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New MCOC Board faces tough questions
Monday, February 6, 2012
The first meeting of 2012 included plenty of tension between the new MCOC (Maricopa Chamber of Commerce) Board and City representatives. The January 19 meeting began early, at 7:15 P.M., by welcoming newly elected Board members and by electing officers. They then went into executive session before opening the meeting to visitors.
The 2012 Board is…
Continuing board members include John Donohue (Chairman), Mary Jane Lopez (Secretary), Steve Durkee, Courtney Cronin, and Tim Hassert. Mike Richey (Vice Chair), an alternate who finished out Bob Gillespie’s term, began his own term of office, along with newly elected Jim McMichaels. The new alternate, who has a voice at meetings but no vote, is Leon Potter, and it was at this juncture that controversy threatened to boil over.
City Councilmember Alan Marchione challenged Leon’s appointment, as Leon is currently running for a City Council seat. That election takes place in a couple months. If elected, it could cause a conflict of interest situation for Leon, especially since he is also the Chamber’s newly elected treasurer. Leon declined to answer the challenge, but Board Member Hassert upheld the decision. “Leon got the second-highest number of votes,” he said, “so he won the position. We felt, as a Board, that we have to keep it fair regardless of whatever else is going on outside of this room. Later, if Leon feels he needs to resign, then of course we’ll support that decision.”
Salsa Festival March 31
Maricopa Community Services Director John Nixon then discussed the changing roles of both the City and the Chamber in upcoming community events, a touchy subject in recent Chamber meetings. The first of these events is Maricopa Salsa Festival, moved this year to March to encourage winter resident participation.
Last August the City awarded a contract to a non-profit organization, the Action Alliance Network (AAN), to privatize certain community events, including the Salsa Festival and others in which MCOC has traditionally held a large stake. The goal of the AAN, according to its director Cindy Dunn, is “creating win-win relationships with community partners while enhancing the quality of community events.” While that sounds all sweet and wonderful, the actual process has caused some tension between the City and the Chamber regarding event responsibilities, marketing efforts, and fundraising options.
Nixon described successful ventures in other cities -- notably Prescott, Arizona – where a nonprofit action alliance group made an already successful venture even better. Other City spokespersons assured the Board they will not be left out of the loop. Future meetings are being scheduled so all parties have a voice in the discussions.
Business owners wanting to rent a booth in the Vendor Village at this year’s Salsa Festival can do so by contacting Cindy Dunn at (520) 560-8109, or email her at CLDunn@live.com. To contact her by snail mail, write to:
Director Cindy Dunn
Action Alliance Network
P.O. Box 1186
Maricopa, AZ 85139
Business appraisal help proposed
Maricopa resident Harold Lubbock presented an offer to help community businesses as a Chamber volunteer. A retired financial consultant with 60 years of experience, he suggested creating a volunteer panel where his expertise would be of twofold value to prospective or existing business owners.
First, he can provide basic rules of thumb for figuring the worth of any business, a must when making financial decisions regarding buying, selling, and future direction. Second, he is an expert in creative marketing and financing solutions. “So many businesses have started here,” he said, “only to fail or move. Business could benefit on both sides by connecting buyers with sellers, and by encouraging new entrepreneurs to invest in what’s already out there instead of starting completely from scratch.”
All Board members voiced their appreciation, and agreed to consider creating such a panel.
In other news, a motion to repay Board Member Steve Durkee for personal money he spent to produce the Maricopa Directory was reconsidered and approved with one abstention. Another motion was approved for membership packets in 2012, to schedule payments of all auto-pay members on the first of each month to facilitate bookkeeping. Mike Richey discussed ongoing interviews of applications for Executive Director, noting that “the applications of local talent are simply outstanding.” Committee choices will be announced at the February meeting.
There were no tough questions regarding the Annual Chamber Community Awards, announced at the Banquet on January 27. Nominees came from Chamber members, and their votes decided the winners. Special congratulations to these community leaders for 2012:
- National Property Inspections -- Business of the Year Award
- Maricopa Education Foundation -- Non-Profit of the Year Award
- Bob Gillespie -- Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year Award
- Diane Morrow -- Renate Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year Award
Alice Shoaf / CopaNews.com
Chamber of Commerce members voted Diane Morrow the 2012 "Volunteer of the Year."