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Chambers wait on state to OK merger

September 22, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The merger of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is almost complete.

Mark Kilmer, the Fulton County chamber's interim president, said the chambers are waiting for the state to approve the merger.

"The merger is moving along very well," he said Friday. "I spoke with our attorneys last week and they updated me that it is now in the hands of the attorney general. They are currently reviewing it and in discussions with our attorneys just on terminology and things."

Members of both his chamber and the Montgomery County chamber voted April 26 to merge into one organization. The combined chambers will be known as the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Kilmer said the chamber is hoping the state Attorney General's office will give its stamp of approval around Oct. 1. After that, the proposal will make its way to a local state Supreme Court justice for final approval.

"It is not in the pile anymore, it is now in the forefront so they are actually working on it," Kilmer said.

Kilmer noted the chambers' merger will not be official until it has been approved by the state. The chambers have already filed it through the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, he said.

He said once the merger is complete, the Fulton?County chamber's Gloversville location will become the main office.

The new chamber will maintain the Montgomery County chamber's office in Amsterdam through April to fulfill the obligation of the lease at that location, Kilmer said. The merged chambers will look to find a satellite office in the western portion of Montgomery County, near Fort Plain and Canajoharie, he said.

Kilmer said all the board members from both chambers will serve on the board of the merged organization for two years. The groups also are establishing a search committee to find a permanent president.

Montgomery County Chamber President Peter Capobianco stepped down as president effective Sept. 14, he said.

"He took that obligation on about 18 months ago and it was only intended to go a short amount of time, but things happened with the merger and discussions so they asked him to stay on a little longer than expected," Kilmer said. "He has more than fulfilled what has been asked of him and he did an incredible job while he was there."

Kilmer said the Gloversville office is now handling the operations for the Montgomery County staff.

Changes planned

Kilmer said there will be several changes once the merger is completed, including the need to market a larger area.

The tourism marketing will remain separate for each county for the time being, Kilmer said.

Fulton County pays their county's chamber to promote tourism.

As a business advocate for the region, Kilmer said, the combined chambers will become a stronger force with about 1,100 to 1,200 members. The merger also will improve efficiency in operations and offer ways to save money, he said.

Kilmer said there will be two separate websites for both chambers until around January, when the new chamber will launch a new website. Both chambers' events already have started to be shown online together on each other's websites.

"We have integrated all the memberships and things from a technology standpoint through our informational software system?- Chamber Master - that incorporates the finances, member information systems and communications systems," Kilmer said. "We had it here at Fulton County and they didn't have it in Montgomery County, so we just recently integrated that completely so that we are now all under one umbrella, technologically speaking."



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