UPDATE: City attorney: Authority exempt from disclosure | Arkansas Blog

Friday, April 13, 2012

UPDATE: City attorney: Authority exempt from disclosure

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM

In response to a question by City Director Ken Richardson, City Attorney Tom Carpenter issued an opinion today that the city-appointed members of the board of the Little Rock Technical Park Authority do not have to file statements of financial interest.

The statute setting up the Authority allows the mayor to appoint two members to the board and to "participate in the appointment" of a third. Mayor Stodola's appointees to the board are commercial realtor Dickson Flake and Allied Wireless vice president C.J. Duvall; his joint appointment with other sponsors is Chamber of Commerce president Jay Chesshir.

Carpenter writes that the statute governing financial disclosure requirements, Ark. Code Ann. Sec. 21-8-701, is specific about which governmental elected or appointed officials the law refers to. It does not include public research park authority members.

Carpenter's formal opinion echoes what he told the Times several weeks ago. Members of the Authority have indicated that since they are not required to disclose financials, they don't intend to.

I've got a call in to Richardson to see if he thinks the city, which is pumping $22 million into the park in taxpayer dollars, should require authority members to file statements of financial interest as do elected officials and commission appointees. City directors out there? Feel free to comment.

UPDATE FROM MAX: E-mails circulating among city directors indicate Ken Richardson and B. J. Wyrick support this financial disclosure. They all should. A lot of money is about to be spent by taxpayers here. We're owed full knowledge of the background of those spending it. Mayor Mark Stodola has told me directly he'd support a law change to require disclosure. The current exemption — about which I won't argue with Carpenter, for once — is not carved in stone. It could be amended to provide disclosure and should. Though this thing is a creature of state law — necessary for all manner of endeavors the city undertakes — the city's hands are not tied. It should asks its legislators to extend disclosure to this agency. What, please, Director Lance Hines, would be the reason for you to raise questions about this, as the e-mails seem to indicate you did?

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