Upcoming Chamber merger vote June 22

Posted May 27, 2011, at 6:51 p.m.

Over the past few years, both the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce boards of directors have been reviewing the feasibility of merging our two entities into one regional Chamber in order to create more efficiency and build more in-depth programming for our memberships, which in turn will create more business for our members and the entire regional economy. Over the past 14 years that I have been at this Chamber, I personally feel that it is a pivotal time for our midcoast region and our member businesses.

During the past few months, we held several open meetings for our memberships and business groups so that the Chamber members and leaders in the local community could learn more about the overall benefits of a new regional entity and provide feedback on the draft plans. It has been a dynamic and engaged process for members, staff and the boards of directors. Dan Bookham and I always are available for questions about the proposed merged entity, either in person or by phone or email. Questions also may be emailed to chamberquestions@gmail.com. They will be shared with both Chamber presidents, Bobbie Knapp (PBRCC) and Gil Fifield (CRLCC).

The merger vote is open to all Chamber members, with separate votes by each organization in good standing and one vote allowed per membership. The PBRCC membership vote will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, in the auditorium of Rockland District High School. Last week, members were mailed a packet containing the Plan of Consolidation, bylaws and other supporting documents. We ask that members review the documents carefully and that they either attend the vote in person or file their proxy, which can be found in the packet.

In advance of the vote, there will be a “town hall”-style meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at the Rockport Opera House for members of both chambers who may have questions about the Plan of Consolidation and other elements of the process. We expect this meeting to last an hour to 90 minutes, and members who have questions are urged to attend.

Member involvement is the key to a successful Chamber, and regardless of how you plan to vote, we sincerely hope you either come out to vote or cast your proxy for June 22. Thank you for your support.

Shari Closter is the interim executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 596-0376, email shari@therealmaine.com or visit www.therealmaine.com.

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