Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 2, 2014

NSU president takes chamber helm; Highers to be treasurer

TAHLEQUAH — The Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce has a new president and treasurer as the 2014-’15 fiscal year begins.

Northeastern State University President Dr. Steve Turner officially began his term as president of the chamber board of directors on Tuesday, while Stanley Young rotated into his role as a past president.

Former Treasurer Patti Morton, Vice President of Organizational Development Anita Thompson, and board member Jean Ryals have rotated off the board of directors after reaching the end of their consecutive three-year terms.

Board member Stephen Highers, entrepreneurial division manager with the Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center, has been selected as the new treasurer.

Board members Isabel Baker and JoAnn Bradley have the option of continuing into a second three-year term, or stepping down from their posts.

A nominating committee of Young, Keith Davis, Patti Hale, David Williams and Matt Meredith is helping to select potential replacements for the vacancies left by Thompson and Ryals. They will also select candidates for empty seats should Baker and Bradley decide not to continue for a second term.

A separate panel will choose candidates for the remaining executive committee positions that must be filled.

Board members can serve two consecutive three-year terms, and after a year has lapsed, they become eligible to sit on the board again, according to the chamber bylaws.

Some of the chamber board members have fallen under fire during the ongoing embezzlement probe for improper oversight of funds.

Though board members are constrained from speaking on the record while the investigation is in progress, some have indicated they were “duped” by the former executive director, David Moore.

Moore resigned abruptly last month when his failure to pay the insurance of former Tourism Director Kate Kelly became public. Since then, records have revealed a pattern of large expenditures, apparently without the board’s knowledge.

Thousands of dollars in chamber money have been spent at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa and elsewhere, through use of a bank card board members say they didn’t know existed.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

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