The South Coast Development Council (SCDC) lost dues paying members when Coos County opted out a couple of years ago and more recently the Port of Coos Bay bailed on its $30K fees. According to the organizations 990 filing which you can find at ProPublica’s nifty new Nonprofit Explorer after paying Sandy Messerle’s $70,586 salary and benefits package and other expenses that do NOT appear to include rent for their presence at the Visitors Center, the organization operated in the red to the tune of $16,939.
The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce filing is not current but in 2011 the chamber reported $268,678 in revenue and paid executive salaries of $51,500, presumably this is the sum paid to Timm Slater, and other salaries totaling $62,694. According to a letter from Slater to chamber members, “The Chamber has a contract with the City of Coos Bay to manage and operate the Coos Bay Visitor Information Center providing tourist information services to the public”. According to The World the contract amount is $63,077 but the chamber’s policy of referring member businesses before non member businesses was a point of contention before the city signed off on the contract. Coos Bay Councilman Mark Daily didn’t want the “chamber operating the facility, contending it competes with non-member businesses such as his own”. Some as yet unconfirmed recollections indicate that the chamber ultimately agreed to refer member and non member businesses equally to satisfy the council objections. It is not clear how this reconciles with the chamber website which lists as one of the benefits of a paid membership, “When people call us looking for a particular product or service, we refer Chamber members first and foremost! Another FREE, members only service!”.
Considering the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is acting as an agent for the City of Coos Bay it may be that the city is liable for the damages alleged by Wim de Vriend for the negative comments made about the Blue Heron Bistro.