Chamber members polled on president position for future
Rockdale Chamber of Commerce members are in the process of deciding whether they want to keep the position of “president”—vacant for the past 14 months—a mandatory part of their bylaws and constitution.
Members were e-mailed a copy of proposed changes last week and a vote will be taken at the annual Chamber membership meeting Jan. 30.
There are several other proposed changes, including tightening mandatory meeting attendance qualifications for directors, but the president situation has the greatest implications for the future operation of the organization.
VIOLATION—Janice King, incoming chair who will be installed on Jan. 30, noted that technically the organization has been in violation of its own constitution and by-laws by operating without a president this long.
The Chamber has not had a president since Deedra Jacob resigned in October 2012.
Several weeks later came one of the biggest shakeups in the 60-year-plus history of the organization.
Following long- simmering tension between the city and Chamber over administration of hotel-motel tax funds, Chamber directors voted to stop administering those funds.
And the president post has remained vacant ever since.
“The bottom line is that we can’t afford to have the office of president without those funds,” King said.
That means the Chamber will either have to hire a president or change its bylaws.
CHANGES—The current constitution states the Chamber will have a “chairman, chairman elect, treasurer, a president and a board of 12 directors.
A proposed change would strike the word “president” from that sentence.”
The sentence “a president may be hired should it be deemed necessary by the board of directors.”
And yet another change substitutes the word “may” for “shall” in the sentence “The president shall be elected by the board of directors.”
“We’re not necessarily eliminating the office of president once and for all,” King said. “This just addresses the situation we currently have, that we can’t afford to have one right now and our constitution and bylaws say we’ve got to have one.”
The office of president was one of the two paid positions in the organization.
The Chamber has continued to fund the position of office manager, currently held by Denise Brock, and has kept its rock house office at 1203 West Cameron (US 79) open.
In the interim the city created a new Tourism Committee which administers funds from the hotel-motel tax which formerly went through the Chamber.
The Chamber has continued to organize Rockdale’s annual Christmas party and parade in December and the Chamber’s annual awards banquet in the spring.
MEETINGS—Another change increases the amount of meetings which must be attended by directors from 60 to 75 percent.
Directors not making 75 percent of meetings will receive a letter notifying them they must show “just cause” acceptable to the majority of the executive board by the next meeting to retain their membership on the board.
Other changes include replacing the president with the Cham- ber chair as the person instructed to notify the membership of names of persons nominated as candidates for directors.
For 2014 six candidates have been nominated as follows for six vacancies on the board:
Two-year terms—Donald Brummett, Ann King.
Three-year terms—Jocelyn Lewis, Cynthia Lumpkin, Charlie McGregor, Julie Sulak.
Those directors will also be voted on during the Jan. 30 general meeting.