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Choosing 'a new direction'

Chamber of Commerce board of directors begins search for a new executive director
With their sights set on a new direction, the Prineville/Crook County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently dismissed Diane Bohle from her post as executive director.
   "I just thought I'd clarify that I was fired from the Chamber," Bohle said earlier this week. "But sometimes directors and boards do come to crossroads about policy and directions."
   Bohle, dismissed on Dec. 28, had been employed at the Chamber for six or seven years according to Chamber Board President Jay Porter.
   "We wanted to get some new energy into the office - shake it up a little bit - in effect, really make a transition and change the direction of the Chamber," he said. "Really, there's no cause, no reasons specifically. We did not fire her for a specific reason, other than just a change of direction. It wasn't something she did or did not do."
   "She was released of her at-will employment," Chamber Board President-Elect Bryan Iverson continued. "Basically the board really wants to take the chamber in a new direction and part of that new direction is in a new executive director."
   Bohle's dismissal was based on the board's desire to make changes to the Chamber to benefit the members, city and county.
   "We want to be a lot more aggressive in the growth of the Chamber," Iverson said. "Also, (we want) to be a lot more aggressive in our marketing efforts and driving tourism to Prineville."
   The daily operations of the Chamber are now being handled by Bohle's former administrative assistant Brandi Hereford and office assistant Judy Wabs, with Porter overseeing major decisions.
   "[Bohle] was responsible for the day-to-day operations and implementing the goals of the board," Porter said. "We would give her directions to what kinds of things we need to be doing and then on a day-to-day basis, she was implementing those."
   "The executive director's immediate supervisor is the president of the board. That's the way our bylaws are written," Iverson added. "So, in the absence of an executive director, the president would be the person to [decide] on every act."
   With Porter stepping in temporarily to make decisions, he is hoping to fill the open executive director position within two to three months.
   "The board hasn't yet met to flesh out exactly what qualities we're going to be seeking in the new person," Porter said.
   At the regular monthly Chamber board meeting on Thursday morning, the board officials chose to determine preferred qualifications of the position at a previously scheduled work session on Friday, Jan. 11.
   Without a specific list in mind, Porter did venture a guess.
   "I would say that the new person would have to have at least some marketing background or marketing skills, but that's not going to be the sole criteria," he said. "It is something that we would probably consider to be important in this position."
   "We're going to try to make the process as open as we can and then make sure that we hire the right person that's going to fit the goals for the chamber and going forward," Iverson added.
   "There were quite a few candidates that came out to interview for the Economic Development position that Jason Carr filled," Porter continued. "Many of them were from outside of the area that really wanted to be here. Frankly, they were capable and qualified for the position. So, we're hoping that we get a similar response for this position - where we have a wide pool of applicants and we really get to select that key person."
   While maintaining the confidentiality of Bohle's salary, Porter said, "When somebody has been in there for a while, they tend to get cost of living raises and things like that. We haven't really sat down to see how much we are going to have to pay to attract (somebody). That's going to depend on experience, qualifications and a lot of other factors, as well as the market."
   By comparison, in June of 2006, the Madras/Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce advertised the executive director position with a salary range of $40,000 to $43,000, depending on experience.
   "We're going to try to move quickly," Iverson said. "We haven't decided how best to go about hiring for that position - if we want to do it by ourselves or hire a personnel company, or executive search company, or just put ads in the paper and online. I think our goal will be to try to create a large pool of talent and then be able to go from there."