Breckenridge Resort Chamber members vote to move forward with restructuring
Members of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, or GoBreck, voted Thursday, Nov. 7, to approve amendments to the organization’s articles of incorporation, as part of a plan to restructure its governance.
The amendments reorganize GoBreck — the new official corporate name — from a members-only chamber to an all-inclusive destination marketing organization (DMO). The organization will be operated by the GoBreck staff and governed by Breckenridge business leaders.
The new board will be appointed jointly by GoBreck and the Breckenridge Town Council and will replace both the current Breckenridge Marketing Advisory Committee (BMAC) and BRC boards.
The amended articles passed 117 to 19; there are approximately 400 current BRC members. The new board will comprise three members appointed by the town council, four members appointed by GoBreck, a ski area representative and a town council representative.
John McMahon, president and CEO of GoBreck, said this was a groundbreaking change for the organization.
“This is an important opportunity to become really transparent,” he said. “We’re on the cutting edge of what other DMOs and chambers are doing.”
Under the approved amendments, members will no longer be entitled to vote. In the past, the BRC membership voted for the 11 board members. Now, a nominating committee will recommend people for the nine board positions.
Cindy Love, vice president and client services manager at Centennial Bank, said she opposed the changes because the plan was rushed and the membership had no input before Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m voting against it today because otherwise we’ll never be able to vote again,” she said. “I’m not going to let the town take over the BRC.”
Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe, who currently serves as the council representative to the BMAC, said usually less than 15 percent of the membership votes on any given issue, and the new proposal gives businesses more networking and communication opportunities.
“It’s not our intention to block the voice,” she said. “We just want to eliminate redundancy.”
Mitch Weiss, manager of Pine Ridge Condominiums, said his concern was not about eliminating the layers of oversight, but community voice and input into the process.
“I’m very upset and disappointed with the way this is being handled, at the behest of town council,” he said. “We’ve had no voice in anything going on here. I have a problem with how this is being pushed through just to have a budget done.”
Andru Zeiset, current BRC board chairman, emphasized the difference between members having a voice and having a vote.
“You all elected this board and we concluded this is the most effective path for the future of our organization,” he said.
In order for the reorganization to take place, the current BRC board of directors must resign, a decision they agreed to unanimously.
The next step in the process is to change the bylaws in order to reflect plans for the board structure and membership.
“It is time consuming and expensive to redo the bylaws for the organization,” Zeiset said. “We thought if there was support to go in this direction, then we can go forward and create the bylaws, rather than present a finalized product now.”
The town council requested the restructuring due to concerns about duplicate layers of oversight, such as the BMAC and the BRC board. Currently 70 percent of the organization’s funding comes from the town, and the council directed BRC governance be reorganized in order to continue to receive funding. The town council contracts with the BRC for marketing and has always had the right to revoke that contract and look elsewhere for its marketing needs.
“We want this change to come at a time when things are stable, while we’re on the upswing,” McMahon said. “To be relevant, we have to be innovative and ahead of the curve.”
“I don’t want the town controlling more than they already control,” said Dianne Trausch of Trausch Insurance, who voted against the amendment.
Currently the town council appoints everyone who serves on the BMAC, and Rob Neyland, BRC board vice chairman, said the council would have less control under the new organization.
“Here’s a snapshot of our current reality: They (the council) fund the marketing efforts, we report to them, our budget is approved by them, there’s an oversight committee, BMAC, that they completely select which oversees our board and spending. Where is the control there?” he said.
He said a vote against the proposed change would be a vote for the demise of the BRC. Having the town place its marketing account with another organization “would be a disaster,” he said.
Rhonda Profaizer, wedding planner at the Lodge and Spa at Breckenridge, voted for the amendment.
“It’s important that the town and chamber are able to be connected to work together,” she said.
The current BRC board is proposing free membership to all BOLT license holders for the future; those who don’t hold licenses can still become paid members. So in the future, all Breckenridge businesses will be included as GoBreck members, which proponents say will enhance marketing for the town as a whole. GoBreck will also have a business services committee to work with businesses.
“Change is really difficult for many people,” McMahon said. “The reality is we started as a chamber, driven by member revenue. Over time, the town of Breck has stepped up their investment.”
The new plan would bring membership up to 1,900. However, some members expressed concerns that the bylaws were not yet written, and that they could be altered in the future. The articles of incorporation currently refer to bylaws that don’t yet exist. The BRC hopes to have the new board in place by December.
McMahon said the new bylaws will provide the language on how the nominating committee will operate. The newly restructured board will choose the nominating committee for the next round of appointments, expected in June 2015.
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