- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Officials say a rat infestation, structural problems and deferred maintenance at the Arkansas governor’s mansion has warranted a change in the property’s supervising commission.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s spokesman J.R. Davis told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/25n3sFw ) that the problems are why a law that takes effect July 1 will allow the governor to replace the commissioners.

According to the legislation, the commission will no longer make rules concerning repairs and improvements to the mansion but will rather serve at the will of the governor.

Davis said there are no longer rats in the governor’s private office building next to the mansion. But the structure had to have its walls torn out and insulation and beams replaced in order to clean up the mess left by the pests.

“You should have been here back in the summer,” Davis said. “The governor couldn’t even come out here. It was just so bad.”

Some other issues documented in minutes of the Governor’s Mansion Commission meeting include water on the second floor that has entered during rainstorms as well as plumbing, electrical and drainage problems throughout the property.

Also, the first family doesn’t have its own washer and dryer, but shares one with the event staff. The guesthouse’s ceiling is bowed and has exposed wiring, and the garage’s failing roof has been patched with two-by-fours.

The mansion’s problems caused first lady Susan Hutchinson to push for a $1.49 million grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. The council fulfilled $1 million of the request for fiscal 2017, beginning July 1.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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