Favorite

The Chamber relents 

The Arkansas Times started in late 2009 attempting to get a better accounting from the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce of how it spends public money — $200,000 from the city of Little rock and $25,000 from Central Arkansas Water — on a so-called services contract to work on economic development.

The Chamber refused to provide anything more than pro forma budgets of its economic development effort, which cost about $823,000 in 2009. The city's contract requires compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. It also says it is for "economic development purposes only." City officials have been given assurances that the money would not be spent for the chamber's political activities.

Late this year, we asked Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore for a simple piece of information — which employees of the chamber receive a portion of the salaries and benefits paid by public money? At last, we got an answer.


Public servants

In a letter Dec. 16, Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the chamber, said five of the chamber's 15 employees then directly devoted time to the city in 2009 and were compensated in part by public money. They were Chesshir, Joey Dean, Lucas Hargraves, Carmen Parks and Kristi Barr. Not political? Chesshir and Hargraves were registered lobbyists for the chamber in 2009 and its issues went beyond city development. Stodola insists that subsidy of the CEO's pay and benefits and other staff members does not amount to a contribution to general operations, which the contract forbids to avoid constitutional problems.


Charity begins at home

n The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission this week adopted a new rule requiring the executive director to get preapproval for all purchases of tables or tickets at local functions. Records released to the Times after it went to press last week showed that at Mathieu's direction the airport paid $5,000 to the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute to sponsor the 2010 Gala for Life dinner recognizing Commissioner Tom Schueck and his wife, Marge, in May. Mathieu also used airport money to purchase $500 in tickets to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Hall of Fame ceremony honoring Commissioner Jesse Mason and $1,250 for 10 tickets to the Aerospace Education Center's 31st annual Hall of Fame; both events were in October. Director Ron Mathieu previously explained a $5,000 contribution to UAMS for membership in its Chancellor's Circle as something he did to enhance employee care at UAMS, Though the hospital said membership in the circle conferred no real benefits.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • I'm only 31, still quite a young lesbian by some standards. Born in 1986, I…

    • on July 24, 2017
  • Re: Up and running

    • INTERESTING - However the idea isn't new.........a Major Technology Park was planned for the old…

    • on July 24, 2017
  • Re: A week at Midtown

    • Yes indeed, it is so wonderful to finally be back home. This is my 10th…

    • on July 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation