Confusing Actions in the Bozeman Chamber

The Bozeman Chamber of Commerce has it right on one accoount. In today’s Bozeman Daily Chronicle (10 Sept 2009, pg. A3), it is reported that President David Smith is leaving. Said Smith, “Fourteen years is a long time for a CEO of an organization and you need fresh leadership.” A committee of local businesses and community representatives will be assembled to conduct a national search.

David Smith is correct: Fourteen years is too long without new blood. So then why the Chamber’s unwavering support for Gallatin Airport Authority directors who have been seated for longer than most people can remember? Why their appreciation of Gallatin Field’s importance on one hand, yet ignoring the lack of new blood in the governance of this public facility? Why no insistence on the same open honest committee procedures for finding a replacement Director as the Chamber of Commerce itself is following? And considering the Authority’s reference to the Airport Director’s position as the “Airport’s CEO,” why did the Chamber laud former Director Mathis’ twenty-plus years in the position?

New blood is good everywhere, in politics and bureaucrats. Let us hope Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce has seen the light and will use its clout to push for more public participation in the governance of Gallatin Airport Authority. Let the Chamber support our call for new, term-limited Board members. And let them advance the belief, too, that the job of Airport Director at Gallatin Field should not be a career position.

Yes, David, I agree. Without any disrespect for your time with the Chamber, fourteen years is too long, for Chamber presidents, for Board of Director members, and for Airport Directors.

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