The Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce (CACC) board of directors lost at least three board members, and potentially a fourth, at the Jan. 7 regular meeting. This was the aftermath of a special meeting held on Dec. 17. For information on the special meeting, see the DCI article, “Removal discussion of CACC board member stirs controversy,” online or in the Dec. 25 print edition.
Board Member Matt Sheader, who was vice president until the election at the special meeting, told the board that he felt the special meeting had been “out of order.” He made a motion to erase the special meeting from the record and redo the agenda with New Members Barb Hladik and Mel Cook on board, as well as himself, as he had walked out of the special meeting.
When Board Member Bruce Hovde told Cook that he couldn’t vote due to the fact that he was not in good standing, Cook left the meeting. He later said to the press that he was done with the chamber and that he planned to give written notice. According to Hovde, Cook was not in good standing because he hadn’t paid his dues for his businesses, though Cook claimed not to know this, as he thought his secretary had paid it. “Oh, my secretary didn’t submit a check?” Cook said. “Thank God. I am so glad she didn’t.” Cook went on to say that he would be embarrassed to stick around. “That means I can get out of this Mickey Mouse show,” he said. “This is actually embarrassing, guys.”
After Cook left, Sheader’s motion to erase the Dec. 17 meeting failed 4-3. If allowed, Cook would have voted in favor of Sheader’s motion, but a tied vote would have allowed Board President Alex Moreno to vote in order to break the tie. The board members who attended the special meeting voted against Sheader’s motion, while those who had not been allowed to attend or had voluntarily walked out voted in favor.
If Sheader’s motion had passed and the record of the special meeting had been erased, the board of directors would have had to re-discuss whether to remove a previous member from the board, and they would have had to hold elections for executive officers again, re-deciding on the roles of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.
After the motion failed, Sheader made the argument that the bylaws are unclear and that there are multiple versions of the bylaws. For example, Sheader’s bylaws stated that elections must take place in January, while the newer version of the bylaws that Hovde presented after the Dec. 17 special meeting stated that elections take place in December. Sheader claimed that the last set of bylaws that had been voted into effect by the board of directors was his own, and that nothing after that point had been officially adopted by the board.
Board Member Kami Collins also said that the bylaws needed to be more concrete in the future and that the board should be more aware of which version is in effect. She asked Secretary LeAnn Moreno whether she had a copy of bylaws that had been signed, which would mean they had been adopted. While Sheader presented his signed version from over a year and a half ago, Moreno said she didn’t have her bylaws on her at the time and therefore couldn’t confirm that they were signed into effect.
“I’m trying to figure out what the latest signed, approved copy of the bylaws is,” Collins told the board. “That’s the one that we need to be working off of, and I do think all of these problems are stemming because none of us are on the same page.”
Earlier in the meeting, Collins told the board that she didn’t know what was going on as far as the bylaws were concerned when a potential future board member asked for her confirmation on whether he had the correct version.
“I have no idea,” Collins said. “I have no idea about the bylaws. I feel like there’s three. That’s the one that I signed when Mitchell [Gronenthal] was my president, but I was told those were lost.”
As a result of the continued disagreement of bylaws and continuation of the argument, Hladik announced to the board that she would have to “respectfully resign,” stating that she didn’t feel like she agreed with the CACC enough to be welcome and didn’t think she would last very long before they would want to remove her. Hovde, Moreno and other members of the board asked her to reconsider staying and Hladic eventually agreed to take time to decide whether she wanted to stay.
Ultimately, when President Moreno insisted that it was time to move on from the topic of the special meeting after nearly 45 minutes of discussion, Sheader announced his resignation from the board, calling it “a kangaroo court.” Member Kate Anderson immediately followed Sheader’s resignation with her own. They both left at that time as Moreno let them know that they’d have to provide their resignations in writing.
Hladic left the meeting after discussing the CACC’s annual banquet, which took place Jan. 10 at her establishment, the Pondy. Though Sheader, Anderson and Cook had announced their resignation at the meeting, none of them had given written notice of their resignation at the time of the banquet, and Sheader and Anderson followed through on obligations related to the event.
Following the resignations, the meeting proceeded regularly, as the remaining members of the board of directors voted on winners of member awards for Friday’s banquet.