NEWARK -- Elizabeth Welsh
retirement Monday as president of the Newark and Licking County Chamber of Commerce
, ending 18 years in the position.
The announcement ended weeks of uncertainty about Welsh's future with the Chamber
, sparked by her
March 18 letter of resignation and the Chamber board's delay in accepting it. She will, however, remain involved as a paid economic development advisor to the Chamber, which now begins a four-month search for a replacement.
...Welsh offered her resignation as Chamber president two months ago, following an 8-7 board vote against terminating her tenure as president.
Two board members were not present for the vote.
board did not immediately accept the resignation, and attorneys representing Welsh
and the Chamber have been working on an agreement ever since.
"There's no secret this was a stressful year and caused me to rethink my priorities," Welsh
"She will not physically have an office at the Chamber
, but do advisory work through me," Hottinger said of Welsh
"On the one hand, it is sad because (Welsh) did a lot of things for Licking County, but I like the idea we can still rely on her
economic development expertise."
had a change of heart about cutting off all connection with the organization to which she
has devoted much of her
Community leaders and board members asked Welsh
"They said, 'Do you really want to step out of it?If there's something you can do, do you want to do that?' After you've been in a position so long, it's sometimes hard to disengage, and this is a good way to do it," Welsh
oversight of the Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau
has been another controversial issue this year, with the County Commissioners terminating its contract with the Chamber
for the bureau's operation.
The commissioners questioned Chamber
spending on bureau operations and sought more oversight of the bed-tax money collected from guests staying at area motels and hotels.
When asked if the bureau controversy played any role in her
responded, "I'd be less than honest if I said it didn't, but that wasn't really the biggest thing.
"If anything, the bureau issue helped crystallize some ideas I had for awhile," she