shortfall until after the election.
Araiza said Shannon told him Gov. Mike Beebe had canceled a meeting with forestry professionals. A governor's spokesman said Beebe canceled it because it pertained to raising the severance tax on timber amid an anti-tax climate.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor didn't know how bad the problems were.
The Forestry Commission this year has a $4 million shortfall that is being blamed on a drop in timber sales.
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