by Max Brantley
The people have spoken and someone was listening. Just received this e-mail from Scott Carter at Little Rock City Hall:
Today, Little Rock Vice Mayor Stacy Hurst announced that she was reimbursing the City of Little Rock for the costs associated with inclusion in the "Power Women" listing in the June issue of Soiree.
Soiree selected the honorees and contacted them individually. While Hurst agreed to be featured in the publication, the city was invoiced for the feature. The city paid for the ad based on the assumption it was an advertisement for promoting city service while honoring one of its own servants.
"After seeing the appearance of this feature in Soiree, I feel it is better for me to reimburse the City to remove any appearance of impropriety," said Vice Mayor Hurst.. "There are pressing issues such as public safety and economic development that deserve our full attention. Let us move forward together to ensure our City is safe, sound, and living up to its outstanding potential."
UPDATE: Following is a statement on the matter from Jeff Hankins, president of Soiree's parent, the Arkansas Business Publishing Group:
"We should have labeled the Soiree section on "Power Women" as a promotional feature. We made a mistake. We regret it for the women featured, all of whom were chosen by Publisher & Editor Becki Moore and were worthy of recognition.
"Becki selected Stacy Hurst and no other City Board members for inclusion, so the city was not showing any favoritism to her over the others.
"Our intent was to bring recognition to women and their businesses and organizations. We asked businesses and organizations to help pay for the section and photography."