To the Editor:
My company has been a member of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce for years. Recently, I was dismayed to find that the Chamber awarded two of its own board members as "Entrepreneur of the Year" and "Leader of the Year" for the December 3 Business Leadership Awards Gala at the Tournament Players Club at Jasna Polana.
It has always been my assumption that the primary purpose of the Chamber of Commerce is to help promote the health and well being of the community and local businesses at large. In addition to this, the Chamber also has a responsibility or should have one to set high ethical and moral standards for the business community. In this day and age of scandals such as Enron, Tyco, and others, it would seem irresponsible especially for the Chamber of Commerce to condone self-dealing or unethical business behavior.
Since the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce's board of directors (which includes Peter Dawson and David Holmes, the "winners" of the above awards) presumably organized and approved the whole process, I find it hard to believe that no one saw the potential for a conflict of interest. Should the Chamber's own board of directors be allowed to award themselves such accolades under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and then pass it off as a "community event" and a newsworthy item? I thought the Chamber was supposed to fairly represent all of its members and the community at large not insiders on its own board of directors.
Furthermore, did the Chamber clearly let dues-paying members know that their fees could be used, essentially, to glorify and advertise the companies (Leigh Photo & Imaging and Eden Family of Services) owned by two of their directors? This clearly seems to me to be unethical, deceptive, and self-serving and perhaps worse.
Although competition does exist between my company, Taylor Photo, and Leigh Photo in some of our services, my argument is with the Chamber of Commerce, not with my competition. I admire and respect many of my competitors. Healthy competition, like fair elections, is something to be encouraged in our society. Unfortunately, the Chamber's recent actions are akin to "stuffing the ballot boxes." Mr. Dawson, Mr. Holmes, and the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce should be ashamed of themselves.