Sandy Scott at Arcata's Halloween celebration. Matt Filar | Union
Mad River Union
ARCATA – In a budget-driven decision, the Arcata Chamber of Commerce has laid off Executive Director Sandy Scott. However, Scott will remain with the Chamber as a volunteer until the end of the year.
Citing budget shortfalls, the Chamber recently relinquished its franchise as a California Welcome Center. Its Board of Directors asked Scott last week if she would consent to being laid off, and she did.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Scott said.
She said the Chamber’s work will continue unabated. “It’ll be the same,” she said. “No member functions will be lost, and we’re still planning for the annual dinner.”
The Chamber board is in the process of interviewing two finalists to replace Scott in the director position.
A letter sent out to members by Chamber President Frank Whitlach on Monday:
November 2, 2015
I am writing to let you know that the Board has reluctantly decided, due to financial constraints and challenges, that we must end Executive Director Sandy Scott’s employment earlier than planned, effective on November 6, 2015. Sandy will continue to be involved with the Chamber through the end of December, but she will be serving in a new role as a volunteer. We are grateful for her understanding and commitment.
This was a terribly difficult decision for the Board. We value Sandy as a friend and we are grateful for the work she has done reinvigorating the Chamber. She has brought a positive energy and an amazing ability to generate enthusiasm in our community.
We would have preferred to keep her as Executive Director until the end of the year as previously discussed, and then brought on a new Executive Director in late December to allow for some overlap. Unfortunately, our financial situation does not allow this. Looking ahead, we saw that we were facing a serious cash flow problem in December, resulting from 1) an ongoing structural deficit that has gotten somewhat worse the last few years, and 2) the expense of running the California Welcome Center.
Taking action now, in conjunction with our recent decision to cancel our franchise agreement with the California Welcome Center, will put us in a much stronger situation next year. We are hopeful we can finally move beyond the fiscal shortfalls that have hamstrung us for many years.
I can’t say enough how much the Board appreciates all that Sandy has done. We thank her for outstanding service in helping to reinvigorate and grow the Chamber during her time as Executive Director. She has been a tremendous asset to the Chamber and our entire community, and she will be greatly missed.
Plans are in the works for a farewell gathering for Sandy, and we will share details soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to thank her personally and wish her the best.