Chamber to form search committee for new director in January

Susan Farley FILE PHOTO
Susan Farley

ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce will form a search committee in January to find a successor to Susan Farley, the group’s recently departed executive director.

Jeff Clark, president of the chamber’s board of directors, said Tuesday the organization plans to “get a search committee together soon after the holidays” in order to start the process of finding a new leader.

In the meantime, Gretchen Wilson has been named acting executive director. Clark said Wilson, who up until Farley’s departure was community manager, was asked to serve in that capacity and agreed to do so.

Wilson said she is going into her fourth year working for the chamber.

The three other staffers at the chamber office — membership coordinator Kristy Overlock, Kathy Carney (member/visitor services) and Debbie McFarland at the front desk — remain in their respective jobs, with some additional duties now that Wilson has been named acting executive director.

“Our current staff will be able to handle the added responsibilities,” Clark said. “We have a great staff up there, and I’m 100 percent confident they’re capable of running the day-to-day operations of the chamber.”

Clark said the search committee is likely to be made up primarily of chamber board members and entirely of chamber members. He said that is the format for the makeup of the search committee that has been used in previous search efforts.

Asked if there is a window of time in which the search committee will be expected to complete its work, Clark said the focus will be on a quality search rather than an expedited process.

“We’re not as concerned with the time frame as we are with getting the right person for the job,” he said.

Farley’s tenure with the chamber ended Dec. 11. In a statement, she said the chamber’s executive committee “decided to go in a different direction” and that while she was sad to leave she was proud of the work she did.

Farley served as executive director for 18 months. She succeeded interim executive director Gail Kelly, who was hired after former executive director Tony Cameron resigned.

Like Farley, Cameron also held the job for 18 months.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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