Mix-up leads to Senate leader’s errant appointment


LITTLE ROCK — The president pro tem of the Arkansas Senate announced an appointment to a state commission Tuesday that he acknowledged later he apparently did not have the authority to make.

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, tweeted Tuesday morning, “Proud to appoint Ted Thomas of Conway to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.”

Arkansas Code Annotated 16-10-402 spells out how the nine members of the state commission that disciplines judges are to be made. It gives authority to the Senate president to make one appointment but makes no mention of the Senate president pro tem.

Arkansas’ lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Senate during legislative sessions. The current occupant of that office, Mark Darr, appointed a member to the commission last year.

“I don’t think I have the authority to make it,” Lamoureux, a lawyer, said after reviewing the statute on appointments to the commission.

He said the Senate staff included the commission vacancy in a packet of vacancies for him to fill, but its inclusion appeared to be in error.

“It’s an easy thing to misunderstand, the president versus president pro tem,” he said of the mix-up, first reported by the Arkansas Blog.