No decision yet on A&P Commission applicants

A&P Commission applicants

Michael Andrews – owner, Fresco Cafe & Pub
Roger Barrett – manager, Nightbird Books
Terry Coberly – retired teacher, Bentonville mayor
Bobby Ferrell – retired communications manager, Fayetteville alderman
Cyrena Hattabaugh – sales manager, Candlewood Suites
Jim Huson – owner, Doe’s Eat Place
Julie McQuade Heyes – executive director, Fayetteville Underground
Eric Howerton – marketer, WhyteSpyder, Inc.
Louis B. “Bucky” Jones, Jr. – retired lawyer
Steven H. Kay – self-employed attorney
Shellie Morrison – co-owner, The Event Group
David A. Russell – banker, First Security Bank
Terri Trotter – chief operating officer, Walton Arts Center
Bill Waite – owner, Dickson Street Liquor
Hannah Withers – owner, Little Bread Co.
Denise Youngblood – owner, Mojo’s Pints & Pies

» Read more about each applicant

Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion commissioners tabled their appointment of applicants to replace outgoing commissioners Bob Davis and Maudie Schmitt, whose terms expire at the end of March.

Sixteen applicants were vying for the seats this month, but Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said the group must wait to appoint replacements at least until April 1.

Commissioners normally vote to fill upcoming expired terms in March, but Williams said on Monday that the longtime practice is prohibited by state law which requires that an actual vacancy must exist before any movement to fill the seats can take place.

“The A&P Commission may not anticipate a vacancy and vote to appoint a replacement before the vacancy actually exists,” said Williams. “Nor could any commissioner vote to appoint someone to succeed himself or herself on the A&P Commission.”

No term limits

Further examination of Arkansas law revealed on Monday that the commission is not required to adhere to the two-term commission limits set by city code, something which could add another two names to the applicant list if Davis and Schmitt decide to seek a third term.

“We were never led to believe we could serve three terms,” said Schmitt. “We thought we couldn’t apply.”

The group agreed to re-open the application pool, but only for Schmitt and Davis.

“I think it’s only fair,” said commissioner Matthew Petty.

It’s unclear if either commissioner is interested in serving another four years. Davis was absent for Monday’s meeting, while Schmitt said she’d “have to sleep on it” when asked if she’d re-apply.

Schmitt holds one of four tourism industry positions and must be replaced by an owner or manager of a hotel, motel or restaurant. Davis holds the sole at-large seat and can be replaced by any at-large Fayetteville resident.

A change in procedure

Appointments are currently sent from the commission to the council’s Nominating Committee, which meets quarterly, and then to the City Council for ratification.

Unless the current procedure is changed, waiting until April to make an appointment could create a scenario in which months could pass before any new members are able to serve on the commission each time a term expires.

Appointments made in April instead of March would have to be sent to the Nominating Committee’s second quarterly meeting in June before being ratified by the council. The new member would have to wait until July to begin serving.

Commissioner Petty, who also serves as Ward 2 alderman, suggested a new appointment procedure on Monday.

Petty proposed to have the Nominating Committee interview all applicants in March and then send a nomination to the commission in time for the April meeting. The commission could either appoint that nominee or select another applicant to be ratified by the council. The new commissioner could then begin serving at the following A&P meeting in May.

Commissioner Justin Tennant, an alderman and member of the Nominating Committee, said he’d encourage committee chair Adella Gray to consider holding a special meeting before the end of the month in order to have a nominee ready in time for the A&P Commission’s next regular meeting in April.

So far, no special meetings have been scheduled.