By Yvonne Gonzalez
A business owner is suing to force transparency from the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber member Kimberly Diedrich, whose husband Carl competed to lead the chamber before Sara Troyer was hired, filed the lawsuit May 20 in Pinal County Superior Court.
Diedrich says she and other chamber members were met with resistance from the board when they asked for documents related to hiring Troyer, who is a 2013 Maricopa High School graduate and former marketing and programs development director at the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.
The chamber, according to Diedrich, listed a bachelor’s degree or five years of executive experience among the advertised job requirements. She said her husband fits those requirements and, according to the lawsuit, was one of two people to interview with the board for the executive directorship.
“I want to see votes, I want to see meeting minutes, I want to see notices of meetings,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of that is happening.”
The board said in an emailed statement Monday it kept the membership informed throughout the process, but that “to allay any unfounded concerns about the selection of (Troyer), the board is taking this opportunity to remind the members about the selection process.”
The executive director was chosen using “generally accepted human resources practices … and also complied with confidential hiring requirements,” according to the statement.
“We notified the community about the open position through an e-blast to the members and a press release to the general public.”
The board stated a five-member search committee chose people to interview from a pool of 27 applicants.
“Once (Troyer) applied for the position, (Troyer) was excluded from any and all discussions and communications involving the executive director position,” the statement said. “She was among the final candidates the search committee referred to the board. Had she not been in this group, the board would not have interviewed her.”
According to Diedrich’s lawsuit, the search committee members were “a subordinate employee of a board member, a former board president, a chamber committee chairperson, and an ex-officio board member.”
The lawsuit is asking the court to order the chamber to open records to inspection and “allow copying of the records demanded at the corporation’s expense.”
Diedrich also wants the chamber to pay “costs, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred to obtain the order,” according to a copy of the filing she provided.
She said if she’s able to review the documents she’s been unable to see so far, and they show the chamber has been acting inappropriately, then it might be time to make changes to the board’s members.
“My questions originally came about because of (Troyer’s) hiring,” she said.
Diedrich emphasized she does not want a position on the board, and that the issue isn’t about her husband not being hired.
“When I was stonewalled,” she said, “that’s when more questions arose.”[socialpoll id=”2361982″]