Lacey Ekberg comments
Editorís Note: These comments were posted multiple times on Facebook pages for the Lovely County Citizen and Carroll County News by Lacey Ekberg, executive director of the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission, in response to two stories published last week. They are reprinted here in their entirety, with no editing for grammar, punctuation or spelling.
Since my professional resume seems to have become great interest and curiousity I have decided to post a response on here since Im sure it wouldnt be printed via letter to the editor. I usually would be more professional but this issue doesnt warrant. This story is like a bowl of MMs. If you only pick out the brown you miss most of the color and flavor of life.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to many amazing places and help their communities with their struggles of tourism and economic development. I love what I do. Since no one bothered to ask the "WHY" I left these 3 contracts early now you will know why. All over several years...
Tarpon Springs...accepted job. Bought house. Great fun job. Family medical arose. I gave 2 week professional resignation with reason "why" it was accepted and understood. Well wishes given. I moved back to Daytona. Sold house in Tarpon. But I have bills and have to work.
So I took job in Deland in driving distance of home. Great job. Fun community. Then my mother, brother, and sister in law died unexpectantly within a few short months apart. Yes it took me to my knees. Life happens and then it doesnt. I had 2 family estates and businesses to handle. So I gave a 2 week professional resignation with reason. They accepted, understood. Well wishes.
This situation took me to Cincinnati. I still have to work for a living so I went across the river to Indiana for a job. Great community, challenging job.
More family medical issues arose so I explained to them that I needed to go for a while. They agreed to pay me 25% of my salary to continue my job off site. Which took me to Alachua County. Again I needed a job that paid more than 25% pay. I went to the County and got a job. They knew the reason I was there but were obviously more professional than to discuss. Awful community, horrible job. I hated them they hated me. I was terminated peacefully as neither one of us wanted to be there. It was a long 60 days with 2 jobs and medical testing. Medical issues on rest and I went back to Indiana as promised. I finished the task list as requested. Then sat and did nothing for 30 days. After discussion with several people there I gave my resignation 2 weeks professionally. But also gave reason that I was not going to sit idly accepting a paycheck for nothing. The county couldnt afford to pay for a director and I suggested they not replace the position as it was not needed. They agreed with my professional advice and did not replace.
Now Eureka Springs. I came, interviewed with 12 people. Spent 3 days walking and talking. Decided I liked it here and accepted job. Full background check, past employers called and all clear.
I took some time to play with grandkids and enjoy life for a short time. Then I received the first shred story about my finances. Thats a whole different story. Stop by and I will explain child molestation, divorce and huge medical bills. Life happens.
Needless to say I was hesitant to move to a town that welcomes people like that and judges before knowledge. It created a horrible impression of the town. But after several conversations with commissioner and staff I decided to give it a try. I was embraced by this community with warmth and apologies for such bad behavior and story. I decided to hold my head high and do right for the community. Take one for the team because I wasnt willing to talk about my personal life. Wasnt hired for that.
Six months later I am still being trolled, harassed and creeped. Its really disgusting how someone is so fixated. But I have continued forward. Until now. Its time to speak out. I have not responded to the negative as it is all so very personal. 2 things about me...like any mama bear I will protect my family even the dead ones. 2...my personal life is no ones business. Especially medical issues and death. But my professionalism and integrity is being questioned and is affecting my CAPC team. The laughing with the Mayor was pertaining to the demise of a long line of directors at the CAPC. Its actually really sad when you consider the history. Harassment, ridicule, even arrest just for doing a job. Then throw in the upspring of heart problems and stress related health issues that seem to come with the job. Oh and shout out to the Eureka Springs fire and EMS...thanks for the ambulance ride to the ER for an EKG. Great guys--- I appreciate it. The Mayor has too much class to diminish the situation and yes wanted to attend the interview. He cares about his City and employees.
The CAPC team, commissioners and city officials did their due diligence in the hiring process without question. I was hired for my professional skill, not for the exploitation of my family both medical and in death. All files including "exceeding expectations, collaboration, outstanding" performance review are in the personnel file. All commissioners are welcome to peruse.
I welcome all of you to put your entire life on paper. Be truthful. Then send to your local newspaper to be critiqued, shredded, trolled and terrorized. Or post on here for all to judge. Like mine. But dont explain the why. If being judged for life mishaps is a professional requirement then its become a sad world. I work. I stumble. I get back up. Life happens. Minions? I think we are all minions--- colorful, quirky, scared, powerful. Human. And we all talk about things of which we know nothing. As is the case.
I was offered a suggestion of how to rectify this situation. I guess I can buy advertising with a local newspaper and the trash stories might stop. Great sales pitch. However, the CAPC works under state mandate to advertise in the efforts to bring outside people to town. Which means advertising outside the region. When doing comparative KPIs on appropriate effective marketing product for ES we looked at all products including local. When asked about distribution I was told they keep distribution to local area only. Which is not what our state law says. I dont advertise in either local paper for that reason. I do however advertise in the Fun Guide, published by that "other" paper. Their distribution covers State welcome centers, TICs, airports and chambers. They were invited by the state to be a marketing component. Outside the area. We are keepers of the money, follow the law, and are here to market and assist this community to the best of our ability. Its a good thing and should be a positive. So if I hurt someones feelers because I didnt choose a product...sorry. But I will do what is best for the community and businesses.
In the fine words of Paul Harvey...Heres the rest of the story. I dont drink. I dont do drugs. I smoke upon occasion when pushed to my limit. I dont eat bananas or peanut butter. Shoe size 8. Credit score 759. Own home. Paid off. 1 credit card for travel. Car payment $289. I swear when attacked by playground bullies. And I am so proud of this tourism team, commissioners, and Mayor. They all have your best interests at heart and will continue making great progress moving forward. If you feel the need for more personal information come see me. But its probably none of your business.
I might lose my job over this interview and response, and I will be sad. But life happens and you should be happy and stop judging with no "why". We are only human.
So lets celebrate the amazing, incredible things that happen here, Let this community rise and do something to better the greater good. And let the personal grudges be just.....personal