Wally Bailey, who recently resigned as Fort Smith’s director of planning after 41 years with the city, former Rep. Leslee Milam-Post, D-Ozark, and Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) Marketing Director Lorie Robertson are three of almost 90 people who have applied for the FCRA executive director job.
The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority personnel committee is expected to narrow its search for a new executive director in the coming weeks. The FCRA board has conducted several initial interviews for the executive director position over the past couple of weeks, Kelly Clark, FCRA Board member, said at the board’s regular meeting June 20. The personnel committee plans to meet soon to narrow the list of candidates they want to bring in for second interviews, Clark told other board members.
There were almost 90 applicants who submitted resumes and applications for the position, left vacant when the board voted Feb. 21 that Ivy Owen was no longer able to fulfill his responsibilities as executive director due to health issues and because of that he would no longer be employed by FCRA. Owen was the face and often evangelical voice of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) for more than 11 years, but had not been in the FCRA office since Nov. 21, 2018. He was still officially the executive director until Feb. 21 and did receive pay until that time, although he did not receive full pay, said FCRA Janet Gabrey, director of finance and temporary office manager.
Owen recently filed a wrongful termination claim against FCRA. The board agreed to allow its attorney to enter into mediation with Owen’s attorney regarding the claim following an executive session at the board’s regular meeting June 20.
The executive director position is “a professional economic development position consisting of planning, business and industry recruitment and retention, redevelopment, expansion and/or relocation,” the job description for the position states. The position will involve “considerable public contact” to collect and distribute information on FCRA, Chaffee Crossing, its history and plans for its future. The director also will be responsible for economic development activities, growing and developing relationships with city and government figures as well as potential clients.
The director will be “responsible for managing a maturing entity and ensuring a strong financial plan to support capital improvement projects and operations.” Because of the nature and history of the FCRA and Chaffee Crossing, the executive director would be responsible for preserving historic landmarks among other duties such as implementing projects that support commercial, residential and industrial development, business retention and development of infrastructure. The executive director also will “provide assistance to prospective businesses and industries to obtain information on incentives to attract and develop growth” the job description states.
The personnel committee agreed when developing the job description for the position in March that applicants for the position must have a bachelor’s degree with five years’ experience in economic development, public administration or related field. An equivalent combination of education and experience will be accepted.