Chamber board fills four vacancies, elects officers

Two of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce's remaining directors, Hattie Dixon and Ron Gilles, have appointed four new board members as well as elected officers for 2008.

Twelve of the chamber's board directors volunteered their resignations following an emotional and heated two- and-a-half-hour luncheon meeting Feb. 12. Dixon and Gilles were the only two who didn't resign.

Gilles had left the meeting early and Dixon was returning from a planned vacation.

Jean Wyatt, who is appointed by the Irrigation Festival Committee, which is a division of the chamber, is also a remaining board member.

Unlike their fellow board members, Gilles and Dixon declined to resign. Instead, in an e-mail sent out to chamber members on Feb. 14, they pointed to statutes in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW 24.03.105 and RCW 24.03.110), saying that the committee of concerned chamber members had no real power to hold an election to find new board members.

"Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors to be filled by reason of an increase in the number of directors may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining board of directors even though less than a quorum is present ..." RCW 24.03.105 states.

"We wish to stand up for those who are willing to listen and are interested in proper due process. If in fact it is the desire of the majority of the chamber members (and we mean a full majority - not just those attending a forum), we will step aside when that is determined," the directors' e-mail concluded.

Gil Simon, co-chairman and spokesman for the concerned committee, said technically the remaining board is correct.

"However there's the practical reality of what you saw on Tuesday," he said. "Going through that technically correct process is prolonging the agony. I don't think dragging out that process is going to satisfy the membership."

As of Friday, Feb. 15, Simon had been suggesting to other members of the committee that the remaining board members and committee enlist the aid of the Peninsula Crisis Resolution Center.

"I envision the role of the center as more involved because they have staff, they have a facility, they have more than one person in their living room," Simon said. "They could, with the chamber's mailing list and e-mail list, get out the ballots for example, have them returnable to the center and do the tallying and certify the results and provide a person to chair the meeting at which decisions are taken."

Simon added "if it can be pulled off, if it can be accomplished, then we can get this thing resolved by the end of the month, no later."

But on Feb. 19, the remaining board filled four vacancies. Former board member Annette Hanson filled one of those vacancies. During the meeting officers were elected as well. Councilman Walt Schubert will serve as the board's president, Mike McAleer will serve as vice president and Dixon will serve as the chamber board's secretary and treasurer. Also appointed was Deborah Rambo Sinn.

According to Dixon and Gilles, the appointments were made so the board can begin its search for an interim trustee/executive director to move the chamber forward on day-to-day and financial matters until a new executive director can be hired. The newly appointed board will seek to create a process for filling additional board positions.

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