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Our View: Chamber’s future is now

Posted: September 18, 2010 8:38 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Ed Masterson stepped down last week as president and CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce after four months on the job. 

Masterson took the position on an interim basis during a most difficult time, when the Chamber needed a steady hand at the daily helm.

Masterson is an engaging personality, liked and respected throughout the community.  He deserves our thanks for stepping into the position during a most difficult and challenging time in the SCV Chamber’s history.

Working closely with John Shaffery, this year’s Chamber chairman of the board, Masterson worked hard, putting in long hours to get the Chamber back to being a resource to its more than 1,100 members, many of them small SCV businesses.
Masterson, with a background more in politics than business, came to the realization the Chamber’s future would be better served if a search started now for a CEO with a skill-set better suited to lead a business organization.

Masterson should be applauded for putting the community’s best interests above his own.  It is not an easy thing to say, “Someone else would be better doing the job.”

Shaffery, of Poole & Shaffery, announced that for now, the “someone else” will be Charlie Gill, president of Integrated Property Services Group Inc. and the 2008 SCV Chamber of Commerce board chairman.  Gill will assume a part-time role as interim director of the Chamber as a search for a permanent president/CEO begins.

We expect good things from Charlie Gill as both he and Shaffery apply their considerable leadership skills to continue to make the Chamber one the SCV’s leading business voices, providing advocacy, promotional and benefit solutions for all members.

The time is now for the Chamber to expedite the search for a new president and CEO.  Formed as the Newhall Chamber of Commerce in 1923, it became the SCV Chamber of Commerce in 1980.

In the decades leading up to city of Santa Clarita’s incorporation in 1987, it served as a driving force in the community, growing from some 60 original members to more than 1,100 today.

Before cityhood, the Chamber was the de facto local government for a fledgling community on the outskirts of Los Angeles County — functioning much like a town council dealing with business and resident issues.

In the years since cityhood, the Chamber has moved out of that role to stand squarely in the business realm. Its stated mission?  To “represent and promote business successfully in the Santa Clarita Valley through leadership, advocacy and member services.”

This current year of significant challenges and changes is drawing to a close for the Chamber.

We expect Shaffery, Gill and the rest of the members of the SCV Chamber board to finish what they have started, hire a strong, competent CEO with extensive business expertise who will continue to get the Chamber back on track, focused on its stated mission and once again be a prominent and vital SCV business organization.

We urge the Chamber leadership to continue its outreach strategy with the business community and to continually provide answers to the question SCV businesses will be asking: “Do the benefits received from the Chamber exceed the cost of membership?”

We support the Chamber and encourage the Chamber leadership to lay out on these opinion pages, or in the pages of the SCV Business Journal, the progress it makes in moving forward.

There’s a flip side to this coin. Vision can’t just come from the Chamber chairman, the interim CEO or the board — it must come from the Chamber members, too.

Those members need to communicate what they expect, need, and want — what can help make this an ever-more-vibrant business community, recession be damned.

Simply put, there needs to be a free flow of communication between Chamber members and leadership.

The Signal is not an outside observer, either. We’ve been a Chamber member for decades, and this year we are the Chamber’s biggest sponsor. 

We believe the Chamber is in good hands with John Shaffery, Charlie Gill and an impressive Board of Directors. A vibrant and active Chamber of Commerce is integral to the future of the SCV.

We believe the time is now for building a better, stronger Chamber of Commerce.

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