Big changes were made at the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce at the end of 2015, which came to light late last week mainly through social media.A decision was made to eliminate the position of executive director for financial reasons; the move consequently caused several board members to resign.
The chamber of commerce sent out a statement in response to the comments and reactions from members of the community.
“The Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce is alive and well,” said Mary Stanco, president of the chamber. “We recently, as a board of directors, went through an extensive review, for more than six months, of our operation, our budget and our service to the members and the community and made tough decisions relating to our operation and our responsibility to the organization and the community.”
Stanco, who has held the position of president for three terms, or six years, said that the decision to eliminate the executive director position was “very difficult” and that during the decision making process several proposals were discussed relating to that position (keep the position, go to part-time or eliminate) both in budget and board meetings with the executive director, Phyllis Gorham, present. Gorham was the executive director for nearly eight years.
“The board was faced with the fiscally irresponsible option to continue the position of spending such a great percentage of the chamber’s funds on salary, or the fiscally responsible decision option to eliminate the position, and lay off the director,” said Stanco. “These are funds that would be better spent on promoting the business community.”
As a result, Jason Samel submitted a letter of resignation to the board of directors; he served as a member of the board for three years, including holding the position of vice president for two years. He cited more than a dozen reasons for resigning in his letter and plainly stated that he was not happy with recent actions.
“The abrupt, unethical and unfair termination of the executive director of the chamber goes against my values as an individual and a business owner,” Samel said.
Samel and other board members said the way the vote was taken showed a “disregard for the bylaws” of the chamber. Stanco and treasurer Glenn Howard maintain that there was nothing unethical in the actions; it was simply a business move.
Moving forward, they said the chamber will be able to offer “an improved level of support for the membership and local business community” with the help of a part-time administrative assistant.
All board members are volunteers. Call 516-676-6666 for more info.