[Vision2020] Chamber President and FirstBank

Art Deco aka W. Fox deco at moscow.com
Thu Aug 26 07:33:01 PDT 2004

Donovan, et al,

A few years ago we had some problems similar to what you describe with several
banks in town.

I moved our accounts to Latah Federal Credit Union.  The people there are also
nice.  But in addition, all the service is terrific.  In several years only one
error was made and I was able to immediately correct it over the internet.

In fairness to Ms. McMillan, some of the problems in branch banks are caused by
corporate policies, lack of training, corporate computer, and  procedural
controls problems.  As president of the chamber I suppose she feels an
obligation to defend it while trying to fix it.  I do not envy the position she
is in.  Her statements about the current status of the chamber, however, if they
are heartfelt, reveal a real lack of depth in understanding the problems, their
effect on the community, and a certain fiscal naivety -- not a reassuring trait
for a banker.

Time and time again public and quasi-public institutions have tried to hide
their problems.  This hardly ever works.  It just magnifies the problems and
generates ill will.  When such organizations freely admit the scope and depth of
their problems and then ask for community help in solving them, such help is
usually forthcoming -- so is good community relations.

All of us owe thanks to B. J. Swanson and others for having the courage to bring
to light some of the problems in this very important local organization (which
is partially tax supported and which receives tax exemptions).  At great risk to
themselves BJ and others have shown real community leadership.  I only wish the
majority of the chamber board had the same amount of intestinal fortitude and
leadership (neither of which they are likely to exhibit by emulating Robert E.


Art Deco  (Wayne Fox)
deco at moscow.com

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Donovan Arnold" <donovanarnold at hotmail.com>
To: <deco at moscow.com>; <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 3:51 AM
Subject: [Vision2020] Chamber President and FirstBank

