LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas Legislative committee has approved the hiring of a state representative’s wife by the state Department of Higher Education.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Legislative Council approved by voice vote Wednesday the hiring of Willie Murdock as director of Career Pathways.

Murdock is the wife of Democratic Rep. Reginald Murdock of Marianna and will be paid $85,000 a year to head the program that provides training to low-income parents.

The approval came after the council rejected a motion by Republican Rep. Mark Lowery to refer the recommendation back to a subcommittee.

Lowery said some members of the selection committee told him they were not aware of a critical audit over how Willie Murdock’s health insurance was paid when she was superintendent of the Lee County School District.