CAPC bumps intern, fills finance spot

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Molly Horton is now the Auditorium operations manager and marketing director for the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission.

The commission voted on Wednesday, Sept. 8, to promote Horton to the position. Horton was hired as an intern in July. Tourism director Madison Dawson recommended that the commission promote Horton during its regular workshop, saying Horton would split her duties between the Auditorium and marketing.

“Half of her duties would lie in Auditorium operations and the other half would lie in what she does now, which is a wonderful job,” Horton said.

Molly Horton

The Auditorium duties would include managing shows and maintaining the Aud website and ticketing system, Dawson said. As for the marketing position, Dawson said, Horton would manage social media accounts and websites that the advertising agency doesn’t, manage in-house marketing campaigns and serve as a point of contact for events the commission does not oversee.

Dawson said the commission doesn’t need a full-time Auditorium manager at the moment, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing renovations to the building. Horton can step in to take on that role, Dawson said, while continuing to help with general marketing efforts.

“We don’t think it’s a prudent idea to hire someone for this, but we need someone,” Dawson said. “[Horton] is great, so I think she would do us good.”

Horton said she graduated this past spring with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Her first job was at a theater, Horton said, and she’s been facilitating ticketing at the Aud for the past couple of months. Chairman Jeff Carter asked if Horton would accept the promotion and Horton said yes.

During the commission’s regular meeting after the workshop, commissioner Melissa Greene moved to go into executive session to discuss promoting Horton. The executive session lasted approximately 17 minutes.

When the commission returned to public session, commissioner Carol Wright moved to promote Horton to Auditorium operations manager and marketing director at a salary of $40,000 annually. The commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Greene then moved to go into executive session to discuss hiring a finance director but withdrew her motion. Greene moved to adjourn the executive session for Horton, moving again to go into executive session to discuss hiring a finance director. That executive session lasted approximately 12 minutes.

When the commission return to public session, Greene moved to hire Scott Bardin as a transitional finance director at $25 an hour for up to 30 hours a week. The commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Earlier at the workshop, Bardin described his qualifications. Bardin said he has served on the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission since September 2019. In that time, Bardin said, he’s reorganized the general ledger chart of accounts and tracked expenditures and revenue using Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets.

“This has all been in accordance with preparation of an accounting manual and that’s what would lead us to having less discrepancies in the future,” Bardin said. “I have spent many hours in the past two years preparing financial statements that were clear, concise and accurate for the general public to understand. This has resulted in zero audit findings or management concerns from the Arkansas Legislative Audit Department.”

In a March 19, 2020, management letter to Eureka Springs City officials, Marti Steel, a certified public accountant and deputy legislative auditor with Arkansas Legislative Audit, writes that “(a) review of Parks and Recreation receipts and deposits revealed that receipts exceeded deposits by $2,596.

These funds, comprised of cash collections at Lake Leatherwood Park, were collected from Sept. 2 through Dec. 22, 2018. This matter is currently under investigation by the Arkansas State Police.”

Morning Dove Bolerjack, a former office manager in the parks department, was arrested in June 2020 after the ASP investigation. In a criminal affidavit, an investigator writes that Bolerjack admitted to stealing approximately $2,600 in cash deposits from the parks department.

Bolerjack originally was charged with one count of theft of property, a Class D felony. She pleaded guilty in April in an agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation. She also was ordered to pay a total of $3,536.13 in restitution, fines and court costs.

In another management letter dated Nov. 2, 2020, Steel writes: “On October 3, 2019, Parks and Recreation discovered that a bank account linked to a point-of-sale software had been altered, and funds were being diverted to another bank account, resulting in a $6,157 loss to the City. This matter is currently under investigation by the Arkansas State Police.

“Bank accounts were not reconciled on a monthly basis, as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 14-59-108.

“Receipts were not always deposited timely.

“Two disbursements totaling $37,483 were made by cash withdrawals ($18,305) or electronic funds transfers ($19,178), in noncompliance with Ark. Code Ann. § 14-59-105.”

After the commission voted to hire Bardin, Greene moved to close the executive session and the commission voted to do so.

“Scott, congratulations,” Carter said. “Thank you for coming and helping us.”

Greene thanked retiring finance director Rick Bright for his years of service and Carter asked Bright if two weeks is enough time to transition Bardin into the role. Bright nodded.

During the finance report, Bright said the city’s cash balance is $1,084,995.71 and projected that the revenue would be up by 25 percent this year.

“In my 10 years here, we’ve never been over $1 million in the bank and we are today,” Bright said.

Also at the meeting, Dawson presented a fourth-quarter marketing plan totaling $63,500. Dawson said the regional marketing plan would target Tulsa, Fort Smith and Fayetteville. Dawson said the campaign would focus on October, November and December.

The October campaign would involve Facebook, Google and Instagram advertising, Dawson said, with a focus on Corvette Weekend, Hilberry Music Festival, Heart of Eureka Trick or Treating, White Street Halloween and Voices from the Silent City.

The November campaign would involve Facebook, Google and radio advertising, Dawson said. She said the promoted events would include Diversity Weekend, Miss Coco Peru at the Aud, Folk Festival, Porsche Palooza and Shop Small with Heart of Eureka.

Dawson then described the December campaign, saying it would involve Facebook, Google, radio and TV advertising. She said the campaign would promote events such as Living Advent Calendar, Living Windows, the Christmas Parade of Lights, Jingle Bell Stroll and carolers.

Greene said the commission previously considered a fourth-quarter marketing campaign proposed by Paradise Marketing and Carter said the commission didn’t commit to that. There’s plenty of surplus funds to cover the campaign presented by Dawson, Carter said, in addition to $10,000 already budgeted for Christmas.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Greene said. “I’m fully behind what we do with Paradise but we also need to start doing some stuff on our own.”

Greene moved to approve $63,500 for the marketing campaign and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

In other business, the commission agreed to spend $40,000 for a new wheelchair lift and a ramp at the Aud. The commission also voted to end its office lease on East Van Buren by Dec. 1, agreeing to move all offices into the Aud.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Auditorium.

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Information for this report was contributed by managing editor Scott Loftis.

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