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Chaffee Crossing chief receives 17.95% salary increase

story by Ryan Saylor
rsaylor@thecitywire.com

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority meeting Thursday (Jan. 23) saw its board of directors approve an extension of Executive Director Ivy Owen's contract as well as approval of a budget that would pay Owen a higher annual salary, therefore eliminating annual performance bonuses that have brought attention to the FCRA.

Owen, whose contract will now run through Aug. 31, 2016, had previously been awarded a bonus of $25,000 in both December 2013 and December 2012. During the Dec. 18, 2013, meeting, which marked Owen's sixth year with the FCRA, he had requested not only the bonus but also a pay raise of 5%, which would have bumped his annual salary from $136,500 to $143,325. The item was tabled by the board until it had completed its annual budget, which passed unanimously Thursday.

Included in the budget was funding for Owen's salary of $161,000, which represents a 17.95% salary bump. But Owen said following the meeting that the increase in salary was not what it initially appeared to be.

"What they talked about doing was instead of giving me a bonus which raises so much public (interest)…it was really a part of my salary, I just deferred it until the end of the year. They put that in my salary now, so I won't get a bonus at the end of the year."

The amount his salary was bumped equals $24,500, an amount just shy of his bonuses for the previous two years.

While Owen did not receive the 5% raise he had requested, he said he is happy with his compensation package provided by FCRA.

"Yes, I'm very happy," he said. "I'll be happy to be here two more years."

Looking to the two year mark and beyond, Owen said there was still a lot of work to be done to fully re-purpose the land that was formerly a part of the U.S. Army's Fort Chaffee military installation for civilian use. And Owen said he wants to be able to see the development of what is now known as Chaffee Crossing through to completion, meaning he is likely to ask for more time at FCRA before hanging his hat.

"I'll probably ask for another two years," he said. "I think probably in four years I'll be ready (to retire). I think I will have an opportunity in four years to accomplish what I want to accomplishment and see what things come to fruition that I think should have come within that period of time. And in four years, I'll probably be ready to slow down a little bit."

One of the projects still on Owen's agenda is finalizing a lease from FCRA to a non-profit made up of members of the authority's Deer Trails Golf Course.

The facility has posted losses the last two years and is projected to lose $45,400 during the first quarter of this year, prior to the lease which should be signed and operational by April 1.

With a lease to the non-profit for $1 each year, Owen said the FCRA would reduce losses at the facility since it would no longer be responsible for property, equipment and building maintenance. The only cost, which is still an known, would be property insurance, Owen said.

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FCRA Treasurer Kelly Clark said the five year lease would be a great move for FCRA and club members at Deer Trails.

"When we got it, we viewed it as something that enhanced the property. We sure didn't want it to go away, but in the same respect, we're not in the business to run golf courses, either. They have the expertise, they all got together and wanted to do it. We drafted a lease and they're going to starting running it April 1."

In other business, board members approved updates to the FCRA's master plan.

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Comments

Ivy Owen

I have know Ivy Owen for years and he is a quality businessman and person. I have no doubt that he earns every penny of his salary. We should be thankful he will be here 2 more years.

Prepaid Bonus

So he now gets the bonus whether his performance warrants that bonus? Something doesn't smell right....Or is it a bonus just for showing-up?

Ivy Owen

Onus, nothing smells! I know one of the FCRA trustees personally and am certain that the intent here is to simply include the bonus in Mr. Owen's salary. They are confident after 6 years of stellar performance that his performance will continue. Remember that if his performance fails then they can deal with it at his annual performance review. Mr Owen is an above board, transparent and ethical business person and deserves every dime he is paid! So relax and watch what happens at Chaffee Crossing in 2014.

18% Salary Bump, Expenses & the FCRA

Surely no one is questioning if Ivy Owen is a good guy. At first, it would appear Ivy Owens' 18% salary bump, approved by the FCRA, is pretty hefty bump up, but then again, Ivy has received bonuses of $25,000 a year in the past. The bonuses themselves have been pretty hefty. What I would be interested in seeing, total 2013 revenue was $6,138,000 and total expenses totaled $5,168,000. How was the $5,168,000 spent? Is there a itemized expense report? How much is each board member paid annually to serve? It appears there is a commercial realtor that promotes and markets Chaffee Crossing, what were they paid in 2013? One of the FCRA employees represented the FCRA at the SEC Championship football game last month, what were those expenses and the results? Maybe Ivy, or a board member can provide these expenses in a itemized manner to better explain the costs in doing business?
Surely no one is questioning if Ivy Owen is a good guy. At first, it would appear Ivy Owens' 18% salary bump, approved by the FCRA, is pretty hefty bump up, but then again, Ivy has received bonuses of $25,000 a year in the past. The bonuses themselves have been pretty hefty. What I would be interested in seeing, total 2013 revenue was $6,138,000 and total expenses totaled $5,168,000. How was the $5,168,000 spent? Is there a itemized expense report? How much is each board member paid annually to serve? It appears there is a commercial realtor that promotes and markets Chaffee Crossing, what were they paid in 2013? One of the FCRA employees represented the ...>> Read the entire comment.

