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Chamber fields suggestions for future

Staff writer

Marion chamber of commerce members weighed in at a Friday meeting with thoughts on future direction of the group.

Chamber president Don Noller dismissed notions that the discussion was indicative of the direction the group will take in planning for a future without secretary Margo Yates.

“We’ll discuss that at our next board meeting,” Noller said. “I’m just one of nine votes on the chamber board. We need to sit down and discuss it. We’ve gathered this information, and we’ll try to gather other information.”

Ideas suggested included a tiered membership and committees dedicated to different types of businesses, to increase participation. Noller said committees had been tried before and weren’t successful.

Marion County Record publisher Eric Meyer also offered use of the newspaper offices should the chamber need to relocate.

Yates, whose job status will change in a yet-undetermined fashion at the end of the year, presented to chamber members a list of duties that would be reassigned should she be removed from her position as secretary.

Marion County Record news editor David Colburn suggested the chamber take after the city and begin a visioning process to clearly define its purpose.

Bob Brookens said that many functions of the chamber are really functions of Yates herself, and that introspection from the chamber could help decide what the chamber needs to do and what’s not its responsibility.

“The reality is many things are Margo’s to do,” Brookens said. “That includes rec, that includes a whole ton of things. And this is the time to sort out this issue. It’s fairer to her when it’s sorted out, quite frankly. As well as every other group.”

Chamber board member Shawn Vondenkamp said the chamber wasn’t trying to get rid of its duties, as it still wanted to continue even if Yates were to leave.

“It’s not like we’re saying here, take all of our duties,” she said. “We still want the chamber.”

Noller said the discussion was helpful for searching for a direction, but that no permanent decisions were made going forward.

Last modified June 25, 2015

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