| Mr. Fox writes,
| "If Ms. McMillan, chamber president and FirstBank executive, really believes
| in
| >her heart of hearts that this 25% margin of error is no big deal, then
| >anyone
| >with money in FirstBank should get it out as fast as they can (if the bank
| >really still has it)!"
| You are absolutely right Mr. Fox!! And that is exactly what I plan to do on
| Monday, close my account with FirstBank after four years as a customer.
| The quality of FirstBank has seriously declined over the last two years. It
| once took me 30 days to get my checks delivered. I have had on several
| occasions my card declined when I had money in my account. I have been
| unable to get cash from an ATM when I was far away from home when I had
| money in the bank, left stranded. I once nearly had a heart attack when my
| bank statement said I $0 in my account because of a computer glitch. All
| this I can tolerate. I tolerated it because there are some really good
| people working at FirstBank. People that are friendly, warm, and know my
| name. To me, that makes a difference.
| However, I will close my account this time around because of Ms. McMillan. I
| just get a really woozy feeling in my stomach thinking about the fact that
| Ms. McMillian is calling people names on the Vision2020 and standing up for
| a man that used General Lee and a Confederate Flag for a Leadership
| conference. If Ms. McMillian wants to make offensive and controversial
| remarks to the media she is going to lose my business.
| I prefer to do my business with people I agree with, or at least do business
| with people that don't defend the confederacy and attack people on
| Vision2020. I also prefer to do business with banks or credit unions that
| have a +/- margin to the penny, not within 25%.
| Ms. McMillian may call Vision2020 "garbage", but, aside from some really
| good people in there, it is her bank that has become "trash" with declined
| service, declined interest paid on savings, and poor access to your account.
| Sincerely,
| Donovan J Arnold
| Soon to be ex-FirstBank Customer
| >From: "Art Deco aka W. Fox" <deco at moscow.com>
| >To: "Vision 2020" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
| >Subject: Re: [Vision2020] LMT 8/25/04 Moscow Chamber Rumors Denied
| >Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 15:28:52 -0700
| >
| >Don, Melynda, et al,
| >
| >Like Melynda, I was disappointed in the lack of depth in the LMT  news
| >story on
| >Paul Kimmell and the current mess at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.  Thank
| >you
| >Dan for posting the story.
| >
| >However unintended, some of the quotes from the article should cause not
| >only
| >chamber members grave concerns, but all Latah County citizens:
| >
| >For the record, said Kimmell and McMillan, the chamber remains solvent. "I
| >can
| >tell you today, we're in the black," said Kimmell. "Yes, we're in the
| >black,"
| >confirmed McMillan. The two conceded that some confusion continues to
| >surround
| >the chamber's finances, but as of Tuesday the nonprofit promotional
| >organization
| >had between $12,000 and $15,000 in its checking account and the bills were
| >being
| >paid.
| >
| >"The chamber is not bankrupt," Swanson agreed. "It's just that the
| >financials
| >don't balance." She said an audit would help matters. Kimmell and McMillan
| >agreed
| >
| >Moscow business people:  Hello!  Do any of you see a problem between the
| >two
| >above paragraphs?
| >
| >How do you know your in the black if the books do not balance?
| >
| >Just because there is cash in the bank does not mean you have sufficient
| >cash to
| >cover all your short term and long term liabilities.  Many a business has
| >had
| >severe financial problems because of inept bookkeeping not noticed because
| >there
| >was always "cash in the checking account."  Some of these firms discovered
| >one
| >day that when withholding and other tax payments were due, that they simply
| >didn't not have the resources to cover them.
| >
| >Further notice:
| >
| >...the nonprofit promotional organization had between $12,000 and $15,000
| >in its
| >checking account...
| >
| >Between $12,000 and $15,000?  Holy Jesus!  They only know their checking
| >account
| >balance within a range of 25%?  And this is good fiscal management?  Would
| >you
| >dare run your personal checking account with and accuracy range of 25%?
| >
| >If Ms. McMillan, chamber president and FirstBank executive, really believes
| >in
| >her heart of hearts that this 25% margin of error is no big deal, then
| >anyone
| >with money in FirstBank should get it out as fast as they can (if the bank
| >really still has it)!
| >
| >Also incredible:
| >
| >"It's just that the financials don't balance."
| >
| >And whose incompetence has brought about this sad state of affairs?  The
| >accounting knowledge to perform and to monitor the books of a business
| >organization with a $180,000 per year budget is not rocket science.  Anyone
| >on
| >this list could probably do it after a few hours with Bookkeeping for
| >Dummies.
| >That Kimmell could not and/or did not read the Earnings Report, Cash Flow
