GLOVERSVILLE – The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it promoted tourism director Anne Boles to the new position of executive director, replacing former chamber leader Mark Kilmer, who was its president.
“Following notice from Fulton and Montgomery Counties that I Love NY tourism management contracts will not be renewed, The Fulton Montgomery County Regional Chamber of Commerce has realigned its leadership,” reads the news release from the chamber’s acting Board Chair Rosalie Faber.
The regional chamber lost the “Tourism Promotion Agency” contracts for the New York state “I Love NY” tourism promotion grant from Fulton County on Oct. 11 and from Montgomery County on Oct. 25. The contract from Fulton County was worth $178,000 while the Montgomery County contract was about $95,000. Kilmer previously stated that a portion of both contracts was used to fund about 20%-25% of the regional chamber’s approximately $500,000 operating budget.
The Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ decision to end its contract with the chamber coincided with the creation of a $253,837 tourism Visitors Bureau Division within the county’s planning department, which would include a tourism coordinator position with an annual salary of $62,000. Several supervisors, including Board Chairman Greg Fagan, supervisor for the town of Perth, had indicated publicly that Boles would be a strong candidate for the new position.
Faber, a manager at a business called the Flooring Authority in Amsterdam, said she became the chamber’s acting board chair for the remainder of the year when the 2022 chamber Board Chair Trevor Evans, former Leader-Herald publisher, recently moved out of the area. She explained the regional chamber’s decision to promote Boles.
“After tourism was pulled from us by Fulton County, the board met to discuss how [we] would restructure,” Faber said. “Looking internally, we had two very good candidates who are very well respected in the community, who have done a very good job with the chamber, and within numerous conversations, we decided to promote from within and restructure to move forward in a new path.”
While Faber said the loss of the “I Love NY” grant funding required the chamber to eliminate both a part-time position and the tourism director job, Boles’ promotion and Kilmer’s departure effectively covers the loss of that position. The chamber is also promoting longtime Director of Workforce Development Nicole Walrath to the position of executive vice president.
Faber said executive director of the chamber is a full-time job, so Boles will not be able to be Fulton County’s tourism coordinator.
It is unclear exactly when the decision was made to promote Boles to executive director. While the news release was dated Nov. 2, it appeared to have been written earlier than that, stating, “After ten years in the job, President Mark Kilmer will officially leave, effective Oct. 19. Still, he will continue for several weeks in an advisory capacity as part of the transition plan.”
“It has brought great pleasure to my life, working at the Chamber with wonderful colleagues while building relationships with many of the region’s business and government leaders,” reads a statement from Kilmer in the release.
Boles attended the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development Committee meeting Wednesday where Wheelerville Trails Mountain Bike program manager Jeremy Manning, a former Caroga Town Board member, gave a presentation.
Caroga Town Supervisor Scott Horton, who serves as the board’s vice chairman and was a vocal proponent of ending the county’s tourism contract with the chamber, said after Wednesday’s meeting that the Wheelerville Trails Mountain Bike program offers an exciting opportunity to promote tourism in Caroga and Fulton County, but was then shocked to hear Boles had been hired as the chamber’s executive director.
Horton said he expects Fulton County will continue on the path of creating the Visitors Bureau Division.
“The plan is going to stay the same, but Anne won’t be a candidate now. Greg had said she was a candidate, so we’ll have to find somebody else,” he said. “We never said we were going to sever ties completely with the chamber. We just said we would direct it in-house, and for certain projects we would work on them together. So, if Anne’s there, I think that will help us.”
Fagan did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story.
Boles would not say whether the decision to appoint her as executive director was made on Wednesday or before her attendance at the supervisor’s Economic Development Committee meeting.
“These have all been recent events, that’s all I can say,” she said. “I’m very grateful for the conversations that happened with the county supervisors. It’s a big opportunity for Fulton County and their investment in tourism, and I’m honored to [have been] a part of those conversations, but this opportunity has presented itself to me, and it’s just the right decision for myself and my family to continue with the chamber and take on the role as executive director.”
Neither Faber nor Boles on Wednesday would disclose the salary of the chamber’s new executive director position. As a nonprofit, the chamber is required to file an annual 990 federal tax form that is available to the public and Faber indicated the salary will be disclosed on that form.
Faber said the appointment of Boles sends a strong message to the chamber’s nearly 600 members that the regional chamber remains a strong organization focused on the future, and will be able to work with any county governments, businesses and nonprofits.
“She has a lot of great ideas about moving the chamber forward, not only with tourism, but with other benefits that we offer all of our members,” Faber said. “We have a very strong chamber, and a very strong staff. I, personally, think we’re in a very strong position to move forward. There will be some transitions. We don’t have the ‘I Love NY funding,’ but, on the other hand, we don’t have to work within the confines of the ‘I Love NY’ funding, and its strict regulations. We’ll be open to be able to work with a lot of different types of businesses in both Fulton and Montgomery counties. A great one is the craft beverage trail that goes across both counties.”
Boles said her background extends beyond tourism, having worked for 14 years at the Community Health Center, ending her tenure there as director of marketing.
“One of my main goals will be to reinstate the value of your chamber membership, and show our community how the chamber can help you,” she said.