A review into the controversial hire of a sign language interpreter seems to show…the fix was in.
After weeks of defending the hire and saying he had nothing to do with it, State Career Education Director Bill Walker on Friday admitted making a mistake.
Last week Governor Beebe learned the results of an Office of Personnel Management investigation and scheduled a meeting with Bill Walker.
The very next day the interpreter was transferred to another position.
The woman picked for the interpreter job listed Premier Funeral Home, owned by Bill Walker, as part of her employment history.
We asked Director Walker in July about the connection.
"And she disclosed that," Walker told us regarding the relationship. "That was disclosed. Is that wrong?"
"It might have actually benefited her."
"Well, O.K," replied Walker. "You have that opinion. I have a different one."
Interviewer David McDonald also expressed concern about the candidate "…having worked for Mr. Walker's funeral home and their personal relationship."
The other interviewer, Pam Harris, was even more bold…telling investigators she told Walker the candidate "…could not translate the signing video…" and that she should "…not be hired."
Harris says Mr. Walker told her "…ARS was going to hire anyway."
Carl Daughtery, the man responsible for the hire, told investigators he picked the candidate in question after "…a good recommendation from the boss (Walker)" even though he "…did not think she was the best qualified candidate prior to speaking with Mr. Walker."
Walker maintained to investigators that he "…did not encourage, ask or tell anyone to interview or hire…" the woman.
Walker's story changed after meeting with the governor last week.
This Office of Personnel Management report offers a few other possible reasons for this questionable hire.
To read the full report, click here.
Air date: Sept. 4th, 2012
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