Will work as off-site contractor: Ekberg out as full-time CAPC director
By Scott Loftis
Lacey Ekberg’s tenure as the full-time executive director of the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission is over, although she will be paid as an off-site contractor for the next three months.
At a special called meeting Monday, the seven CAPC commissioners voted unanimously to approve a “contractual agreement” to pay Ekberg $7,500 a month for a minimum of three months to work off-site, with a review after 90 days, according to a written statement distributed after Monday’s meeting.
Ekberg’s benefit package as a Eureka Springs city employee will be waived.
The agreement stipulates that the CAPC will provide Ekberg with a “professional reference for job performance.”
According to the written statement, Ekberg’s position will be “(t)ransitioning into a lay-off status with approval of potential unemployment benefits if applied.”
Ekberg had served as the CAPC’s executive director since Aug. 15, 2019, although the commission never approved her hiring in open session as required by state law. At a CAPC meeting on July 10, 2019, commissioners emerged from an executive session to announce that they had selected Ekberg for the executive director position.
Ekberg was classified as a city employee at an annual salary of $75,000. The CAPC also paid her $4,000 to cover moving expenses, without requiring receipts to document those expenses.
CAPC publicist Gina Rambo issued a statement via email Monday afternoon, saying “a review to finish out 2020 will be performed” after 90 days.
“The CAPC will continue to move forward with 2020 plans into 2021 under Ms. Ekberg’s leadership upon agreement to extend the 90-day contract,” the statement from Rambo says.
On Jan. 16, the Lovely County Citizen reported that Ekberg’s resume described at least three of her previous positions as “short-term contracts” despite public records and published reports indicating that they were initially intended to be permanent positions. The Citizen also revealed that Ekberg did not disclose a position she held for two months in 2018 — before being fired — while on a partially paid leave of absence from another position.
Last week, the Citizen reported that the National Student Clearinghouse, the designated degree verification service for the University of California at Berkeley and Boise State University in Idaho, could not confirm that Ekberg received degrees from either school. A cover letter that Ekberg submitted along with her resume as a candidate for the executive director position indicated that she holds two bachelor’s degrees, without identifying particular schools. On an application for a previous position, Ekberg listed a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Boise State and a bachelor’s degree in business law from Cal-Berkeley.
The commission met in executive session for approximately 35 minutes at Monday’s special meeting at the CAPC office. After returning to the office lobby, the commissioners voted to approve the agreement with Ekberg, then voted to adjourn the executive session.