FCRA seeking director who can ‘manage a maturing entity’

by Tina Alvey Dale (tdale@talkbusiness.net) 363 views 

When it comes to an executive director, the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority wants someone who can be the prominent face of the organization and the brand it represents. Now they just have to find that someone.

The personnel committee took steps to finding an interim executive director and someone to fill the position permanently when they met Tuesday (March 5) afternoon. The FCRA Board decided in a special meeting Feb. 28 for the personnel committee to meet March 5 in order to draft a job description and advertisement for an interim executive director to serve until such a time the board can hire a full-time executive director.

The board voted to give the committee the authority to publish the description and ads after they meet without the need to go before the full board for approval. The board agreed FCRA needed an interim director to take over as soon as possible to be the face of the authority and get things back on track.

The board announced Feb. 26 that Ivy Owen would no longer serve as executive director of the authority. The board voted in an executive session Feb. 21 that Owen was no longer able to fulfill his responsibilities due to health issues and because of that he would no longer be employed by FCRA.

During Tuesday’s committee meeting, members discussed a number of qualifications an executive director would need to have including the ability to properly negotiate the sale of land.

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) economic development project has reached more than $1.651 Billion in projected capital investments (based on property sold through the end of 2018), information provided by the authority said.

Land values have increased rapidly since the BRAC process deeded the land to the area in 1995. It has since won major developments like the ArcBest headquarters, residential and commercial developments from ERC Holdings, and the campus of the growing Arkansas Colleges of Health Education. With the investments, values have increased significantly to the point that, according to Sebastian County Assessor Zach Johnson, assessed lands in the Chaffee Crossing boundaries from 2011-2017 had a tax value of $6.916 million. That figure is 20% of the land value, which would estimate growth from the aforementioned $17.5 million (for everything) to around $34.5 million just for the land FCRA placed back on tax rolls.

In the annual report, presented to the board Feb. 21, Lorie Robertson, FCRA director of marketing, said $11.2 million had been generated in real estate taxes from 2011-2018. Of the original 7,000 acres, there were 1,575 developable acres of land and 860 acres of greenspace for sale as of the end of 2018.

There are more than 2,600 jobs in 164 businesses in Chaffee Crossing, with a projected 3,250 jobs and 1,050 students working and learning in the area by 2024.

“We need someone to manage a maturing entity, ensuring a strong financial plan to support capital improvement,” committee chair Kelly Clark said during the meeting. “I think we want to look for the same skill set in the interim director as what we would need (in a permanent executive director) but we could have more liberty in reducing the requirements with the interim.”

There is no time set on how long the interim executive director will serve, the committee said, noting it all depends on how long it takes to find the correct person to fill the position permanently. Clark was going to draw up a final job description for the executive director/interim executive director and send that information to the FCRA’s attorney for approval. The committee expects to meet again soon to vote on a final description and plan to advertise the position.

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