LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that Duncan Baird will fill the position of state budget administrator and Elizabeth Smith will be the state’s next Medicaid inspector general.

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that Duncan Baird will fill the position of state budget administrator and Elizabeth Smith will be the state’s next Medicaid inspector general.


Baird, currently budget director for Hutchinson’s office, will replace Brandon Sharp, who was fired without explanation last month.


Baird was as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2009 until he was term-limited in 2015. Before being elected to the Legislature, he worked as a licensed securities trader for Arvest bank in Northwest Arkansas. He has a degree in finance and accounting from the University of Arkansas.


"I appreciate Duncan’s work as we crafted our first budget and worked with the legislature to enact it into law," Hutchinson said. "In his new role, he’ll continue to play a critical part in both the budget process and our efforts to reform state government."


Baird said in a statement, "It’s been an honor to be a part of the governor’s staff through the transition and the regular session. I look forward to the opportunity to put my budget experience to work as part of the team at DFA."


Smith, currently chief legal council for Hutchinson’s office, will replace Jay Shue, who has said he is retiring to pursue other opportunities.


Smith has worked in private practice, specializing in health-care law, and has served as a Pulaski County deputy prosecutor, general counsel for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and assistant attorney general under former Attorney General Mike Beebe.


"Given her background in health-care law and as a former prosecutor, Elizabeth is a perfect fit as the next Medicaid inspector general," Hutchinson said. "She has been an invaluable member of our team as my legal counsel, and I know she will do a great job in her new role, which is critical to Arkansas."


Smith said in a statement, "I’m honored and appreciative of the trust the governor has placed in me. It’s been a privilege to serve as his legal counsel, and I am eager to take on this new challenge to best serve the people of Arkansas."


The Medicaid inspector general’s office, created by the Legislature in 2013, prevents, detects and investigates fraud and abuse within the medical assistance program.