Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A&P Gives Self-Service a Whole New Meaning

These folks don't share well. The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission is sitting on more than $2 million in taxpayer money, but they say they don't have any funds to share with the Walton Arts Center, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, TheatreSquared, the Arkansas Music Pavillion, or any of the 12 local groups and events that requested spring funding.

"Unless we redo the budget, there’s no money there," said Marilyn Heifner, the paid Executive Director of the A&P Commission. They had over $1.1 million to buy a building for their own Convention and Visitors Bureau staff offices last year, but they don't have any money to support events that would increase tourism this spring.

They don't have any money to promote community groups and events, but last week they announced that they had money to promote or hire four staff members on their own payroll. The new Town Center facilities manager is a visitor from Elkins. The new Town Center events manager recently moved here from Oklahoma. The new Visitors Bureau visitor services manager just moved here from Mississippi. So, in a sense, they are helping visitors.

Mayor Dan Coody and Alderman Robert Rhodes both serve on the Advertising and Promotion Commission and supported all of the funding decisions. Yesterday, they also voted to ignore the rules and reappoint the expired commission member from the Cosmopolitan Hotel who missed the application deadline, a move that Bob Davis told them would "
give the appearance of a good-old-boy system." They failed.

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