MCDANIEL CONGRATULATES PHELPS; SELECTS GEE, SADLER FOR NEW ROLES

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October 20, 2014

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today congratulated Chief Deputy Attorney General Brad Phelps upon the announcement of his new position at Arkansas State University. Phelps is leaving the Attorney General’s Office after more than four years as chief deputy.

Also today, McDaniel announced that Chief of Staff Erika Gee will succeed Phelps as Chief Deputy Attorney General. The Attorney General’s Press Secretary, Aaron Sadler, was named Chief Administrative Officer and will assume many of Gee’s previous duties.

Phelps has been an attorney with the office for 11 years and has been Chief Deputy Attorney General since April 2010. The Chief Deputy oversees the office’s attorneys and legal staff. During his time as Chief Deputy, Phelps was recognized as a national figure who secured a multistate settlement with the nation’s largest tobacco companies.

“Brad deserves significant credit for some historic accomplishments that would not have happened but for his leadership,” McDaniel said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with Brad. Arkansas State is very lucky to have a man with his judgment and intellect on its team as ASU looks to its own very bright future.”

While Phelps was Chief Deputy, he oversaw the historic settlement last December between the State and the three Pulaski County public school districts, a long-term compact with Oklahoma over phosphorus levels in the Illinois River and the agreement between 20 states and tobacco companies that preserved the approximately $60 million annual payment to Arkansas under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

For his work negotiating the tobacco pact, Phelps earned the National Association of Attorneys General's Laurie Loveland Award last year. He was the first Arkansan to ever receive that honor.

McDaniel also noted that Phelps is one of only a few chief deputy attorneys general to serve on the Long-Term Planning Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General. That committee developed goals and strategies for NAAG for the next decade.

“I want to thank Attorney General McDaniel and the amazing people at the Attorney General’s Office for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the people of Arkansas,” Phelps said. “It was an honor for me to have an opportunity to serve as Chief Deputy and help the Attorney General lead such talented and wonderful people.”

Phelps’s last day as Chief Deputy will be Oct 31.

Gee, the incoming Chief Deputy, has been Chief of Staff since May 2013, where she oversaw communications, outreach, public affairs and legislative affairs, among other duties. Before that, she was an attorney in the office’s Civil Department and was an attorney with the firm Wright, Lindsey and Jennings in Little Rock.

Gee was a key negotiator in the desegregation settlement, and she has served as McDaniel’s top adviser on legislative and policy issues. She also oversees the Special Investigations Division and Cyber Crimes Unit, which has helped protect Arkansas’s children from Internet predators.

In addition, McDaniel praised Gee for her leadership in implementing new technology to improve how the office handles its caseload and records. The new software will have a significant positive impact on the office’s efficiency, he said.

“As the head of policy, communications and legislation, Erika’s time here has been extremely successful,” McDaniel said. “There is no one I trust more than Erika to oversee the last months of my term and ensure the best possible transition for my successor.”

Sadler has been Press Secretary and Director of Media Relations for the Attorney General since March 2010. Sadler, a former Washington correspondent for Stephens Media, has helped to direct the office’s “Got Your Back, Arkansas” initiative and enhance the office’s social media presence.

“No one person can do the job of Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff, so I am pleased to announce the creation of the Chief Administrative Officer position,” McDaniel said. “Aaron has been a senior policy advisor and de facto Deputy Chief of Staff for several years. He is well-deserving of this position and responsibility. This is an excellent team, and the State will be well-served.”

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