Decision on new A&P Commission director expected by end of week

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission should have a new leader in the coming days.

Commission chair Matthew Petty said he plans to finalize negotiations and announce the group’s choice to fill the executive director position by the end of the week.

The commission met during a special executive session meeting Wednesday morning to discuss its decision. The meeting follows a series of interviews held last month with three final candidates for the job.

The candidates include Angie Albright, development and outreach director for the Arkansas Support Network; Matt Behrend, a current A&P commissioner and regional operations manager for Krushiker Hospitality Group; and Molly Rawn, development and communications director for the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville.

It is unclear whether one of the candidates will be hired outright as the new executive director or if the commission will offer a performance-based contract agreement that could lead to a permanent position.

The search for a new director began immediately after the resignation announcement of director Kym Hughes in early May. Hughes, who was hired in late 2014 to replace longtime director Marilyn Heifner, is the former director of tourism and hospitality for the city of Sandy Springs, Georgia. She was given a starting salary of $85,000, plus $5,000 in moving expenses, and a standard benefit package. Hughes stepped down on July 1.

“At this time, I must turn my attention to my family and move closer to be near to them,” Hughes wrote in her resignation letter.

A reception for Hughes was held June 29 in the Town Center Directors Room.

In other meeting news, the commission authorized Petty to negotiate a possible expedited state liquor license renewal with the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

Petty said he learned Wednesday morning that a transfer of the commission’s liquor license from Hughes’s name to another employee did not occur during the former director’s transition from office.

He was optimistic that an expedited transfer could occur, but said if the commission has to wait the standard 30 days to receive a new license, he may need to negotiation terms with a third-party license holder to ensure events planned at the Town Center this month can still include alcoholic beverages.

UPDATE: Petty said Thursday morning that the liquor license issue had been fully resolved.