The Block Island Times

Chamber seeks business input

By Fraser Lang | Aug 16, 2013

Block Island Chamber of Commerce member Frank DiBiase, owner of The Spring House, recently called on the Chamber to become a more forceful advocate for the business community. He spoke at regular meeting of the group held on Monday night, Aug. 14, at The Channel Marker restaurant.

DiBiase cited problems such as “crippling” rates for electric power as some of the unique challenges facing Block Island businesses. He urged the organization and its members to become more vocal in working towards streamlining regulations and procedures to make the climate more business friendly.

A number of members echoed DiBiase’s sentiments. Chamber president Mary Lawless stated that his objectives exactly matched the recent initiatives of the board. She welcomed the discussion and cited it as a sign of a reinvigorated organization.

A task force was appointed as a result of the discussion to develop a list of the top 10  priorities of the business community. The list will be used to generate a discussion and action plan at the annual joint meeting of the chamber and The Block Island Tourism Council. Task Force members are Lucinda Morrison, Megan Moran, Kathy Szabo, Howie Rice, Frank DiBiase, Jessica Willi, myself and my wife Betty.

The group will set up some mechanism through The Block Island Times, probably online, to poll the business community.

The members approved two by law changes. Current board members are now limited to two consecutive two year terms. Both Chamber president Lawless and secretary Megan Moran had asked for a one-year extension of their terms to be able to complete efforts that they are currently working on. With the change they, and all board members, will be eligible to extend their terms by one year if so approved by the nominating committee, Another change expanded the nominating committee from four to five members to avoid tie votes.

Kathy Szabo reported that she is seeking input from members who want to participate in the upcoming Taste of Block Island scheduled for Sept. 27 through Sept. 29.

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