Yelling, name-calling, and finger-pointing at Millbrook meeting

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - It was scheduled as a Chamber of Commerce status update.

But it didn't stay that way for long.

Tempers flared, and voices raised at the meeting in Millbrook.

The tension comes as no surprise to folks who say they expected conflict.

The organization's been through some tough years, financial struggles and strained relations with the city.

Chamber directors say the meeting was intended to update members about an audit revealing years of improper or missing financial records--including eight years of not filing tax returns.

An outside accounting firm conducted the audit.

Past board members felt directors were blaming them for the mess and that's why they got upset.  They say the board should have contacted them for the records instead of accusing them of not keeping proper ones.

"I felt like if it was a very good investigation that they did they would have gone that avenue to seek that information," says former board president, Harris Garner.

Millbrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Stephanie Godwin says they tried contacting past presidents for the financial records.

It wasn't enough to prevent flaring tempers.

But even members and directors alike say the heated debate was exactly what the group needed.

"It was very therapeutic for both sides. Tomorrow's a new leaf. I think this was a great meeting," adds Godwin.

Even though some believed the bickering was a good thing, other chamber members weren't so sure.

In fact, many said they're not renewing their membership.  And some say they're still on the fence.

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