Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Government channel operation may be changing

City to explore divvying up position duties

BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The job duties of former Cable Administrator Marvin Hilton may be spread among existing Government Channel employees. Then again, they may not.

The restructuring, if it happens, would mean a savings in salary costs in Fayetteville’s General Fund.

“ I think if we’re going to significantly expand somebody’s duties, we’ll increase their responsibilities, make somebody a supervisor who wasn’t a supervisor before, said Susan Thomas, public information officer and policy adviser for the city. “ I think it’s only right to compensate that person for those additional duties, so it won’t be a 100 percent savings of the salary associated with that position, but there will be some for sure. ”

She said she does not have any specific ideas about titles, shifting positions, creating new titles or any other details of the possible restructuring.

“ I’m going to work with staff to find the best option, ” she said.

Thomas had planned to propose an appeal of the city’s hiring freeze for the cable administration position but saw an alternative after meeting with staff and listening to feedback.

“… it looks like it may make more sense to distribute the job duties among existing employees, ” she told the council via a memo at its Tuesday agenda session.

She said she hasn’t made a final decision and wants to continue to talk to staff.

“ That looks like it’s going to work out, ” she said of the idea to redistribute the job duties.

Hilton’s contract was terminated Friday.

“ The duties of that position are essential. They have to continue. They are not going away, ” Thomas said after the agenda session. “ It’s just restructuring how we’re going to get them done. ”

She wrote in her memo to the council, “ I am therefore not asking for an appeal to the hiring freeze at this time and do not anticipate doing so in the future. ”

A change in duties may not be the only change ahead for the Government Channel.

Thomas referred to a Telecommunications Board Forum on Issue Forums held April 30. She said at that meeting City Attorney Kit Williams outlined issues about the legality of the public forums and the way they have been produced at the Government Channel.

Williams said after the meeting Tuesday that he thinks the forums should be on the public access channel (CAT-TV ) rather than the Government Channel.

The Government Channel should be primarily to present government meetings and information, he said.

Thomas told the council she expected significant changes in the nature of the programming produced and broadcast by the Government Channel.

“ We will effectively be starting from scratch on the policy / procedure re-write, ” she wrote in the memo. “ That process has been underway for about two years. ”

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

No comments: