September 24, 2008: Hidden agenda in Chamber dealings


To The Editor:
The September17 issue of the Catskill Mountain News carries an article on The Greater Margaretville Cham-ber of Commerce name change. The center point of said article is the chanting of the mantra “the decision to change the name was approved by a majority of members voting.” This is followed by the “assurance” of Carol O’Beirne, who in her correspondence to me, is identified as “Administrative Consultant,” a paid position that labels her as an employee of the chamber.
Now in the article in question her title has changed to “Executive Director” a position that is new to the chamber board. I wonder how many members voted for this? In any event, the lady seems to be now running the show. There is a strange silence from our duly elected president, almost as if he has abdicated.
If we examine her arithmetic as it pertains too, “majority of members voting” we may suspect a bit of insincerity. Using her numbers let’s explore the source of this majority vote. The chamber has 124 members, 20 or so new, who she elicits joined because of a promise to change the name of the chamber. Then there are12 board members and officers plus the group of “Significant donators.” This adds up to over 34. I wonder which way they voted. It is surprising for after all Carol is on record as stating that “normally if we get 10 votes, that’s a lot.” It makes one wonder what was the impetus that turned out this four times the normal vote?
It gives the impression that a nefarious clique has brought in “ringers” to co-opt the very organization that they were trusted to support. It is no shame for a group of renegade members to decide that they no longer wish to be members of our chamber and leave in an orderly honorable fashion to organize their own chamber. What is dishonest is to be hired as a consultant, and or, being elected to leadership, and then use office and members’ funds to work for the demise of the organization whose members trusted you. She can keep on chanting “that the decision to change the name was approved by a majority of members voting,” but many observers may see this as a ploy.
The declared purpose is to increase membership but the result will very likely be the very opposite. Already she is backpedaling on the promise to increase membership but says, “everybody we talk to is very positive about it.”
My suggestion is that maybe she has not talked to the right people and maybe canceling the meeting to discuss the “proposed name change” conceals some hidden agenda. Could this be so?

Stuart E. Buswell,