Changes Underway at Local Chamber Offices

Here’s a preview of a breaking story that will appear in the next edition of The Business Times. The full story will be available on April 7 when the print edition hits the news stands, and online later that day.

Mary Lou Wilson
Mary Lou Wilson

Efforts are under way to hire executive directoras at both the Fruita and Palisade chambers of commerce following changes in leadership at the two business organizations.

In Fruita, the president of the chamber board of directors says executive director Mary Lou Wilson resigned in February after the board discussed a no-drinking policy for chamber staff and volunteers working at chamber social events. But Wilson denies the policy was connected with her resignation.

In Palisade, Bayley Rodgers resigned as executive director after the chamber board raised issues with Rodgers working for a nonprofit organization on the side.

Joel Kincaid, president of the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, says Wilson was not forced out of her position. “We did not force the resignation. We did not ask for it.”

But Kincaid says there was tension —and some policy changes Wilson wouldn’t accept. Chamber members complained about staff and volunteers drinking alcoholic beverages during social events sponsored by the chamber, he says. The board decided to implement a ban on staff and volunteer consumption of alcohol while they’re working at chamber events.

Wilson says her resignation was unrelated to the policy. “That was put into effect last September, right before the Fall Festival,” she says. “There were issues with some volunteers and we adopted the policy. The reason I left had nothing to do with that. It has to do with the change in attitude and culture and philosophy of the new board members and accusations about some things that were unwarranted.”



One Response to "Changes Underway at Local Chamber Offices"

  1. John   April 4, 2011 at 4:04 am

    It seems the new Fruita Chamber Board writes their own rules as they, mainly new Loma board member and Joel Kincade have attempted to silence anyone by mandating that all public comments go through them exclusively. At Board meetings, members were asked to leave mid meeting with the excuse that sudden private matters had to be discussed. They were asked to leave, no other explanation. This happened at two recent meetings. Then Kincade, in your Business Times, suggests Mary Lou Wilson drank on the job,which most membership know is a downright lie, especially in light of her successful building of the Chamber during her tenure. And now after being treated as she has been, she still says she wants the Chamber to be successful and has never done anything but positive actions toward it.
    She actually left a meeting held on a Wednesday before she left, with the feeling that after discussion had taken place, the new executive Board was ready to work with her in more transparency on their part. She left and the fun began, staff had been permitted to stay and verbally attacked her on personal matters which Kincade and new board members condoned. One board member rose to say he would not be a part of what was going on. He felt it was morally and ethically wrong and resigned. Another also resigned. At least two members have some ethics and backbone.
    Wilson has been nothing but open and cooperative. She gave her passwords up willingly, taking nothing from the computer. The group evidently hoped to find something as another new Executive Board member tried to insinuate with a call for an audit. Those of us who know Wilson, know she left all her ideas, information, and projects fully in place. This has been evidenced in ensuing events running successfully, even though one staff member is trying to say everything has been her idea. WOW! The new board has made up rules as they feel fit without following their own by-laws. That is interesting. Now they are spreading out through businesses, trying to mend their fences by very persuasive visits. Again Kincade and friends have lied through insinuations. Truly they do not deserve to be on said board as executives
    Read the last issue of the Fruita Times to get the truth as to what is going on.