MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- The Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce has tapped a new manager after having been without one for the past nine months.
Marilyn Morton of Independence begins her duties this week. She will be responsible for planning chamber activities, overseeing the chamber's office on Highway 99W in Monmouth, and, most importantly, strengthening business ties, said chamber president Jason Cane.
"She's been a member of the community for many years and has a pretty good base of knowledge for what our community needs," Cane said.
Morton has been an Independence City Councilor since 2002, has been a planner for the Fourth of July celebration and Hop and Heritage Festival, and manages the Linen Warehouse -- a part of Independence's business incubator program.
Morton was elected as a M-I chamber board member earlier this year, and said she had been floating names for the manager job.
"Then I was asked to apply and it seems like in the course of two weeks, everything changed and I had an interview," she said.
"The job is one I've always felt was one that had great potential," she continued.
The chamber has been stymied by a budget shortfall since 2009. Those issues led to Morton's predecessor being laid off last fall.
Savings on that salary, however, have allowed the chamber to fulfill some of its credit debt. The cities of Monmouth and Independence have also pledged to provide $5,400 apiece in 2010-11 for support.
Morton's position will be a 20-hour-a-week obligation. The intent is to build it into a full-time job, pending increased chamber membership and better outreach, she said.
Chief goals include improving the chamber's online presence and connecting with and touting local business, she said.
"Communication is a vital tool and if we're not doing it well, alienation starts to happen," she said. "I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to be out in the community as much as I have ... instead of making cold calls, it will be going to see friends."