EAST LIVERPOOL - In an effort to become a "stronger organization to advocate for the business community," the East Liverpool and St. Clair Township chambers of commerce are on the verge of merging.
According to an email sent to its members, representatives from both chambers have been meeting throughout the past year to work out the details to combine the organizations into the Southern Columbiana County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The email was issued by the current presidents of both chambers - Todd Alexander of East Liverpool and Daniel Wolfe of St. Clair Township.
The boards of both chambers met separately last month on recommended guidelines toward the merger, and both boards approved a common set of by-laws. A vote by all those holding chamber membership is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at the American Spirit Academy building on West Fifth Street in downtown East Liverpool. A question-and-answer session will take place prior to the vote.
"As you may know, the East Liverpool and St. Clair chambers of commerce have successfully partnered in several projects over the past few years.," the email read. "The spring banquet, business breakfast forums and business after hours have proven to be quite
popular and have confirmed the common purpose of both chambers."
According to the email, a similar merger of chambers took place in Mahoning County, and has proven to be successful. The move also should "offer additional benefits to members," the email read.
During the past 12 months, Alexander and Wolfe met Tom Wolfe (St. Clair), Mike Sigler (both), Rocky Sanford (St. Clair), Joe Shemasek (East Liverpool) and Mike Parkes (both) to work out the details.
According to the email, the committee reviewed the purpose, by-laws, dues structure, executive director job description, office locations, and the budget/membership information of both chambers. Following that process, both chamber boards reached unanimous agreements that "now is the time" to merge both chambers of commerce into "one larger, stronger chamber."
A common set of by-laws was created from the organizations' existing by-laws, which included a new dues structure and a new job description for the executive director.
The group has also recommended the following:
1. The board will be made up of 20 directors, including nine directors from each chamber, a St. Clair Township trustee (or designee) and the mayor of East Liverpool (or designee). Each elected director may hold three 3-year terms and then must leave the board for at least one year. Six directors will be elected each year.
2. The officers for the first year will be Todd Alexander, president; Dan Wolfe president-elect; and Joe Shemasek, past president. A treasurer has yet to be named.
3. The new chamber will maintain office space in both St. Clair Township and downtown East Liverpool.
Local attorney Charles Lang reviewed the new by-laws, according to the email, and has agreed to perform all required paperwork for the new merged chamber.
"It is our hope that (members) will support this new endeavor to join together to strengthen the voice of the business community in southern Columbiana County and to offer more benefits ..." to chamber members, the email read.
Those with questions in advance of today's meeting are asked to direct them to Todd Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any of the members previously mentioned.