Shouldn’t Brien Pfoffenberger be worrying more about Hagerstown? Not District 2B


To the Editor:

With unemployment at 9.7% and rising in Washington County, it doesn’t seem like a very good idea for the president of the Chamber of Commerce to be taking almost a year-long leave of absence. I’m unemployed myself, and I’d really like to see the Chamber devoting their energies to bringing jobs and new businesses to the county.

The chamber needs its full staff with an active president.  Allowing the organization to run rudderless while Brien Poffenberger, the taking-a-leave-of-absence president of the chamber, is off trying to run a political campaign is not fair to the community or chamber members.  While I’m trying to get a job, Brien is holding onto his old one.  This is leaving the chamber to fend for itself during this critical period in our county and is further hurting my chances for employment by reducing the effectiveness of our local chamber.  Brien, it’s time to return to the chamber or run your campaign with a clear conscience, you can’t have it both ways.

Mr. Pfoffenberger is a Democrat running for the vacated seat of Delegate Chris Shank who is running for State Senator.

You may have seen in the paper this past weekend that Brien Poffenberger, who’s going to be Neil’s Democrat opponent, has just announced that he is going to take a year-long leave of absence from his job as President of the Chamber of Commerce. We’re hoping that since the campaign can’t respond directly, you might be willing to submit a letter to the editor about this issue to the Herald Mail.

THE ISSUE

The issue is essentially this:  Since September of 2009, Mr. Poffenberger has raised over $20,000 for a “potential” campaign, while still working as the Chamber President.  Many have been concerned that this is a conflict of interest, as he was supposed to be representing the businesses and community of Washington County, rather than using his position to raise a significant amount of money for a campaign.  He now has asked for a leave of absence until the elections in November, leaving the Chamber without a President for 9 months – This at a time when many local businesses are suffering and unemployment in our county is over 9%.  He has also arranged for the Chamber to hold his position.  If he wins the election, he won’t return as the President, but if he loses, he still has his job – despite his lack of work for 9 months.

OTHER THOUGHTS

1)  People who have been looking for a job for many months or years – Why does the Chamber think it is OK for their President to have the ultimate job security, when he chooses not to work?

2)  This deal that they’ve cut is essentially business as usual;  He stays on their health care plan for his 9 months leave, and doesn’t have to do any work, nor does he have to say that he’ll return.  Is that responsible to the Chamber members who pay dues to the organization who is supposed to be helping their business?

3)  Here is the link to the Herald Mail article http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id=240122&format=html

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