| >Report, and the Balance Sheet on a regular [weekly/monthly] basis and see
| >the
| >glaring problems does not speak well of the his talents or business sense
| >or
| >that of someone of someone who an executive director.  Given the size and
| >profundity of the errors in the chamber bookkeeping, it is unclear why such
| >a
| >state went undetected for so long except possibly by intention and
| >ignorance.
| >
| >Why did the chamber board not see the main accounting reports?  Did the
| >executive director not make it part of his routine to share these reports
| >with
| >the board and membership monthly/annually?  Again, why did the board not
| >ask to
| >see the reports?  Is it because Kimmell is so likeable that the board
| >members
| >suspended their good business judgment?  That's how confidence persons
| >operate -- gain trust, keep the foils happily in the dark, etc.
| >
| >
| >Another item:
| >
| >Kimmell defended his use of Lee in his recent presentation, saying it had
| >nothing to do with the promotion of slavery. "It was not intended to be
| >about
| >anything but the leadership skills of a leader," said Kimmell.
| >Let's see.  The civil war was fought long ago.  Debate still continues
| >about the
| >quality of General Robert E. Lee's leadership and character.  Once in a
| >seminar
| >a lady friend of mine persuaded me to attend with her, the speaker, whose
| >name I
| >don't remember, gave an account of Lee's personal dealings (this account
| >was
| >consistent with several others I had heard/read).  One paragraph has always
| >stayed with me, it went something like this:
| >
| >"Robert E. Lee was the consummate southern gentleman.  He had fine manners,
| >a
| >truly likeable and commanding way, dressed nicely but manly, and had a
| >moral
| >code that defined southern gentlemen at that time:  Never get caught lying
| >to,
| >stealing from, cheating at cards, or diddling the wife or daughter of
| >another
| >southern gentleman; everyone else is fair game."
| >
| >Regardless of Lee's character, racial views, slavery views, and lack of
| >success
| >on the battlefield, he is certainly an extremely poor practical choice to
| >use as
| >a model of leadership for Moscow business people.
| >
| >As mentioned by others on this list, Moscow businesses people are not
| >engaged in
| >a military war being fought in the 19th century.  They are engaged in
| >businesses
| >trying to survive and to prosper in a rapidly changing business, economic,
| >political, and social environment.  The rate of change in today's world is
| >several quantum levels faster than that of civil war times.  Nor will the
| >same
| >leadership tactics work.
| >
| >Business people are not likely to succeed today if they treat their
| >employees
| >like slaves, chattel, mere tools, etc. or if they are not honest with and
| >caring
| >about them.  Most motivational techniques that may have worked for Lee are
| >unlikely to be successful in a Moscow, Idaho business today.  Moreover,
| >despite
| >what Kimmell's mentor, Christ Church Cult Master Douglas Wilson, believes,
| >much
| >progress through trial and error, careful research, and/or serendipity has
| >been
| >made in leadership, motivational, and management techniques in the
| >intervening
| >years.
| >
| >If the chamber wishes to learn about up-to-date, practical leadership and
| >management skills, it is very likely that professionals in the UI or WSU
| >business colleges would point them in the right direction, pro bono.  It is
| >doubtful that any of the sources that these professionals would recommend
| >are
| >pro-slavery, racist traitors as Lee was.
| >
| >
| >
| > >From the article:
| >
| >He [Kimmell] said he refuses to enter the Internet fray on Vision 2020 but
| >would
| >be happy to talk face to face with anyone about his work, his affiliation
| >with
| >the church and the chamber's financial status.
| >
| >What a wonderful thing for an elected official to say!
| >
| >Besides being truly anti-democratic by forcing his constituents to
| >communicate
| >with him only face to face, such an arrangement allows Kimmell to change
| >his
| >story to suit the person he is interacting with.  In fact, it has been
| >alleged
| >that this exactly what he has been doing with chamber board members and the
| >rank
| >and file chamber members!
| >
| >
| >
| >When the following appears in the minutes of the cult in which Kimmell is a
| >member, all citizens have a right to ask about it and are entitled to a
| >straight
| >forward answer.  Each person should not have to personally run Kimmell down
| >to
| >find out his current version of what's going on:
| >
| >"The Christ Church minutes state, “Doug Wilson reported that Paul Kimmell,
| >in
| >his role as County Commissioner, is open to oversight from the elders on
| >certain
| >issues...”
| >
| >The above quote raises an important question about the separation of church
| >and
| >state and raises the question of a gross breach of public trust.  That
| >answer
| >deserves an open, public answer.
| >
| >
| >
| >Unfortunately, the LMT  article did not address two germane points:
| >
| >1.    Gross violation of fair employment practices laws by giving
| >preference in
