Michael Helms who worked at the agency since August 16 was fired by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery as its chief legal counsel. He was terminated on 4th December which is confirmed by lottery records. Helms said in an interview that he had been notified by Director Eric Hagler that his services were no longer required. As stated by Scott Hardin, Department of Finance and Administration, on July 1st, Helms received a raise in his pay from $112,386 to $115,364.
After Hagler’s predecessor Bishop Woosley resigned on August 3rd to cultivate better opportunities, Hagler joined on August 6th and started work as director. The reason for Helms termination has not been specified in Helms personnel file released on Thursday by the Department of Finance and Administration in response to the Newspaper’s request under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Under the Public Information Law, the reason for terminating an employee from the services are not disclosable.
The decision of termination is not yet final and Helms has pointed out that he intends the opportunity to grieve his termination. Five days from the date of termination, the request of grievance must be made. The termination documentation may be released by the close of business Monday unless a grievance is requested by Helms.
Helms said in statement that after Woosley’s resignation, he has enjoyed his time as an interim director and he considers Lottery as his second home and will consider filing a grievance. Based on lottery records obtained by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, questions were raised to Woosley by some officials including helms about the contract extension with Camelot Global Services consultant.
Helms wrote that there will not be any conversation style headaches from the termination as it stands today. He believes that they have failed to deliver their proposal and claim to be able to accomplish from day one itself. The role of his concerns about the Camelot Global Services in influencing his termination is unknown to him and left him no way of knowing either.
Hardin said that the concern of Helms in the extension was totally unrelated to his termination as Helms is believing. In order to ensure standards of the performance, the benefit of all contracts is evaluated continually by the finance department. In June, Woosley told the lawmakers that Camelot has been a good partner. The maintenance of the good relation at a reduced cost is the gist of the extended contract and education over the last five years is what the reduced cost is based on. Camelot has received in incentive compensation a whopping $13.5 million and $16 million from the lottery. Hardin said that Helms has been paid $142,303 for travel expenses and $2.3 million in base compensation.
Hagler, a licensed attorney in Arkansas will be a close associate of the lead attorney of the Finance Department after Helm’s termination and will address necessary legal issues. According to his resume released when he was hired, Helms had been the Workers Compensations Commission’s chief executive officer since April 2015.