Parker appeals ruling in CAPC lawsuit to state Supreme Court

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The attorney representing a group of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against several members of the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission as well as Mayor Butch Berry and other defendants is appealing a circuit court ruling regarding the appointments of three commissioners.

Attorney Tim Parker filed notice in Carroll County Circuit Court on Aug. 11 of his appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which he will ask to overturn Jackson’s June 25 ruling that the appointments of Melissa Greene, Harry Meyer and Carol Wright to the CAPC were legal.

Parker had argued that Greene and Meyer’s appointments were illegal because they are members of the Eureka Springs City Council and that Wright’s appointment also violated state law because she was not a resident of Eureka Springs.

After Jackson ruled in favor of the three commissioners, Parker filed a motion on June 28 requesting the judge to reconsider the issue.

Jackson issued a written order on July 29, denying Parker’s request for reconsideration.

In his appeal to the state Supreme Court, Parker writes that there is a conflict between subsection 26-75-605 of the Arkansas Code Annotated and Article 19 subsection 3 of the state constitution.

“Specifically, the state ostensibly permits the appointment to municipal advertising and promotion commissions of someone residing in the county but outside of the municipality who is not a registered voter of the municipality,” Parker writes. “That provision of the statute is in conflict with Art. 19 §3 of the Arkansas Constitution and the relevant case law from the Arkansas Supreme Court holding that only residents and electors of a political subdivision of the State of Arkansas may be appointed to the public offices of that political entity.”

Parker writes that the appointment of incumbent city council members to an advertising and promotion commission is also the subjecting of conflicting portions of the state legal code.

“Specifically, A.C.A. §26-75-605 ostensibly requires two (2) members of the city council to be members of the City Advertising and Promotion Commission,” Parker writes. “A.C.A. §14-42-107 specifically prohibits the appointment of city council members to public offices other than those specified by the statute.”

Parker writes that numerous opinions by the state attorney general’s office state that sitting city council members may not be appointed to a city’s advertising and promotion commission.

Parker represents CAPC finance director Rick Bright, group sales coordinator Karen Pryor, former interim director Gina Rambo, former special events coordinator Tracy Johnson and former commissioner Greg Moon in the lawsuit, originally filed in March, that makes multiple claims against a group of defendants including Berry, Greene, Meyer and Wright.

Other defendants in the suit are CAPC commissioners Jeff Carter and James DeVito, former commissioner Patrick Burnett, mayoral assistant Kim Stryker and two insurance companies that provide policies to the city.

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