A&P discusses disciplinary action for two directors

Kym Hughes / Courtesy photo

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission met in a closed executive session meeting on Monday to discuss possible disciplinary action of Kym Hughes, the group’s executive director and Kate Johnson, director of the Clinton House Museum.

Employee privacy laws prevent the release of any details related to the executive session meeting, but the item is presumably the result of the conclusion of a recent commission-wide employee evaluation.

The commission earlier this year agreed to outsource its human resources department to Van Buren-based HR firm SPMI. The decision was part of a restructuring of certain aspects of the group following the resignation of Marilyn Heifner, the commission’s longtime executive director.

At the time, commissioners said they’d heard from some employees who didn’t feel comfortable discussing interoffice conflicts with their directors. As a remedy, the group agreed to hire a third-party human resources firm to handle such issues while also helping to re-write the commission’s employee handbook and implement some standardized HR procedures.

On Monday’s published agenda, the executive session was labeled as an “evaluation” of Hughes and Johnson, but when chair Matthew Petty called the closed session to order, he mentioned “possible discipline” of the two directors.

Once the meeting was reopened to the public, commissioner Tim Freeman made a motion to authorize Petty to carry out disciplinary actions “as recommended by SPMI” on behalf of the commission. The group voted unanimously to approve the motion.

After Monday’s meeting, Petty said he plans to meet with Hughes and Johnson on April 25 and will schedule a special executive session meeting on April 26 to update the commission of any disciplinary actions taken.

Johnson, who is the daughter of former director Heifner, has served as director of the Clinton House Museum for several years, but Hughes is a relative newcomer to the commission.

She was hired in December 2014 to replace Heifner, who had led the commission since it was formed in 1992. Hughes was the former executive director of tourism and hospitality for the city of Sandy Springs, Georgia. She was one of over 50 applicants for the position, and was given a starting salary of $85,000, plus $5,000 in moving expenses, and a standard benefit package.

The executive director of the commmission is responsible for the effective administration of A&P operations, the Town Center, the Clinton House Museum, and the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau activities which include development, planning, operations, budgeting and personnel management.