Jim Martin asked to step down as chamber director

POULSBO — For the second time in as many years, the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce is going to be searching for a new executive director.

Jim Martin, who had served in the position for about nine months, was notified Dec. 10 that the chamber board had decided not to keep him on any longer.

“I was excited with the membership growth and getting finances in order and I was proud to represent the chamber,” Martin commented. “I thought I was doing a good job but I guess the board didn’t feel the same way.”

Martin’s departure makes two executive directors to leave since August 2003. Martin had held the office since March 1. Prior to that, the seat had been vacant since the Aug. 1, 2003 resignation of Robert Ford.

Former chamber board member Gary Hoskins served as interim director from Aug. 1, 2003 until Oct. 31, 2003.

Martin called the board’s announcement “very sudden” and said he did not expect to be removed from the job.

“Obviously, I’m very disappointed,” he commented.

Incoming chamber president Pat McFadden said she could not answer any questions about the nature of Martin’s departure because it was a personnel matter.

McFadden said a search for a new executive director will begin in early 2005 and will resemble the method of advertising and interviews by a hiring committee that was used to hire Martin.

“The office administrator will be handling the day-to-day operations and board officers will take over other certain functions in the interim,” she explained.

McFadden said Martin’s 9-month term had included great strides in gaining membership and visibility for the chamber. Martin’s year-end wrap-up in the chamber’s December 2004 newsletter listed that in the last year, the chamber tripled its volunteers, increased patron members from 15 to 50 and raised membership by 100. McFadden also praised Martin’s work in fund-raising on the chamber’s behalf.

“We were pretty much operating on a day to day cash flow basis,” McFadden said of the time before Martin’s hiring. “Now, we’re out of debt and we have some money in the bank. We’re just in a much more stable financial position.”

The chamber board will likely be looking for the next executive director to continue the momentum that Martin began but also focus on some goals that have been set for 2005.

“I think we’ll be looking to streamline the chamber operations and develop an ongoing community calendar not just for the chamber events but the city as a whole to avoid conflicts,” McFadden said.

Prior to coming on board at the chamber, Martin had worked in insurance in Washington and Oregon. He said he has not decided exactly what he will do now that he is no longer working for the chamber, although he said he foresees some job prospects after the first of the year.

“I just need to take some time and sort some things out,” Martin said.

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