Chamber Drama: Part III

So, the West Covina Chamber of Commerce had a five-hour closed door board meeting yesterday. I stopped by at noon on Thursday to see if I could go inside in meeting or at least get an agenda, and had no luck with either.

The board members did not tell Exectuive Director Gary Lawson and Marketing Director Monica Cabrera what happened in the meeting. Instead, Lawson and Cabrera received a letter via fed-ex this morning. The letter informed them of their reinstatement, and also that they would both be suspended without pay pending further legal advice. (Read here if you are lost.)

Still no word as to the reason for their firing, reinstatement or suspension, though Lawson is convinced it has everything to do with a restraining order he, Cabrera and part-time employee William Medina filed against board member Luis Chacon.

Since Lawson and Cabrera are the only two full-time employees of the six-person staff, it kind of makes you wonder who is going to be picking up the slack. Also, part-time employee Medina said he is considering quitting over the whole ordeal.

Board members refuse to return calls. While the board is a private agency, it does receive some public funding. This year, it got $75,000 from the city of West Covina, Lawson said.

This is just me talking, but once a private agency receives public money — your money — it seems that those agencies should strive for some sort of transparency and accountability to the public — even if that means returning a phone call or distributing an agenda. I’m not the only one that sees it that way, either. 



  • Chamber Member

    I agree with the writer, once the Chamber took public money the public has a right to know or they should return the public money. Where’s the taxpayers money Miller?? They should also have to post a agenda whether in Closed Session or a Regular Board Meeting! The Public and all of it’s Members have a right to know! What are you hiding???

  • Lots of Questions

    Firstly, if the fired employees were reinstated but suspended without pay, seems to be clear to me, they are really still fired but until the board makes sure they didn’t fire them improperly they can be reinstated. It appears the board is trying desperately to protect themselves just in case, but by offering no pay it looks like they will be fired again when the nasties figure it all out. Perhaps a lawsuit will work it out?
    Secondly, wo, wo, wo, their using our taxpayer money for what? We work hard for our money and the city gives it to them for what? I can’t see any benefit to us taxpayers for the chamber to use our money. If my tax money goes to the city I want to benefit from it, not give it to a group of nasties to do whatever they want with. This sooo wrong!!!

  • Anonymous

    What gives with the WC Chamber? Why are they really trying to oust their employees? If they had a meeting then why are they keeping quiet. If they use public money then they should have to report to someone I would think. Anyhow doesn’t the board have an obligation to protect their employees from possible threats or a hostile work environment just like any other employer would? Or is the chamber just a bunch of good ol’ boys protecting one of their own members over their employees??????? Something doesn’t add up.

  • Dog Spot

    I’ve only met Gary Lawson once but he seems awfully impressed with himself. Further, I cannot imagine paying a sgv chamber of commerce executive $65,000 a year.

    Speaking of chambers receiving public funding and their activities, I think an enterprising reporter should inquire about the SGV Economic Partnership in Irwindale. What exactly do they do behind those gates with subsidies from many SGV cities?

  • Anonymous


    1. WC chamber along with all others is a 501 c-3 “non-profit organization for the public’s benefit” recognized as such by the IRS. They, by LAW, must make ALL records public upon request.

    2. The TRIBUNE knows this but is to lazy to do the freedom of information request. If we want the facts, they are best equipped to provide them.

    3. Regarding the SGV Economic partnership, don’t expect the TRIBUNE to dig into that clubhouse anytime soon. Remember that its run by former TRIBUNE publisher Ron Wood and therefore is above answering to ANYONE!