Let’s do a little quick recap of some laws.
Per the Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, section 21, one of the duties of the Secretary of State is to “keep a full and accurate record of all the official acts and proceedings of the Governor.”
The state Constitution also requires that the Secretary of State keep his office at the seat of government (i.e. Little Rock). See Ark. Const. Amend 56, § 1; Ark. Const. Amend. 63, § 1.
State law then takes it a step further, requiring, in pertinent part:
(a) The Secretary of State shall reside and keep his or her office at the seat of government and shall have the custody of all records, rolls, and documents which properly belong to the state.
(b) He or she shall keep a register of all the official acts and proceedings of the Governor and, when required, shall lay the register and all papers, minutes, and vouchers relative to the register before the General Assembly.
(d) In addition to the other duties required by law of the Secretary of State, he or she shall receive from the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives the records, books, papers, and rolls of the General Assembly and file them as records of his or her office.
Ark. Code Ann. § 25-16-403 (emphases added).
That’s all pretty straightforward, right? The Secretary of State has to live in Little Rock while in office, he has to keep his office in Little Rock, and he has specific duties that are only going to be an issue while the legislature is in session. So, basically the one thing you wouldn’t expect to see while the legislature was in session would be a lot of this:
That would be Secretary of State Mark Martin in Prairie Grove on a work day. But, hey, maybe that’s just an outlier. Surely there’s not an obvious pattern, complete with geotagged, time-stamped location, that would show him doing this frequently.
What’s that, Mr. Rhetorical Device? Oh.
I appears Sec. Martin was so broken up about the passing of Margaret Thatcher, he spent the whole Monday at home, thinking about her and mentioning her on Facebook. While having someone else pretend to be him on Facebook.
The legislature wasn’t yet in session for this one, which might explain why he decided he could be in Prairie Grove on a Thursday instead of in Little Rock as his job requires.
I include these three because, while the first two are well into the evening, the third one shows that, just because he doesn’t post on Facebook as soon as he gets home doesn’t mean that he’s not there much earlier. It’s not possible to leave Little Rock at 5pm and be at Martin’s home in Prairie Grove by 6:25pm. So, you’ll forgive me if I assume that he’s leaving Little Rock well before the end of the day. And if he’s leaving like that on March 29, it’s a fairly safe guess that he’s leaving like that on other March Fridays as well.
I’ve known people who got alcohol poisoning on St. Paddy’s Day who were still back at work two days later. But maybe they party a little different in Tha P-G. (Or maybe Sec. Martin just figured, hey, no one is calling me out on not working Mondays, so a Tuesday won’t hurt.)
Two possible explanations, since he was definitely in Prairie Grove on Sunday, March 17, and on Tuesday, March 19: either he drove to Little Rock bright and early, put in an 8-5 at the Secretary’s office, then drove back to Prairie Grove that night, or he just took all of Monday, March 18 off. I’ll let you ponder that.
You may also ponder the irony of this entry, given that Sec. Martin appears to be making (ill-informed) political commentary on state time.
I posted this one because it was sent at 2:19pm on a Friday via his cell phone. Now, given that he was back in Prairie Grove on Saturday, getting stung in the face by bees, do you think it is more likely that he sent this from the road while on his way to Prairie Grove or that this is another case of someone in the Sec. of State’s Office posting for Sec. Martin because he’s elsewhere? Gotta be one of those, I reckon.
Ho hum, just another Tuesday morning during the session that finds the Secretary of State in Prairie Grove. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
He doubled-down on the posting about Earth Day. Because that’s what you can do when you spend your day playing on Facebook at home instead of being at your elected position. It’s a good gig if you can get it. (Remind me again: WHY did people choose him over Pat O’Brien?)
Already in Prairie Grove on Sunday, then posts from Prairie Grove on Monday night. [/puts on sarcasm pants] I have zero doubt that he was in Little Rock from 8-5 on Monday, however. [/removes sarcasm pants]
Just after midnight on a Thursday. He hasn’t posted anything on his Facebook account (at least that is open to the public) since this one, but, again, what do you bet that he wasn’t in Little Rock on the 26th?
A number of things jump out from this series of weekend adventures.
First, you have to remember that these are only days on which he was posting on Facebook. Meaning that, unless we are to assume that he posts on Facebook 100% of the days that he’s not in Little Rock, the odds are good that these are far from the only days that he was spending four- and five-day weekends in Prairie Grove.
Second, and just for reference, a regular state employee with the same state-employment tenure as Martin (just over eight years) earns eighteen vacation days per year, which, for the math-challenged, works out to 1.5 days every month. He or she would also earn twelve sick days per year, or one per month. I mention all of that so you’ll have a frame of reference for what follows. Constitutional officers are exempted from that hard-and-fast calculation, but I think it’s reasonable to argue that a constitutional officer should not get more days off than a regular state employee.
Third, according to the person who tracked these down, “apparently Martin hid all of his posts from the public near the end of 2012, so I can only find stuff since mid-January, which is, I think, when Facebook changed some default settings. You think maybe the self-claimed technological expert didn’t realize that his posts were public and geotagged?” It seems another Facebook change in mid-April hid all previous posts, so only the later ones in this post are still visible (as of this writing). Point being, it’s kind of a shame that no one was paying attention a while back; if he was being this willy-nilly with his schedule during the legislative session, one can only imagine what it must’ve been like in the weeks following the election.
Finally, given Martin’s previously obvious abuse of gas cards and state cars, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he’s not footing the bill for all of this fuel himself. FOIA requests for gas-card usage and car usage haven’t turned up a smoking gun yet, but, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. So that hunt continues.
I assume that no one from Martin’s office will respond to this post. I hope I am wrong, however, because I’d really like to hear a justification for this. I’ll give them a little help here and point out that no argument that suggests “working from home” is valid, given the law on where Martin’s office and residence must be.