Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rep. Kelley Linck Resigns To Take Arkansas DHS Position

Rep. Kelly Linck (R)
YELLVILLE — Arkansas Rep. Kelly Linck is resigning to take a job with the state Department of Human Services.

Rep. Kelley Linck, R-Flippin, submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday, DHS officials said. The agency said Linck will begin serving as chief of legislative and governmental affairs on June 13 at an annual salary of $108,243.

"When I was elected, my goal was to do the best things I could for the people of District 99, and I have enjoyed my tenure representing them," Linck said in a DHS news release. "I feel that helping DHS become a better and more effective organization is the best way to serve not only the people in my district, but also people all across the state. I look forward to this new and exciting opportunity."

Linck has served in the House since 2011 and is chairman of the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. He declined to file for re-election this year, saying he planned to seek other opportunities.

Linck represented District 99, which includes parts of Marion, Searcy, Boone, and Baxter counties. Linck graduated high school in Yellville. He earned a bachelor's degree in business from Arkansas Tech University. He works in Tourism at Ozark Mountain Region, Inc. Rep. Linck has been involved with many civic and professional organizations, including Rotary Club, where he served as president. He served on the North central Arkansas Regional Economic Development Committee, and he was president of the White/Norfork Rivers Outfitters Association and the Bull Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

Kelly had previously announced he would not run for re-election and Republican Jack Fortner of Yellville is the unopposed candidate for Linck's House seat in the 2016 General Election.

"Given our size and how often we at DHS sit before legislative committees, it was important to me that we have someone providing a link between us and legislators and other elected officials," DHS Director Cindy Gillespie said in the agency's release, without indicating whether the play on Linck's name was intentional.

"Kelley has extensive knowledge about DHS and the legislative process, and will help us keep legislators informed and engaged in the work we're doing. We weren't doing that as well as we should have," she said.

Linck will head DHS' Office of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, a three-person office that the agency will create by shifting existing positions, DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said.

Webb said Gillespie has spent the past 60 days reviewing the agency's structure and organizational needs. She said the new office will work with legislators and others to handle constituents' concerns regarding DHS services and policies and will be the agency's contact point for the state Bureau of Legislative Research.

"It was definitely a point where Cindy felt the agency had a weak point and we needed … better communication with legislators," Webb said.

Webb said Gillespie also took into account recommendations by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who completed a review of the agency earlier this year. Griffin released recommendations in March that included restructuring the agency and creating a legislative affairs office.

Tags: AR State Rep., District 99,  Kelly Linck, resigns, new position, Arkansas DHS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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