[Vision2020] Vera White's column on Kimmell
msolomon at moscow.com
Fri Aug 20 16:04:45 PDT 2004
INK: Chamber boss Kimmell ready to lead with Lee
The INKster has wanted to believe during the past year or so that
Latah County Commissioner/ Moscow Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director/Christ Church member Paul Kimmell refused to let his
personal beliefs figure into business either at the courthouse or the
But she was speechless when she received a call last week from an
irate chamber member expressing dismay with Kimmell's choice of
leadership materials used at the Aug. 5 annual board retreat in
Gritman Medical Center's conference room. For his 1:30 p.m.
leadership power point presentation, Kimmell chose to use Confederate
General Robert E. Lee as the world's greatest example of a leader
The INKster was forwarded a copy of the 17-page "Robert E. Lee on
Leadership." In addition to numerous historic photos, the back page
proudly displayed the Confederate flag. Although it came as no
surprise since Christ Church leaders seemingly worship Lee along with
God, the INKster didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"Some chamber members were appalled when they found out about this
retreat," noted one of the INKster's sources. "But under a new
ruling, only board members were invited."
"Understanding and Applying the Leadership Principles of General
Robert E. Lee" describes Lee as a leader for all ages who "remade a
rag-tag bunch of men into one of the most impressive fighting forces
history has ever known." Further, "as a business man, he took a
debt-ridden Virginia plantation and streamlined its operations; and
as a teacher who turned a backwater college into a prestigious
Of course the INKster wasn't there, but she wonders if Lee might have
had an edge with local government officials who were able to reduce
the taxes on the plantation. No doubt there was cheap labor
available. And she's curious as to whether Kimmell used the
University of Idaho or New St. Andrews College as an example for the
Under the section marked "Leadership By Example," Kimmell notes that
"part of Lee's strength was his supreme confidence, tied to both his
religious convictions and that he had unsparingly done his duty to
achieve the goals set before him."
Be that as it may, the INKster wonders how the Robert E. Lee Method
of Leadership would play out with other chambers in the region. Throw
in the Confederate flag and she imagines Moscow will rightfully find
itself a laughingstock.
Interestingly, one of the items on the retreat agenda was a
roundtable discussion on "Marketing Moscow to Seniors." The INKster
imagines she wouldn't be the only old person offended by a group of
the town's leading business people paying homage to the Confederacy.
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