The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Chamber continues to strengthen position, with new organization, bylaws

 

January 17, 2018

NEW CHAMBER board members are, from left, Becky Tierce, Tess Yahyazadeh and George Medellin.

The Chamber of Commerce recently has been charting a new course, transitioning from a damage control mode that began early last year in response to financial difficulties and irregularities.

After selling its building, paying off debts and recreating missing tax forms, the board has added new members in recent months and is busy planning events and programs for 2018.

During the board's regular meeting Thursday, Jan. 11, it appointed Dave Bauer, owner of Steelhead Fitness and former chamber president; Michele Carter, who has been a volunteer at the chamber over the past year; and Bobby Rainey, manager at Umpqua Bank, to the Board of Directors.

New appointees during the fall were Tess Yahyazadeh, manager at Key Bank; Becky Tierce of Key Bank; and George Medellin, business adviser with the Linn-Benton Community College Small Business Development Center, to the board.

Continuing board members include Ian Rollins of Samaritan Health Services, Dave Jurney, Brian Adams of Safeway, Bill Matthews of HealthMarkets and Karla Hogan of Sherri Gregory Home Team, Keller Williams.

Joe Graybill recently resigned from the board, and Thursday, Jur-ney, who has served as treasurer for the past year, resigned that post but remained on the board.

"I'm a football coach," Jurney said, noting that finance isn't his area of expertise. "I was happy to get it started."

The board appointed Carter to fill a new position, secretary-treasurer and Medellin vice president. Matthews is continuing as president.

The board is reviewing a draft of new bylaws, with a vote in the next week to adopt them.

Under those bylaws, the president, vice president and secretary-treasurer will form an executive committee, Matthews said. "The executive committee pretty much operates the day-to-day activities at the chamber."

The chamber will continue to operate without a paid executive director, relying on a growing number of volunteers and the executive committee.

Under the new arrangement, individual board members will lead various committees to handle finance, marketing, economic development, events, business and governmental affairs, communications, membership and the Ambassadors, which welcomes new businesses and helps conduct grand openings and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

The board itself answers to the membership and will host an annual membership meeting, Matthews said. That meeting will be held in January. The chamber will need to set a general membership meeting within the next 60 days this year.

"The general membership meeting needs to be one of the highlights of the year," Jurney said.

In chamber finances, Matthews said the chamber has funds set aside to meet possible obligations to the IRS.

The chamber has reconstructed five years worth of Forms 990, submitted them to the IRS and requested reinstatement of its nonprofit status, which the IRS revoked in August 2014 after the chamber failed to file a Form 990 in 2012 and each year since.

The Form 990 is filed with the IRS annually by nonprofit organizations, providing the public with financial information about the nonprofit organizations.

Matthews said the forms for 2012 through 2016 are now available at the chamber office, and the chamber is working on its 2017 Form 990.

The board discussed various projects Thursday, ranging from the annual Chamber Awards Banquet on March 24 at the Boys and Girls Club, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and business luncheons to its table and chair rental policy, a Welcome Wagon package for new businesses and publications, like the Visitor's Guide and map.

The board also is continuing to work on a strategic plan.

The board meets at the Chamber of Commerce, 1575 Main St., at 3 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month.

For more information about the chamber or to get involved, call (541) 367-6186.

 
 

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