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July 6, 2010 > Letter to the editor: What an appalling way to treat people!

Letter to the editor: What an appalling way to treat people!

Right now there are several Milpitas Chamber of Commerce Board members and Chamber members who are shocked by the past week's events. As a former Chamber Director, personally, I am aghast by the actions of Jeanne Serpa (Allied Waste), Robert Paedon (HSBC Bank USA) and Tom Valore (LPL Financial Services), viz. the lynch-mob style dismissal of Executive Director Gaye Morando who does not deserve the treatment they meted out to her.

Gaye Morando has spent 26 years with the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce. During the entire time, she has been the organization's life blood and backbone. She represents the very history of this Chamber. Moreover, she has dedicated her heart, soul and personal resources to everything the Chamber represents to this community and for which it stands.

I must expose the underhandedness of Board members and intentional violations of the Chamber's By-Laws. These people are supposed to be the epitome of integrity and an example of propriety and rectitude to the entire community but their behavior is abhorrent.

Ms. Serpa called an illegal meeting of the entire Board, without 48 hours' notice other than an email to Board members to attend a meeting on June 10 at the offices of Ben Sowards. There was no agenda nor were minutes taken nor was the meeting recorded in any other way. This contravenes protocol. Although there was a quorum, their voting was illegal and they agreed to remove Gaye Morando as Executive Director. Ms Serpa has been obsessed with this action for months.

There were dissenting voices at the meeting and some heated exchanges but the decision was taken and acted upon. A few days later, Morando was removed while the door locks were changed simultaneously.

To compound matters, Ms Serpa was unhappy with the Nomination Committee's results for potential future board candidates, so formed a second Nomination Committee to secure the "results" she desired. This blatant disregard for protocol and the Chamber's By-Laws is unacceptable. One Board candidate, who has worked with the Chamber without holding membership for years, joined the Chamber only days before their nomination. Surely, Board candidates should be standing members of the organization for a certain time period before their nomination.

Finally, according to the Chamber's By-Laws, voting must be conducted by mailed paper votes. Ms. Serpa issued an email vote to Chamber members; thus, many votes were cast multiple times. Once again, the By-Laws were broken.

This is what happens when someone callow is elected as Board President. This woman, who is not a business owner but simply an employee of Allied Waste Management, had great difficulty in managing the Board of Director meetings while I was present and alienated several Board members with her na•ve approaches and dictatorial decision-making. With only two weeks of her tenure as President remaining, she cut a swath of destruction by firing the Chamber's long-standing Executive Director.

I sincerely hope the Chamber will recover from this. Next she will probably attempt to cover her indiscretion with a published "thank you" to Gaye Morando. However, those in the community and in other chambers are aware of this rail-road action and at least one chamber in the Valley is vowing to cut their ties with our Chamber.

Ms. Serpa' dishonorable behavior has stained the Milpitas Chamber's reputation and is an insult to the most honorable woman the City of Milpitas has seen in years. What an appalling way to treat people! Serpa should be barred from conducting business in Milpitas. She is a disgrace!

Irene Whiteside
Former Director
Milpitas Chamber of Commerce

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