This is in response to an article published on May 23 by Yvonne Gonzalez titled Lawsuit filed over Chamber of Commerce transparency:
I have been reviewing the Chamber of Commerce cluster that has been born since the official announcement that Sara Troyer had been named the new executive director. While I do not know who specifically was the catalyst, the face for this has been Kimberly Diedrich, head of a business and a not-for-profit within the MCOC. I feel that this article published does not paint a neutral perspective on the situation but tries to incite and sway public opinion toward someone who is upset that her husband was not chosen for the open role.
Looking at the original request that was made of the Board, Kimberly asked directly for information relating to specific ARS statutes. These statutes relate to record keeping and the specific records of members that have been in good standing. I am not sure what she hoped to gain with a list of where every member lives and what their business is, but that was the request.
The board however, chose not to respond because the request was not properly made and most importantly, was not made in good faith; something crucial for any of her requests to hold any standing and garner a proper response. Contrary to popular belief of hers and supporters, Boards do not have to respond to each request made. If I were to email the Board of Directors for Pepsi Co (for example), I would not expect to receive a response.
There also appears to be a misunderstanding on what information can be asked for, and what is protected. HR hiring practices are protected. What is further evident is that there was an actual selection committee who was appointed to oversee and direct the process to replace the former CEO (at the position of executive director). Every proper procedure appears to have been followed to the letter.
There is a process that members may go through if they feel that there are grievances relating to membership. One member said, “When she [Kimberly] exercised this option, she was informed that the hiring practices are sealed to allow for fairness. She was not happy with this answer so her and a few other sympathizers started looking for ways to unseal what they feel are secrets. I think that all of this could have been avoided if Carl [Her husband] had been hired, but that would have set the Chamber back 10 years at least.”
Another important, if overlooked, item is that the communication ceased between Kimberly and the Chamber when Kimberly threatened to sue in the first place. The Board, like many other boards out there, has a lawyer on retainer who is activated in case of situations that arise. When she threatened to sue, she activated that clause. A board member said this is, “Causing an undo financial burden on the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. We do not have the money to fight frivolous legal battles like this.”
By filing the lawsuit, Kimberly opens the door to have a judge take an unbiased look at her claims and respond appropriately. She seeks relief against the financial costs that were rightfully assigned for work that she asked for. It is in my opinion that this is no longer stonewalling; they are complying to provide her the records. Since it detracts from the normal work of the Chamber, they are allowed to levy a fee. Since there is a per page fee and per hour fee, this appears to be within the realm of right and just. Kimberly simply seems to want this hard work done for nothing, and in the process find a smoking gun that will undermine Troyer.
One can only hope that she spends this much effort in her day-to-day business activities rescuing and babysitting animals as she does in tilting at windmills.
Jackie Gonzalez is a resident of Maricopa.