The New Hope Chamber of Commerce will consider disbanding itself at another “emergency” meeting Wednesday night, according to multiple sources close to the situation and documents shown to the Free Press.
These sources have painted a picture of persistent internal turmoil at the business organization, with one visible sign being the recent resignation of Vice-President Jim Jolly. Those interviewed say that several members of the chamber’s leadership ranks are “on the fence” about their continuing role there, and have raised the issue of dissolving the group.
The reason for the dissent? Those interviewed for this article cite frustration and burnout caused by criticism and lack of support, both internally and externally. They paint a picture of a dedicated and hard-working core group within the chamber that feels sandwiched between unfulfilled promises from above and sniping from some of those they’re trying to help.
Said one individual close to the situation who requested anonymity, “You get tired of being s___ on.”
Meanwhile, an ad hoc group of local business owners has emerged from an open merchant forum held at Havana on Oct. 15. The informal group, whose meetings this reporter has attended, is planning a series of holiday season events to help draw visitors to New Hope businesses.
A recent memo obtained by the Free Press bearing the letterhead of New Hope Chamber President Roger Green suggests,”Whatever we do (disband or not), it needs to be positioned appropriately, which will take focus, unity and work. If we plan to disband, I need to begin informing people in town shortly (some probably before Friday). If we do not want to disband, we need a fast plan for the Visitor’s Center and for dealing with the ‘un-Merchants’ Association.'”
But judging from those interviewed, the newly-formed group of merchant volunteers appears to be the least of the Chamber leadership’s problems.