Letters to editor

Chamber CEO decision a bad one

By From page A11 | April 18, 2013

I read the recent front-page article (March 8, “Fay no longer chamber CEO”).

That really struck a nerve. After reading the article, I was disappointed and upset. You’ve got to be kidding me! I have known Leslie Fay, the individual who was “let go,” for more than 10 years and in my opinion she is an individual with the highest integrity and standards. I know a lot of other people in Fairfield would agree. Then to read where she was fired without any other printed comments other than “moving a different direction?” In other words, she was dismissed for no reason.

What the heck does that mean? A woman with more than 20 years of chamber of commerce experience with only the highest credentials was let go so “they” (whoever they are) could move in a “different direction.”

To my knowledge, the board of directors of the chamber consists of volunteers from various businesses in Fairfield with more than likely little to no knowledge or chamber experience. I would assume these individuals are supposed to provide support for the chamber president, a professional, so he/she can manage and lead the chamber of commerce.

In my opinion, there are only three reasons individuals are on such boards: To serve and make a difference, for prestige, and/or to benefit their own means. To dismiss such a person, whose only goal was to promote and enhance Fairfield’s businesses, is a little questionable to me. If their reason was to go a different direction, it seems to me they would want and need a person like Leslie Fay.

If I were a betting person, I would wager there are some who are looking to “benefit” over this move.

To the business members of the chamber of commerce I say, look around and watch the direction you’re being led and who is leading. Things are not always what they seem!

Sharon Linville


Letter to the Editor


Discussion | 9 comments

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  • SteveApril 18, 2013 - 12:17 pm

    If she is a businessperson, I would encourage Ms. Linville to join the Chamber and get involved. Then she can have a say in the direction the organization takes.

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  • JenniferApril 18, 2013 - 1:32 pm

    Steve, (I'm assuming you are Steve Lessler, who sits on the chamber board.) Are you saying there was no predetermined "new direction" and that you and the board are now making it up and inviting others to give input as you go? I'd say this proves Ms. Linville's point, don't you think?

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  • BradleyApril 18, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    I have to agree with Sharon. Everybody I've talked with is confused and kind of upset about the decision. We really liked Leslie and nobody seems to have any idea about this "new direction" the organization is taking. None of the Board members I've talked to can tell me what's going on or why she was let go. You don't just fire the company's president without having a good reason and nobody's been able to provide one. I'm sorry but the whole thing just smells kind of fishy to me. It'll be interesting to see who her replacement is going to be.

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  • Pauline WatkinsApril 19, 2013 - 12:42 am

    I agree with Steve's comments; get involved with the chamber to know what exactly is going on. While a person may be "likeable," that does not mean they are a "leader" or display leadership qualities. Perhaps we should wait until all facts have been presented. The organization's bylaws dictate the role of the board and any decisions they can or can not make. Since the board is made up of many different business members of the comunity, this decision was not done by one person's agenda. I am sure there will be people who are defending Ms. Fay, but as I remember the article did not attack her job performance or character, it just said the board "decided to go in a different direction." In large corporations, a CEO is often replaced when a needed change is necessary to continue the direction of a company. Perhaps this was the situation at this chamber. I, for one, will wait for all facts to be presented, rather than to voice my opinion based off of one side.

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  • BradleyApril 19, 2013 - 9:26 am

    The people I've spoken with didn't like her because she was "likeable" they liked her because of what she was DOING. Large corporations also have to answer to their shareholders and I really think people have a right to know what happened. It's been over a month now so I don't know how much longer we'll have to wait for the facts to be presented assuming they ever will.

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  • Pauline WatkinsApril 20, 2013 - 12:00 pm

    From your viewpoint, what was Ms.Fay DOING for the businesses? I know from a personal experience, she did not know who a vast majority of her members were. She knew who her volunteers were, but not the other businesses who were members. This was unacceptable and this is not good when trying to retain members.

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  • BradleyApril 21, 2013 - 8:03 pm

    Well, lets see.... She brought back the Leadership Program, which resulted in the most successful fundraiser in Fairfield's history last year (I know because my wife and I were there). The leadership program she brought back resulted in the Public Education Foundation, she started a newsletter for the chamber with this fine publication that we're now posting our comments to and she started a new major employer's group. From what I've heard, she was also the one who brought in some tenants for the building which is what kept the chamber going during the recession. If she didn't know somebody who was a chamber member, it was only because they never got involved or participated in everything that was going on so I'd actually have to agree with Steve on that one. If you think business people out there aren't paying attention to all this, you better think again.

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  • Sherry McKillopApril 22, 2013 - 9:21 am

    Pauline, When I first moved to this area I knew one person and we joke that he didn't know anybody! The first thing I did was join the chamber. Leslie welcomed me and when I showed up at the mixers she made a special point to introduced me to other members. I met so many people through Leslie it was difficult to keep track of them all, which she couldn't have done if she "did not know the vast majority of her members." Membership in the chamber is NOT like a lottery ticket, where one pays one's money and then waits/hopes for business to roll in. The way the chamber works for you is for YOU to jump in and work for the chamber.

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  • Kent keilFebruary 04, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    Leslie Fay Thank You for your friendship and your outstanding leadership. The very best to you and your family. The only word I could say is that your the Best! Kent Keil

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