Fruita chamber grievance meeting draws quiet crowd

A crowd of 76 Fruita Chamber of Commerce members had little to say to their board of directors when given the chance Tuesday evening.

Just five audience members spoke during a meeting, which had been called to allow concerned members the opportunity to air grievances with the board and have the board answer questions.

Before the meeting, stories appeared in local media quoting some chamber members saying they questioned whether a new executive board was following chamber policy, and that they had felt pushed aside by the board during major decisions after Mary Lou Wilson’s resignation as chamber director earlier this year. Some members, including Tony Cabral, owner of Aspen Street Computers, 233 E. Aspen Ave., said they wanted to recall the board.

Ballots asking members whether a recall election should be held for board members were distributed at the meeting, but they were not used because a quorum of 104 chamber members was needed to take such an action.

During a question-and-answer segment, Cabral asked the only tough questions of board President Joel Kincaid.

Cabral asked why Wilson had thought she had her job back before a meeting in which the board decided whether to accept her resignation. The meeting occurred a few days after she submitted a resignation letter. Kincaid said Wilson never asked for her job back after submitting her resignation.

Cabral, who was allotted one minute for questions and comments, also asked why two board members resigned if the chamber had been running smoothly.

Kincaid said evidence the chamber is running smoothly includes chamber staff creating a new website, the board hiring a new director to replace Wilson, and a boost in attendance at this year’s chamber banquet.

“We have done our jobs with integrity and professionalism,” Kincaid said.

The remaining four speakers urged the audience to move forward and forget any past or current grudges.

Michelle Smith, who owns Town and Country Finance Corp., 130 E. Aspen Ave., said Wilson planned to resign “long before this event happened.”

Like Smith, local artist Sally D’Agostino said media reports quoting a handful of chamber members upset by Wilson’s departure blew the issue out of proportion.

Steve Harrington, marketing and business development director for Coloramo Federal Credit Union, 138 S. Park Square, said he was ashamed some people were “acting like children.”

“We need to move forward,” he said. “We have a new director. I think it’s only a handful of members who are raising a stink.”


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