Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Director sought for black chamber

Current leader to quit African-American group

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce hopes to bury its controversy from last year by moving forward with a search for a new executive director.

        “We are looking for someone with some experience in business and (who) can work with diverse groups,” said Eugene Ellington, who heads the local search for the director. “I think we have come together and have a clear mission to promote economic development in the black community.”

        The need for a new executive director came about Monday when Hubert Guest said he is resigning his chief operating officer position with the chamber at the end of the month. He said he expects to remain with the chamber in a volunteer capacity such as representing the chamber on the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI).

        “I think the chamber has settled the controversial issues it had and is ready to develop a good relationship with the city,” Mr. Guest said.

        Mr. Ellington said the chamber combined the positions of executive director and chief operating officer and will pay the person selected between $50,000 and $65,000 per year.

        Last year, the chamber came under fire when the city froze part of a $300,000, three-year contract when officials said the chamber had not provided detailed documents for expenditures.

        The city had contracted with the agency to develop a Tourism-Multicultural Impact Project that would bring diverse groups into the region from across the country.

        The chamber was later cleared of mismanaging funds. Weeks later, the chamber's board of directors fired then-president James Clingman, one of the founding members of the chamber. Board members would not comment on why Mr. Clingman was fired.


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