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Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, MADC to vote on merger this month

Chamber, MADC could consolidate by January

File Photo The Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and Minot Area Development Corp. are nearing the conclusion of a merger that could take place Jan. 1 if members approve the plan this month.

Minot could enter the year 2021 with a newly merged chamber of commerce and economic development corporation.

Members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and Minot Area Development Corp. will vote this month to potentially approve the merger, clearing the way for the new Minot Area Chamber EDC to come into existence with a new board on Jan. 1.

Members of the two organizations are being invited to Zoom meetings this week to get any questions answered.

“The question I have had most often is, ‘Is one organization going to get forgotten in the merger?'” said Chamber President John MacMartin, who has been acting MADC president. “We are taking extreme care to not have that happen.”

Members will have about two weeks to return their marked ballots, which are expected to go out by the end of this week. The chamber vote requires a simple majority. Based on its bylaws, MADC requires at least 20% of its membership to vote, and a majority of voting members must approve a merger.

An estimated 860 to 900 ballots will be sent based on membership of the two organizations. MADC has about 170 of those memberships, and all but about 15 are not also chamber members, MacMartin said. That indicates a great deal of overlap, and those members who belong to both will vote twice – once for each organization.

The new Minot Area Chamber EDC would be governed by a 14-member board. Currently, MADC has a 13-member board, and the chamber board varies from 15 to 18.

The Minot City Council and Ward County Commission each would select a representative to the MACEDC board from their boards. They would retain the right to those appointments going forward.

The existing MADC and chamber boards would select the other 12 members for the initial MACEDC board. Four members would have three-year terms, four would have two-year terms and four would have one-year terms, based on random drawings. Going forward, board members would be elected by the membership to three-year terms, with a third of the board coming up for election each year.

The new board would be selected before the end of the year, prior to the new organization filing its status with the Attorney General and Secretary of State offices. Board members would officially be seated Jan. 2.

One of the items of business for a new board would be staffing the merged organization. MacMartin explained there have been vacant positions not filled as the merger discussion ensued, including a position for an economic development director.

However, MacMartin noted one of the goals of the merger is to improve efficiency through sharing of staff and resources.

“That’s what we hope this merger achieves,” he said.

The mission would continue to focus on promoting business, leadership and growth for the Minot area while facilitating business attraction, expansion, retention and advocacy for diversification.

A new tiered dues structure would incorporate both chamber dues and an economic development investment, but the net result would be revenue neutral, MacMartin said.

“There’s no other major changes,” he said. “We want to make this as seamless for the public and as seamless for the businesses and investors as possible.”

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