What's important is the end

What's important is the end result. Mr. Ivy Owen has done an amazing job with Chaffee Crossing and deserves every bit of his salary.

Okay

Fine. I'm sure he is a good guy and so on and so on but that great of an increase along with the bonuses seems to be a bit much. Maybe everyone would feel more fuzzy and warm if they new just where all this money that has been paid, for free land, has gone?

The End Is Important, That Is Why I Asked The FCRA?

Again, no one is disputing your admiration for Mr Ivy Owen and he may deserve every bit of his salary, but can't one ask a few probing questions for the sake of transparency? Again, I would like to see how the $5,168,000 expenses were spent in 2013? Is there a itemized expense report? What are the board members paid annually to serve on the board? How much was paid to the commercial realtor in commissions? How much to promote and market and to who? What were the salary packages for the sales and management positions? One of the FCRA employees was sent to the SEC Championship football game last month, what did those expenses total and how did that benefit the taxpayers? How much was spent on water and sewer lines? Who do you FOI to receive such information?
Again, no one is disputing your admiration for Mr Ivy Owen and he may deserve every bit of his salary, but can't one ask a few probing questions for the sake of transparency? Again, I would like to see how the $5,168,000 expenses were spent in 2013? Is there a itemized expense report? What are the board members paid annually to serve on the board? How much was paid to the commercial realtor in commissions? How much to promote and market and to who? What were the salary packages for the sales and management positions? One of the FCRA employees was sent to the SEC Championship football game last month, what did those expenses total and how did that benefit the ...>> Read the entire comment.

just asking

If I remember correctly, the land on the old military base was supposed to go back to the original owners of the land or their heirs. Was this a fact or has this changed?

YES that is a fact, and YES that has changed

Sometimes though long after these agreements are made, mere normal people become dangerously close to coming out ahead on an agreement that was originally only intended just to smooth over the fact their property was being confiscated and again as mere normal people they were only entitled to the lowest price imaginable as payment for it. Later on if due to location or finding oil or gold on the property it becomes valuable the ones who made up the original deal simply make a new one. Like in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Carpet-baggers Maybe

There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Owen has done a great job at Chaffee Crossing developing and selling property but does the Government really own the land or were the agreements only for temporary use of the land for the military? One must wonder if some capable attorneys decided to challenge the land sales, if the ownership of the land should have been given back to the original owners? Would the present day owners who bought land be forced to give it back to the original owners or would some form of just compensation be in order? Just asking if there are some legal scholars out there who may want to give their opinions or comment on this issue? Interesting case.

Not a Fact

This has been an old saw for many years and is not fact. The gov't came in bought it and held it since 1940. Any such reverter would have to have been on the deed granted to the gov. Any puffery by the gov. agents at the time was just BS.

It was supposed to when

It was supposed to when originally taken, but congress threw that provision out in the 1960's. My great grandmother went to washington to try to fight them getting rid of the provision that allowed the original owners to repurchase their property. Congress did not care about their original agreement and her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Had to be in the deed

I stand by my comment. There is no enforceable property interest unless contained in the deed of conveyance. All else is puffery. If it had been in the deed there would have been a property interest and Congress would have no say. It would have been enforceable in the courts.

Someone with money probably knew in the 60's

what the future held in store for Chaffee just as Rogers probably knew about the future of another military base back in the 1800's when he obtained a large part of the entire town from a normal person...for a mere pittance. Congress simply would not come out of the blue and make a change like that without a rea$on. Here's a guess. Less than $200 an acre then for the confiscation Observor sees only as a purchase and $40k or so a lot now. Then after decades of them saying it never happened, YOU become the total nut for bringing it up again? That's par for the course around here and my guess is your culprit would be one of the first to come out money ahead on the deal.
what the future held in store for Chaffee just as Rogers probably knew about the future of another military base back in the 1800's when he obtained a large part of the entire town from a normal person...for a mere pittance. Congress simply would not come out of the blue and make a change like that without a rea$on. Here's a guess. Less than $200 an acre then for the confiscation Observor sees only as a purchase and $40k or so a lot now. Then after decades of them saying it never happened, YOU become the total nut for bringing it up again? That's par for the course around here and my guess is your culprit would be one of the first to come out money ahead on the ...>> Read the entire comment.