May 23, 2019
Southern Torch (3801 articles)


By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • marla@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — At the May 6 meeting of the Rainsville City Council, Councilmember Bejan Taheri made a motion to withhold $1,200 from the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce. Due to the suspension of funds, six members of the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, including Chamber President Mandi Cooper, resigned. 

The withholding of funds, according to Taheri, was due to, “the way the Chamber Board…wanted to do was unacceptable or feasible [for] the way we wanted it to be done”, regarding the hiring of a new assistant director for the Chamber of Commerce. 

“[When] the Chamber Board [makes] a decision to hire [an] assistant director, the money will be put back in their account,” Taheri stated to Southern Torch. The suspension of funds was successfully passed with a 4-2 vote with Councilmembers Brandon Freeman and Marshall Stiefel voting against. 

In her resignation letter, Cooper stated: 

“From the beginning, my goal was to change the way things were being handled and get all aspects of the Chamber of Commerce in line with our by-laws. Since our meeting on Tuesday, I have continued to study those by-laws. The section that Scott [Wynn] mentioned (Article VI) concerning the term limit is correct. It states a board member may only serve for three years, after the 3rd year they must come off the board for at least one year.  I am in my 5th year. There may be others who are also over their term limit but that is up to the board on how to handle that situation.” 

Board Member Scott Wynn also released a statement on his resignation:

“The Board of Directors for the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce is made up of volunteers who sacrifice their time and money in an attempt to help better the local economy and the community we all love and call home.

Recently, our integrity and professionalism was not only questioned, but ridiculed by members of the city council who pitched a tantrum because they weren’t happy that the Board followed the by-laws set in place to hire a part time Assistant Director.  Furthermore, the hiring committee brought in a candidate whom was the most qualified for the position. 

Our choice was not who certain Council members had in mind, so they demanded the entire process be conducted again with all applicants re-interviewed in their presence.   Until those demands are met, the City has voted to withhold partial funding for the Chamber of Commerce, which is contracted to promote Rainsville’s own local businesses.

TO REPEAT THAT: The Rainsville City Council has voted to withhold partial funding that promotes Rainsville’s local business, and provided $18,000 in scholarships to local students this year.  

As much as we love our community, we refuse to have our integrity and professionalism publicly called into question because a councilman didn’t get his way and has hurt feelings.  

It is under these unfortunate circumstances that I, W. Scott Wynn, member of the Board of Directors of the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce, resign effective immediately.” 

At this week’s meeting of the Rainsville City Council, Councilmember Stiefel stated that these “valuable, young business leaders” would be greatly missed by the community, to which Taheri replied, “you’re the only one.” 

At this time, the situation remains unresolved. The position of Assistant Director of the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce remains vacant, as well as the spots vacated by the Board members who resigned.

Southern Torch will continue to investigate this ongoing matter. 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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