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Chamber to begin new search after director resigns

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MASSENA — The Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce will be going back out in search of a new director.

Connie Jenkins, who took over as director on Dec. 2, tendered her resignation on Friday to accept another position in Malone.

“She has taken a position in Malone, a position she was originally hoping for,” chamber board President Miriam S. Catapano said. “Her resignation comes as a complete surprise and at a very busy time for the chamber. We wish her well.”

Among the chamber events coming up soon are the Winter Carnival and annual dinner, both in January.

Ms. Jenkins, who has served as a chamber executive director in the past, as well as editor of the Malone Telegram and a freelance writer and editor, lives in Malone. She said that was one of the reasons she opted to submit her resignation.

“That’s part of it. I knew when I took the job that I would be commuting. Commuting is a large part of it. It’s harder than I realized,” she said.

Ms. Jenkins said she accepted the position as the chamber director after pursuing multiple opportunities.

“I was applying for a lot of jobs when I applied for this one. A job I thought had gone by because I hadn’t heard back from them, they unexpectedly offered me the job. It’s a hard decision. If I could be two people, I would do both things,” she said.

“This is a chance to have a job at home and not commute. I hate to come and go so quickly, but I need to get out before I get too entrenched here. If I was more hands on instead of just learning the ropes, it would hurt the chamber more,” Ms. Jenkins said.

She said she enjoyed her tenure as the chamber director and wishes the agency well.

“I’m very proud of what the chamber has done and how things have been going. Everybody has been delightful to me. I have no bad feelings toward anyone,” she said.

The chamber had been without a full-time director since former Executive Director Michael J. Gleason was fired in July. Mr. Gleason had been executive director since Oct. 15, 2007.

Since his departure, Associate Director Penny Pullmain has been handling the day-to-day operations at the chamber office with the assistance of chamber board members.

The job title was also changed from executive director to director.

Ms. Catapano had said that with the hiring of Ms. Jenkins, the director’s focus would be on chamber membership and marketing, while Ms. Pullmain would focus on chamber events.

As chamber director, Ms. Jenkins was expected to find out members’ needs, why they belong to the chamber, what their partnership is with the chamber and what they’re looking for in their membership. Now that role will fall to someone else.

“We will continue our search,” Ms. Catapano said. “We will review the resumes we have and continue our search.”

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