Governor to Replace State's Economic Development Chief

JANUARY 29, 2007 - Posted at 3:47 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A spokesman for Governor Beebe says Larry Walther will not be kept on as head of the state's economic development agency.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample tells The Associated Press that the governor told Walther he will not be retained.

DeCample would not say who would replace Walther, who was appointed to the post by former Governor Mike Huckabee in 2003.

Walther's replacement will take office as the state is reportedly in contention for a Toyota auto manufacturing plant.

In a proposed balanced budget presented to lawmakers earlier this month, Beebe set aside $8.9 million to help Arkansas pursue an economic "superproject."  State fiscal officials say the money would help the state as it tries to attract an auto or steel plant.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)