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ABC Director Bud Roberts, Two Others Resign

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Gary “Bud” Roberts resigned as director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division on Thursday. His resignation is effective in three weeks.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson released the following statement: “I want to thank Bud for his work at ABC over the past two years. His willingness to stay on longer than he originally planned to assist with the implementation of medical marijuana voters passed in 2016 is much appreciated. I wish him the best of luck in any future endeavors.”

J.R. Davis, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said the governor would make replacing Roberts with another appointee a priority but he couldn’t offer a timeline for that decision.

In his resignation letter, provided by Department of Finance & Administration Spokesman Jake Bleed, Roberts wrote, “I am proud of the agency’s accomplishments. When I accepted your appointment, I expected to serve for two years. With the advent of medical marijuana, I decide to stay a bit longer, to oversee the rule-making and application formation processes. These matters are so nearly complete that I feel comfortable with the timing, at this point.”

Roberts’ salary was $89,857, and Feb. 23, 2015 was his start date.

Two other ABC staffers, attorneys Mary Casteel and Milton Lueken, have also resigned, although Lueken submitted his notice on Monday and Casteel submitted her notice on Friday.

Casteel was paid a salary of $73,407 and had worked there since 2013. Lueken made $83,741 and had been there for almost 35 years.

Casteel’s resignation is effective June 16, Davis said. He said she resigned for personal reasons, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that her plans were to enter private practice.

Davis also said Casteel had been with the division for many years and done a good job.

He said he didn’t know why Lueken resigned, but that he had heard the attorney is in his 70s. Davis speculated that Lueken may have felt it was time to retire.

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