"Sale of chamber building essential"
That's the headline of the editorial on Page 4 of this week's The Woodstock Independent.
The weekly editorial is the consensus of the editorial staff of the paper. That's why it's not signed.
Do I agree? What do you think?
No. Definitely not. Absolutely not. ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Now is the time to string up the members of past Boards of Directors for being so derelict in their duty that they permitted the Chamber's finances to head so far south into Disaster Land. Instead of paying off a large percentage of the chamber's headquarters over the past 20 years, they borrowed six times and added $100,000 to the mortgage to fund operations.
Did it not occur to them to solve the operational problem instead of borrowing time after time? Apparently not. It wasn't "their" money; it was someone else's money, so just borrow...
In a small town, people want to be nice. They want to "talk nice." They want to smile at their buddies, particularly the ones they see at the country club or the golf club or the service clubs' weekly breakfasts and lunches.
No one wants to point a finger and shout, "You rat. How could you be so blind?"
I know that the Board struggled over the past 4-5 years with the finances. Everyone kept his mouth shut (or almost), but they knew how bad it was. Did they communicate to members?
Why do I think not? I certainly didn't hear anything about the terrible shape of finances during the year I was a member. And I knew another member couldn't get financial statements of the Chamber and so could not learn how bad the finances were.
What should be done now?
The first thing would be to survey the members and the business community and ask, should a business community the size of Woodstock have a chamber of commerce?
The answer should be "Yes" but might not be, because many answers might be "Yes, if..." or "Yes, but..."
Why can Crystal Lake, McHenry and Huntley have great chambers of commerce, but Woodstock cannot?
The answer is easy and short. "Commitment."
Can the remaining few members on the Board rescue the Chamber?
Sir Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up."
Has the Woodstock business community given up?