Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan and Auditor of State Andrea Lea announced today their plans to ensure the state’s fiduciary responsibilities will not be interrupted in the case of a COVID-19 epidemic in Arkansas. The news comes on the heels of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s announcement Wednesday of his intention to declare a public health emergency due to “presumptive positive” cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in Arkansas.
“We have formed a contingency plan in case of a statewide outbreak and want to ensure the entities we serve daily understand the functions of our office will continue,” Milligan said. “We’ve already met with staff members to encourage sharing of job duties and have shared remote access with essential personnel.”
The Treasurer’s office serves as the state’s banker and takes in more than $70 million in deposits each day from local, state and federal sources. It processes between 2,000-3,000 checks and reconciles upwards of 3,000 accounts daily, representing the funds of nearly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. The Treasury is also responsible for managing the state’s $4.5 billion investment portfolio. The Auditor’s office cuts payroll checks for the state’s 70,000+ employees and ensures that state vendors get paid.
“Our office takes in funds from state agencies and manages those funds to ensure the state has enough cash to pay its bills,” Milligan said. “I want to make sure agencies that we deal with on a daily basis understand that we have a plan in place to ensure continuity of services should a major outbreak occur.”
“We are fully prepared to ensure the continuity of the state’s financial operations in the event of extraordinary circumstances. Whether making sure state employees and vendors are paid, we remain committed to providing these essential services,” Lea said. “We routinely plan and train for events that may threaten our continuity, and I am confident we are prepared to meet any challenges that may arise relating to COVID-19.”
“Prayerfully, this virus will leave the state quickly and won’t affect the functions of our offices,” Milligan and Lea said. “However, should it worsen, we want the public to know that the essential functions of our offices will be managed appropriately.”