Marilyn Heifner, the executive director for the Advertising and Promotion Commission in Fayetteville was recently put on paid leave as the commission is waiting for the results to come back from an investigation. The investigation is taking place to find out whether or not Heifner was in violation of the Arkansas Freedom of Information act.
Last week, the Northwest Arkansas Times filed a complaint with, alleging the Heifner refused to give the reporter requested public documents that had to do with the leasing and purchasing of the Old Post Office building. The reporter for the newspaper, Joel Walsh, claims to have asked Heifner numerous times for a copy of the offer that was made by the owner of the building, Ron Bumpass. Ron Bumpass claimed to have already given the document to Heifner.
However, the newspaper states that Heifner denied knowing anything about the counteroffer. She did not produce the document to the reporter until the reporter sent her a formal letter of request for the document. Heifner believes she has done absolutely nothing wrong and is not in violation of any laws. She says she did hand over the document once she received the formal written request. Heifner told the newspaper that once she got the request, she turned over the documents right away.
With the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act in place, the citizens within the state are allowed to request access to any type of public records, whether it be via mail, e-mail, telephone, or face to face. The citizens have a right to these records.
A meeting took place, in which the decision was made to put Heifner on paid leave until the investigation was completed. As the meeting finished, the Mayor, Lioneld Jordan, said that Heifner would need to put on administrative leave due to the pending investigation. With the motion in place, Hiefner will still be able receive any benefits that pertain to he, along with her salary, which was recently raised to $84,000 a year.
The Fayetteville Prosecuting Attorney is working to receive statements that have to do with the investigation. The entire process of the investigation is expected to take another week. Right now, it is still unknown as to why Heifner did not give the reporter those public documents. She refused to comment after the decision was made to put her on administrative leave.
It seems as though Heifner may have been worried that media attention about the building would ruin the deal with Bumpass. It is believed Heifner was worried about upsetting Bumpass, in fear that the deal would not take place if information was released by the media.
One commissioner questioned whether or not Bumpass wanted the newspaper to release this information as a way of raising the price on the building.A&P Director on Paid Leave Due to Pending Investigation by Harrison Barnes