Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed dentist John Pitts of Little Rock to the five-member Arkansas Ethics Commission.
Pitts replaces Alice Eastwood of Rogers, whose five-year term on the commission expired Dec. 31. Pitts attended his first ethics commission meeting Friday.
Hutchinson said Friday that “I am gratified that Dr. Pitts is willing to accept this assignment on the Ethics Commission.
“It is a serious responsibility, and I am confident he will serve with distinction, balance and good judgment,” the Republican governor said in a written statement.
Commissioner Denese Fletcher of Little Rock has resigned from the commission, Director Graham Sloan said Friday.
Fletcher informed the commission April 15 that she had accepted a position as a public defender, which resulted in her meeting the definition of “public employee,” and she resigned from the commission to comply with Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-217 (c) (1), which prohibits a commission member from being a federal, state or local government employee, Sloan said in a letter dated April 15 to Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Rutledge spokeswoman Amanda Priest said Friday that Rutledge has started a search for a replacement for Fletcher.
Fletcher’s replacement on the commission must be a Democrat and a member of a minority race.
In June of 2020, Rutledge appointed Fletcher to the commission to succeed Sybil Jordan Hampton of Little Rock, whose term ended Dec. 31, 2018. Hampton — who was appointed Jan. 15, 2014, by then-Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel — ended up serving 17 months beyond the expiration of her five-year term.
Both Fletcher and Hampton are Democrats and Black.
The Ethics Commission was established in 1991 with the passage of Initiated Act of 1990. It enforces certain state laws on ethics, conflicts of interest, lobbying, campaigning, campaign finance and ballot questions.
The other ethics commissioners include commission Chairwoman Lori Klein of Searcy, attorney Scott Irby of Little Rock and attorney Wendy Johnson of Springdale. Klein is an assistant professor of political science and public administration at Harding University.
The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, Senate president pro tempore and House speaker each make appointments to the Ethics Commission under state law.