The Lamar Chamber of Commerce conducts its annual transition between outgoing and incoming board members at this time of year. With several positions still open on the board, the Chamber and Lamar City Council are exploring having a council member sit on the board. Council members discussed the options among themselves during a limited work session Monday evening, December 5th.
Both parties see it as a potential win/win situation. The city would have direct reference to chamber activities as they may relate to economic development for the community and the chamber would have a new member that can convey city activities to the board members. This would not mean an increase in the number of members, just filling a current vacancy. “We don’t intend this to be just a ‘place-holder’ position,” explained City Administrator, John Sutherland, “The councilmember would take an active role in chamber functions. We want that someone to talk about the city’s interest in downtown Lamar and in the retail sector.” Sutherland said he’s discussed the proposal with Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director and other department heads that he’d like to see a common agenda built for mutual participation and just not repeating past events. “I was pleased they approached the city with the offer of participation. This meeting is just going to be food for thought for us tonight for an appointment between now and the annual chamber banquet when the new board members are introduced to the community,” he explained.”
Sutherland continued, “It ends up coming around to the same group though, those of us who just do it as part of a civic commitment. It’s not because we’re assigned by the city to do this. It’s because we care of what’s going on. We were approached by the chamber on this and they’d like to become more ‘activist’ with the board than in the past. Some new members appear to be seeking more active, positive developments in the community and the city can aid in that development.”
No specific name was mentioned for consideration and not all council members were on hand for the meeting. The chamber board meets every third Thursday of the month at 7am, so as not to interfere with member work schedules. The thing of it is, each council member acts as a liaison to other organizations within the city and most wear several hats regarding various committee memberships, even among their own professions. Mayor Stagner said, “I can see where it would be hard for a councilmember,” but agreed the suggestion is a good idea.
The annual chamber banquet is scheduled for January 25th at the Lamar Eagles Lodge. The board will have six new positions to be filled for the approaching New Year. Those who are stepping down are Vickie Dykes, Lisa Thomas, Michelle Crown, Jenna Davis and Mark Carrigan. A vacancy was also created with the recent passing of Paul Van Horn, former board member.
By Russ Baldwin
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