CAPC considers staffing options

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission spent much of its March 11 workshop discussing staff, including the director position and a proposed Auditorium manager position.

The commission discussed a proposed job description for a new Auditorium manager, with commissioner Terry McClung saying some of the items should be removed. The Auditorium manager wouldn't develop and implement marketing strategies, McClung said. He said that's the job of the executive director or the commission's ad agency.

Chairwoman Carol Wright said the commission should consider hiring an administrator and a creative director, suggesting interim director Gina Rambo for the latter position. Commissioner Greg Moon asked if some of the duties for the proposed Auditorium manager could be given to events coordinator Tracy Johnson, and finance director Rick Bright said that can't happen under Johnson's current contract.

McClung suggested that Rambo and Bright work together to edit the job description for the proposed Auditorium manager and the commission agreed that would be the best way to go. The commission continued to discuss the executive director position, with McClung saying the position needs to be redefined to consider the commission's working relationship with the ad agency Paradise.

"What would that person's expertise be?" Wright asked.

"Business management would be very good," McClung said. "Business management and public relations."

McClung said that person would be the "real face of the CAPC" and would coordinate with staff, commissioners and city officials. Harman said it's "very confusing" to have two directors, with Rambo serving as interim director and former executive director Lacey Ekberg locked in a 90-day agreement to work as an independent contractor. The arrangement with Ekberg will be reviewed and may be extended on May 14. Harman said she'd like to "move on" after the 90 days are up.

"Right now, what we have is two directors. At the last meeting, I went home and I thought, 'That's not fair to Gina,' " Harman said. "If I were in that position, I would say, 'OK, what am I really supposed to do? Can I do this? Can I do this? It's a weird situation to be in."

Rambo said the arrangement is going fine so far.

"But what if we disagree on something?" Rambo said. "We haven't come to that yet."

Commissioner Jeff Carter said Rambo would have final say on all matters as interim director, and Wright reminded the commissioners that the decision to end or extend Ekberg's contract won't come for a while. Harman said she just wanted the commission to know how she feels about finding somebody new for the position.

"It seems like you're looking toward just having a new director," Wright said.

Harman said she'd like to review the job description for executive director before making any decision to move forward, and Bright encouraged the commission to avoid rushing to hire someone new.

"We've already got two salaries that are going out," Bright said. "I wouldn't want to add a third to that. We need to do this right. We can't do this every six months. We need to do this right."

"I like the idea of sort of spreading the responsibility out," Wright said, "and not having one person with a target on their back."

The commission moved on to discuss the employee handbook, and Harman said she's been researching the commission's options. The commission could write a new handbook, Harman said, or use existing city documents.

"Do you feel like the paperwork that already is provided by the city is sufficient or would you want to create something new?" Harman asked.

"The problem with the city is they don't get anybody to sign stuff," Wright said. "The problem is they're not doing their jobs, which puts us all at risk."

Harman said CAPC employees are required to sign specific paperwork to receive a paycheck and Wright said she had to sign documents to allow Ekberg to receive a paycheck last year.

"Whatever it was, it wasn't an employee handbook," Wright said. "That's all they required for her to get her paycheck. It's another thing the city hadn't asked us to sign that we needed to sign before she got paid."

Harman said the commission needs to be familiar with all documentation and agreed to keep researching into the employee handbook.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at The Auditorium.

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