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Tingen resigns as chamber president

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2010

After less than a year on the job, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President Jim Tingen abruptly resigned Tuesday.

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An e-mailed announcement from the chamber said only that Tingen quit, effective March 30, "to pursue other career interests," and that Tammy Shepherd, vice president of business development for the chamber, is now serving as interim president.

"It is true," Tingen said. "I have resigned from the chamber. I don't think I've misbehaved or anything like that. It's just one of those things -- I'm pursuing other interests, other business interests."

Tingen was approaching his first anniversary as chamber president since his hiring April 15, 2009.

Acknowledging that the resignation would seem sudden to outsiders, chamber board Chairwoman Yvonne Meeks would not say if the resignation had been preceded by a disagreement with the board.

"We want it to be a very positive spin for everybody," she said. "Our group is a very astute group. We don't make any quick moves."

Tingen also wouldn't discuss whether there had been a disagreement with the board, such as the pay dispute that led to the resignation a year ago of then-Executive Director Karen Chrjapin.

Chrjapin resigned when the board refused to grant raises to chamber staff, even though those raises had been approved as part of the 2009 budget.

"I really can't tell you anything now except that I agreed to pursue other interests, and they agreed to move on," Tingen said. "We're trying to make it as nice and smooth as possible. I can't tell you any details."

Tingen formerly was with CallingPost Communications. After Chrjapin's resignation, he was selected for the position from among three finalists, including Shepherd.

All chamber events planned for Masters Week will go on as scheduled with Shepherd taking Tingen's place, Meeks said, and Shepherd will join Meeks and incoming chamber board chairman Jason Manley on an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., instead of Tingen, Meeks said.

The chamber board likely will wait until after Masters Week to plan for a search for Tingen's successor, Meeks said.



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