| >employment by the chamber to Kimmell's cultie associates.  Kimmell has
| >hired at
| >least five Christ Church Cult members as chamber employees.  Under the most
| >generous assumptions the chances of this happening fairly is about
| >1/312,500,000.  The chance of fairly using only cultie children (8) on one
| >chamber project alone is 1 in several hundred billion!
| >
| >2.    The use of our tax dollars, paid as dues and other donations by tax
| >supported organizations (UI, City of Moscow, Moscow School District, etc.),
| >to
| >support Kimmell's illegally discriminatory hiring practices and to support
| >the
| >promulgation of Robert E. Lee's ideas, an offensively fulsome, inept,
| >impractical, racist, proslavery, and insulting example for Moscow business
| >people to model.  I am sure that in time these tax supported institutions
| >are
| >going to be asked to explain their actions in this regard, especially if
| >such
| >support continues.
| >
| >
| >
| >Although, the LMT article was intended to reassure us that everything is
| >fine at
| >the chamber and Kimmel is right on top of things, a careful reading of the
| >article reveals, quite clearly, the opposite.
| >
| >
| >Wayne
| >
| >Art Deco  (Wayne Fox)
| >deco at moscow.com
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >
| >----- Original Message -----
| >From: "Melynda Huskey" <mghuskey at msn.com>
| >To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
| >Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:21 PM
| >Subject: RE: [Vision2020] LMT 8/25/04 Moscow Chamber Rumors Denied
| >
| >
| >|
| >| I think the Tribune did a slightly better job assembling all the facts
| >than
| >| the Daily News did, but I think there's still some confusion--and some
| >| unfair generalizations or allegations about us, the members of Vision
| >2020.
| >|
| >| For example, "McMillan blasted Vision 2020 as something that's gone from
| >a
| >| potentially helpful local forum of ideas to "garbage" spouted by about a
| >| dozen contributors who give a totally wrong impression of what Moscow is
| >all
| >| about.  'Vision 2020 was a great idea when it came out,' said McMillan,
| >'but
| >| it has just been taken over by a group of, I don't know how to say this
| >...
| >| I would call them almost destructive.' "
| >|
| >| Is Ms. McMillan a member of Vision 2020? Her name doesn't appear in any
| >| recognizable form on the list of 516 subscribers maintained by First
| >Step.
| >| And while she may not like what people have to say on the list (sometimes
| >I
| >| don't either!), I'd hesitate to qualify it as "garbage."
| >|
| >| I'm also disturbed by this statement:
| >|
| >| >Kimmell defended his use of Lee in his recent presentation, saying it
| >| >had nothing to do with the promotion of slavery.  "It was not intended
| >| >to be about anything but the leadership skills of a leader," said
| >| >Kimmell.
| >|
| >| There was no response from anyone on the Board to the presentation, nor
| >any
| >| comment from Chamber members not on the Board, which I think was a
| >weakness
| >| in the article.  And I still think the use of a Confederate general as a
| >| role model given recent controversies was a peculiar one:  I have yet to
| >| hear or read an explanation for the choice, which would have been a
| >helpful
| >| addition to any of the articles.
| >|
| >| I was also particularly troubled by this paragraph in Alexis Bachrach's
| >| article in the Daily News last night:
| >|
| >| "Many who have long disagreed with the pastor's views, took their protest
| >| against Wilson and applied it to the entire church.  Those same community
| >| members have attacked Kimmell's membership in the church on local
| >Internet
| >| listservs and other public forums."
| >|
| >| This is editorializing unsupported by evidence.  What protest?  How, and
| >by
| >| whom, was a protest applied to the entire church?  And who are these
| >"many"
| >| community members?  As someone who *has* commented here on what I see as
| >| conflict of interest, poor judgement, and preferential treatment of
| >church
| >| members in Paul Kimmell's work as a commissioner and as the Director of
| >the
| >| Chamber, I strongly object to the notion that I am protesting an entire
| >| church, or attacking someone's church membership.  That's just not
| >accurate
| >| at all.  My concerns are very focused on a particular person's actions in
| >| his role as a public figure.  His church membership is a part of that
| >| concern *only* insofar as it appears to be implicated in his public role.
| >|
| >| Melynda Huskey
| >|
| >|
| >| _____________________________________________________
| >|  List services made available by First Step Internet,
| >|  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
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| >|
| >|
| >_____________________________________________________
| >  List services made available by First Step Internet,
| >  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
| >                http://www.fsr.net
| >           mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com
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