Special A&P Commission meeting set for Monday, March 26

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday, March 26, it was announced today.

The group isn’t set to convene for its next regular meeting until April 9, but commission chair Maudie Schmitt has called for a special gathering a couple weeks early.

No agenda was announced, but the commission will likely discuss the status of its executive director, Marilyn Heifner.

Heifner was placed on paid leave in February following the outcome of allegations by a local newspaper that she’d violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act in regards the A&P’s possible lease and purchase of the Old Post Office Building.

According to the complaint, a reporter asked Heifner in late January whether she had received a revised lease agreement from building owner Ron Bumpass, a document Bumpass told the newspaper he had already delivered to Heifner’s office.

Heifner denied that she’d received the agreement, but later supplied the reporter with the document after he made a formal written request.

“I got the FOI request and turned it over immediately,” Heifner told the newspaper.

Citing the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, which states that citizens may request access to public records by nearly any means, the newspaper’s editors have repeatedly called for Heifner’s resignation or firing.

Heifner pleaded no contest on March 14 and admitted no wrongdoing.

“It’s just not worth the money and the time it would take to fight the charge and go to trial,” Heifner’s attorney told the newspaper.

She’s to pay $220 in fines and court costs and will receive a 30-day suspended jail sentence. Her record will be expunged after a year of no additional violations.

Commissioner members have since said very little in regards to the matter other than to maintain their original position which was to wait and see how the situation plays out.

While it’s clear where both Heifner and the newspaper’s editorial staff stand on the issue, the final decision on her employment will be up to the commissioners.