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Ark. forestry officer says boss knew of shortfall

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.

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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