Firing Not Enough For Heifner

Quoting the editorial in whichever newspaper we drop in the road near your driveway every morning or so:

“Executive Director Marilyn Heifner lied when asked if the Fayetteville (Fudville) Advertising and Promotion Commission had received a counteroff er in its bid to lease or buy the old post oftce in the town square.

“She should resign.

Failing that, the commission should fi re her.”

A politician who lied to the press? A shocking turn of events to be sure.

But fired? That doesn’t seem right.

Caned, publicly whipped or placed in stockades, maybe. But firing is letting Heifner off too easily.

For those who missed this - what was a f asco even for Fudville - here’s some background in a nutshell.

Of course, the operative part of the word nutshell in almost any kind of debacle that seems to occur inFudville is “nut.”

Again, quoting from the editorial: “The document Heifner possessed, but refused to release to a Northwest Arkansas Times reporter, was legally disclosable to the public through the state’s Freedom of Information Act. She knew that, but instead of releasing the document as required by law, she said she didn’t have it. Then she claimed she’d ‘found it on her desk.’ Then she admitted she had it all along, but didn’t want it to become public.”

Heifner was recently placed on paid administrative leave while Casey Jones, the Fayetteville city prosecutor, not the train engineer, investigates a complaint that she violated the state Freedom ofInformation Act.

The complaint fi rst went to Washington County Prosecutor John Threet, a PINO (Prosecutor In Name Only), who quick-kicked the issue to Jones.

The complaint is a misdemeanor and Threet’s oftce handles only felonies, he said, whimpered, whined - whatever.

The commission’s decision to give Heifner a paid vacation came as it discussed whether to continue with a proposed one-year lease of the old post oftce in the city’s downtown square. The commission voted to pay for an appraisal and inspection of the 100-year-old building before deciding whether it will make a second off er to purchase the building.

Current Fudville Mayor Lioneld Jordan (not related to Michael Jordan), who also sits on the commission, said he wanted to get more information about the newspaper’s complaint before commenting on it.

That’s a nice way of saying, “I don’t want to embarrass her anymorethan she’s already embarrassed herself.”

Heifner’s act is all the more misunderstandable because, when her name used to be Marilyn Johnson, she served as mayor of Fudville.

Granted, that was back in the days when Fudville had a city-manager form of government and the mayor did little of the actual running of the city - apparently, like she did little of the actual running of the Advertising and Promotion Commission.

But fi ring Heifner?

Oh, no, no, no.

If Jones finds her guilty of violating the FOIA, she should be ordered to take a refresher class on the requirements of the FOIA.

Then returned to her position and forced to watch the business hub of Northwest Arkansas continue to migrate from Fudville to Rogers.

Now, that is punishment.


Opinion, Pages 5 on 02/18/2012