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story.lead_photo.caption The Governor's Mansion in Little Rock is shown in this 2013 file photo. - Photo by Gavin Lesnick

More than 100 applicants from around the state and as far away as New Hampshire have tossed their hats into the ring to become the new administrator of the Governor's Mansion.

The position was posted on the Department of Finance and Administration's website in early May after longtime mansion administrator Donald J. Bingham retired.

Ateca Williams, who is spearheading the search as deputy chief of staff of internal operations for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, said Friday no interviews have been set and she is carefully combing through the 114 resumes.

"We are taking our time because we want to make a really good decision," Williams said.

She and first lady Susan Hutchinson will conduct interviews.

Filling Bingham's shoes will be nearly impossible, Williams added. He had served under Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson since Jan. 11, 2015. Before that, he served under Mike Huckabee, a Republican, from September 1997 until 2006.

"Mr. Bingham was very unique in his skill set," Williams said. "You just can't find a new Mr. Bingham."

While Bingham received an annual salary of $98,410 per year, the job posting limits the yearly pay to $80,000.

Mansion financial officer Patty Shipp, who is filling the vacant spot until a replacement is hired, is among those vying for the position.

"I have no comment," Shipp said when contacted. "I'm just another candidate."

The job description lists duties that include managing day-to-day operations, overseeing finances, supervising a staff of eight and conducting tours.

The position coordinates closely with Mrs. Hutchinson and reports to the governor.

And in the event of a change in the state's top office, the mansion administrator will "provide continuity between gubernatorial administrations," according to the job posting.

The majority of the applicants -- 42 of the 114 -- worked for various state agencies, including six who hailed from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. One of the state's largest employers, the academic hospital has laid off 258 workers since January and announced plans to eliminate 730 total jobs this year because of a projected budget deficit.

The education level of the applicants ranged from a high-school diploma to one with a master's of science in cellular physiology and biophysics.

The myriad of occupations included a ham marketer and a "waterbeetle" (someone who sets up lines in a faucet factory), according to the resumes obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

One woman referred to her job title as "Cinderella."

"I facilitated the wants and needs of a prominent family's household of five for the last four years," Allison Phillips wrote in her cover letter.

Randy Prieur of Little Rock listed his experience as a sommelier who designed an award-winning wine program for the Alotian Golf Club in Roland.

Among the applicants was Little Rock Code Enforcement Division Manager Edward Garland, who administered a $3 million budget and supervised a staff of 40. One of those employees, Code Enforcement Officer Jennifer Gutowski, is vying for the same spot.

Perry Linch, a U.S. Army physical evaluation board team chief, listed as references Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin as well as Baptist Health Systems Chief Financial Officer Bob Roberts.

Serving in the military for more than 27 years, Linch said in his cover letter that he has shown his dedication to the state in his many roles with the Arkansas National Guard.

"I believe the effectiveness of the Governor's Mansion operations and accessibility is paramount to showcasing a part of our State's history and providing an excellent venue for events celebrating the many wonderful attributes and hospitality of Arkansas and its citizenry," Linch said in the letter.

Williams said there is no timetable of when the position will be filled, but she was happy with the variety and number of the submitted applications.

Metro on 06/18/2018

Print Headline: 114 applicants seek to manage state's mansion

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