[Vision2020] Chamber President and FirstBank
Art Deco aka W. Fox
deco at moscow.com
Thu Aug 26 12:31:50 PDT 2004
Joan, Dan, Tom, et al,
Since all V 2020ers know I am a little shy and hesitant to express my opinions,
the following may come as a shock to many.
The spectacle we are watching of the chamber tripping all over each other,
saying one thing in private, another in public, and some saying still a third
in chamber board meetings has all the makings of the theatre of the absurd.
The Moscow Chamber of Commerce is composed mainly of local businesses and local
business-like organizations. Many of these entities are very successful; a few
are successful not only locally but nationally and internationally. There are
many that we can as a community be justifiably very proud of. There is a very
high level of management skill and entrepreneurship to be found in many of these
organizations. None would even dream of running their own organizations like
the chamber is being currently operated. None would even hesitate a moment to
make the necessary personnel changes in their own organizations.
Given the skills present in the chamber members, one then would expect that the
chamber would be managed [as a business] in such a manner that reflects the
highest management standards of its most able members. Instead the chamber
appears to be managed to standards far below that of the least common
denominator of all of its members.
A list of many of the large operational and management blunders occurring at the
chamber since Paul Kimmell became executive director has yet to appear on V 2020
or in the local media (e.g., almost being closed down by the state tax
commission for failure to remit withholding taxes collected over a long period
of time [What an embarrassment! What a sad, demeaning reflection on Moscow's
business community!]). Perhaps it is time for that list to appear. Perhaps it
is time for all chamber members to be informed about what has been going on in
their organization since Paul Kimmell became executive director. Perhaps it is
time for all Latah County taxpayers to be informed about what that portion of
their tax dollars funneled to the chamber by various taxing agencies has
In my opinion the problems leading to the current calamity can be classified as
1. The failure of the executive director to manage, monitor, correct the
everyday problems of the chamber, and to make necessary financial and
operational reports to the chamber board on a timely basis. In other words, the
executive director, good old lovable Paul, inept, but oh so affable, failed
miserably to perform a substantial part of his duties. (E.g, it is alleged that
one disastrous hire by Kimmell had been dismissed for incompetence in the two
previous positions that person held, yet Kimmell hired and placed that person in
exactly the same kind of position at the chamber.) Not only that, but Kimmell
acted illegally and insensitively while non-performing some of his tasks.
2. The failure of the chamber board to widely solicit for, check the bona
fides of, and hire a competent executive director in the first place. Even the
least competent businessman should know that the most important, time and
resource requiring tasks are those involving the initial hiring of competent
personnel. After hiring Kimmell, the board failed miserably to monitor its
finances, operation, and employment practices and results. With any new
employee, initial careful vigilance is mandatory for success. Why did that not
happen? Why has it taken so long for the board to discover the financial and
other messes? Why has it taken so long for the board to discover that although
the chamber's overhead has increased substantially, the results have not
(compare staffing and allied costs today with that of the pre-Kimmell era)?
Now instead of acting like the professional business people they are, the
present chamber board is acting like a bunch of cheap politicians caught with
soiled pants and drool all over their faces at a shaved beaver contest. In
other words, they are in deep public denial. Given the high quality of
management skill present in the chamber members and/or available from the UI and
WSU this reaction is highly disappointing.
Given the high quality of management skill present among the chamber members it
is highly likely that 2. above can be corrected and the ship righted provided
that the members have the balls and adrenal cortexes to make the needed
excision, and this time, carefully, hire a competent executive director who will
be a complete, competent, and diligent manager and who will put in the necessary
time to do the job, and one who will not deeply cripple and embarrass the
chamber and appall and embarrass the community.
Art Deco (Wayne Fox)
deco at moscow.com
----- Original Message -----
From: Joan Opyr
To: Vision2020 Moscow
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Chamber President and FirstBank
Dear Dan and Tom:
I have exactly $153.75 in my checking account. A quick look online at my bank
record shows that they believe I have much, much more. That's because some
checks have yet to clear, some checks have yet to be mailed, and some balance
transfers have yet to post. Nevertheless, I know that my figure is accurate,
right down to the penny. How? Because I practice a little something called
double ledger accounting. It isn't hard to do, and I'm not a CPA. Double
ledger accounting can be done electronically using any number of commercial
But listen -- all of this is beside the point. The Chamber of Commerce's
finances should not be run like Jane Jetson's checkbook. (George! George!
Where's your wallet? Astro has spaceworms!) There is absolutely no excuse for
the Chamber's books to be in disorder. They have a bookkeeper. They have an
executive director. They have a board responsible for financial oversight.
They should be able to accurately track money in and money out. If they can't,
then they need a new bookkeeper and/or a new director. If the board isn't
interested in arranging for those changes, then they clearly need a new board.
Let's make a few phone calls to Texas, see if we can get Sherron Watkins up
here. Remember her? She's the accountant who figured out that Enron was money
in, air out.
Joan Opyr/Auntie Establishment
PS: Just in case my checking account balance strikes some of you as sadly low,
let me assure you that there's no need to stage an Auntie Establishment
telethon. I hate Jerry Lewis. Also, I have a couple of savings accounts which
I use to "hide" money from myself. How's that for tricky-dicky accounting?
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