FORTH SMITH — Arkansas’ newly appointed drug director, Denny Altes, has resigned from his position as a Sebastian County justice of the peace to focus on his new duties, according to a resignation letter he sent to Sebastian County Judge David Hudson.

FORTH SMITH — Arkansas’ newly appointed drug director, Denny Altes, has resigned from his position as a Sebastian County justice of the peace to focus on his new duties, according to a resignation letter he sent to Sebastian County Judge David Hudson.


Altes, 67, a former state legislator, was appointed last month by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as state drug director overseeing and coordinating the activities of the Arkansas State Drug Abuse and Prevention Coordinating Council.


Altes replaces Fran Flener, who retired last year. Steve Varady has served as interim drug director since Flener’s retirement.


In the letter he sent to Hudson’s office on May 26, Altes cited the demands of his new duties as the state’s drug director and the time he must devote to those duties as the reasons for his resignation as District 13 justice of the peace.


Altes’ resignation was effective June 1, according to the letter.


Hudson said in an interview Wednesday afternoon that he understood Altes’ need to resign and acknowledged that his position and its duties are important and require his full attention. He said Altes will be missed on the quorum court and wished him well with his responsibilities moving forward.


Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue said in a Wednesday news release that the quorum court must declare the position vacant in the form of a resolution. In turn, Shue said, the governor would then appoint someone to the position who would serve the unexpired term until the next election, but whoever is appointed may not run for reelection.


Hudson said the quorum court is expected to consider the resolution in its meeting later this month.


Because of Altes’ resignation from the quorum court, Shue also sent a letter to Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rescinding his May 20 request for an opinion from Rutledge in regard to a possible conflict of interest with Altes being a justice of the peace while also serving a state position.


J.R. Davis, spokesman for Hutchinson, said the governor was out of the office Wednesday and unavailable for comment on the matter.