I applaud Skip Hoagland's efforts to bring transparency to the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. I, too, was a member and found that all the doors were closed when I inquired about various marketing activities. I finally resigned.
We must remember that Hoagland's efforts also serve the interests of property owners (taxpayers) and the major hotel and resort complexes.
Our mayor and Town Council have been very silent about all this. The mayor, too, has a fiduciary responsibility in this politically delicate situation. While Hoagland's lawsuit is moving along, the mayor should recommend an independent auditing service to examine and evaluate the chamber's various activities. If the chamber is a professional organization, they would cooperate.
Based on my experience, the audit should cover a review of all strategic planning documents and the tactics for meeting objectives; systems for tracking results; all financial factors, such as the cost of outside consultants; reviewing all job descriptions and compensation from top to bottom; reviewing payments to outside suppliers. Finally, the auditing group would submit its findings and recommendations. Surely, the mayor and Council would have no problem with supporting this pursuit of transparency.
John P. McLaughlin
Hilton Head Island