With a resounding show of member indifference, only seven of 57 members of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce cared enough about the Chamber’s future to attend a meeting called to decide its future. In a little over an hour, those seven voted to dissolve the long-standing Idyllwild institution.
Secretary and last remaining director, David Jerome delivered written notification about the April 29 meeting to all business and associate members eligible to vote. The stated purpose of the meeting was to decide whether or not the Chamber could continue to function. Jerome personally visited the majority of members eligible to vote, to encourage them to attend, discuss and decide one of two action items on the agenda: to elect a new board or to vote to dissolve. No members, in writing or by attending the April 29 meeting, indicated any interest in forming a new board.
With the unanimous vote to dissolve, the next step will be to disperse Chamber assets, which include the town monument “Harmony,” as well as the Chamber bus and office furniture. As required by Chamber bylaws, these assets can only be given to established nonprofits.
Prior to the vote, longtime Chamber supporter Marge Muir made the case for perpetuating a Chamber, but not this current one, she clarified, but a new one without the baggage that has dogged this board. That baggage, as noted at the meeting, involved a long simmering dispute between David Roy and his attorney Ken Carlson, over work Roy performed to apply a sealant to the monument, questions about the board’s management of the monument maintenance fund, and questions of ultimate ownership of the monument itself.
Former President Chris Titus, who attended the Monday meeting, cautioned that as long as the monument remained a Chamber asset, for this or any future Chamber, the threat of a suit remained. “As long as the Chamber owns the monument, the suit is there,” she said.
The next step, as voted by the attending members, is to notify the membership by letter of a meeting to be held at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13, at the Chamber offices for the purpose of dispersing of Chamber assets. In the letter, members would be asked to serve on a committee charged with dispersing assets to eligible nonprofits.
The Chamber office will remain open through the end of May, primarily to complete the dissolution and asset dispersal process.