confirms e-mail invites to Chamber members

Story by Chris Graham has obtained a copy of the e-mail sent to some Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce members to invite them to hear from former Chamber president and CEO Ben Carter about his recent forced departure from the organization.

The invitation was for a meeting at Reo Distribution Services in Waynesboro, which is owned by former Waynesboro City Councilman Reo Hatfield, at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The text of the e-mail: “Please join me and a larger group of Chamber members to hear from Ben Carter about his departure from the Chamber of Commerce at 1:00 p.m. this Tuesday, February 23rd. We will meet in Reo Hatfield’s conference room at his distribution complex just off Hopeman Parkway.”

The e-mail was sent from a personal e-mail address of Carter.

Earlier today, the Chamber’s Board of Directors issued a statement in response to the planned meeting.

The text of that statement: “(A)s you know, we have had a change in staff at the Chamber with the recent departure of the Chamber’s former President and CEO Ben Carter. It has come to our attention that there are members who believe a Special Meeting of the Membership should be called in order to overturn the decision of the Board of Directors causing Mr. Carter to be rehired. The Board asks the members to consider this request and its potential consequences very carefully and to trust that the Chamber Board, which is comprised of volunteer business leaders like you, acted in a careful and deliberate way in this confidential personnel matter. The Board believes it’s in the best interests of the Chamber to proceed with new leadership, and it hopes the Chamber members will support the Board’s judgment in this matter.”

Carter was relieved of his duties at the Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 28.

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