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Chamber: ‘We’re going to turn it around’

Kay Dooley (right, in green jacket) speaks to members of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce, who gathered Monday night for a special meeting following the termination of Kim Dillivan, the chamber’s executive director. Chamber board members apologized and said they will turn the organization around after a downhill slide in recent months. Kay Dooley (right, in green jacket) speaks to members of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce, who gathered Monday night for a special meeting following the termination of Kim Dillivan, the chamber’s executive director. Chamber board members apologized and said they will turn the organization around after a downhill slide in recent months. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner

It was a night for apologies.

At a special Monday night membership meeting announced by email, officers and board members of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce followed up the surprise dismissal of the chamber manager and office staff with a pledge to retool the organization to serve members.

Chamber president Dan Hadden of Dan’s Boot & Saddle Repair got right to the point as he welcomed about 25 people to the hastily-called meeting.

“We apologize to you,” he said. “We feel the chamber of commerce has been on a downhill slide these last months. We’re going to turn it around.”

Hadden didn’t elaborate on the decision to fire the chamber’s executive director, Kim Dillivan, just one week after the annual chamber banquet on March 24. Dillivan was hired in early May 2010, and he assumed chamber management duties in June after completing the academic year as an instructor in agribusiness at Northwest College.

“As of Thursday (March 31), we dismissed the office staff. They’re gone,” Hadden said.

That included Gina Vogel, membership programs coordinator, who resigned.

Hadden said reasons for Dillivan’s termination would not be released to the general public. Only the chamber’s board of directors is privy to the situation, he said.

In answer to a question, Hadden said the release was not brought on by financial considerations. The chamber has the resources to hire a replacement, though no salary range has been set, he said.

The chamber president emphasized that the organization is committed to full-time management. Before hiring a new director, however, the board wants to hear from members about what they’re looking for in a chamber manager.

“What are you guys looking for? We want to hear from you folks,” said Hadden, who announced that board members will be making contact visits with the approximately 200 chamber members.

Hadden has his own ideas about what is needed in an executive.

“We want a director meeting and mingling with people on an everyday basis,” he said.

Several chamber board members joined in endorsing a member-first, turn-around strategy.

“We’re a board, elected by you, for you,” said Trevor Nelson, new owner of Lights ‘n Such. “We clearly are out to do the best for you.”

Charise White of White Ink Printing said, “We just feel the chamber has been a little bit detached from you people.”

The chamber office presently is staffed with temporary help, said April Rodriguez of KPOW Radio. “We are still receiving phone calls and sending out relocation packets,” she said.

“We’re ready to move forward in a positive direction,” declared Kay Dooley of Northwest College.

No timetable has been set for hiring a new chamber director. But board members emphasized the chamber will be fully able to meet the terms of a Park County Travel Council grant to provide visitor center services in Powell for the coming tourist season. The possibility of adding Saturday visitor center hours is being discussed.

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3 comments

  • posted by here to stay

    April 13, 2011 1:00 pm

    I believe that the chamber needs to get back to basics of promoting our town and community not taking care of the good ole boys club.

  • posted by clipstein

    April 08, 2011 8:00 am

    Same old story will not listen...... so glad you know all the answers and have hurt this town for the last 6 years.....There should be a lot of apologies going around.....

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    April 07, 2011 10:48 am

    Until this town stops being dictated to by the "good old boys,and gals club" nothing will change.And,for a town that crows about being so "conservative" there has been way too much spending,the very thing that I have heard locals moan so much about the Democrats doing.Stop being the "do as I say,not as I do" crowd,hypocrisy runs knee deep in Powell.

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