CUMBERLAND — Daryl Smith notes in the November issue of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce newsletter that “one day, in the not too distant future, these comments from the chair may be more real-time, due to advances in technology.”

“In the meantime, we do our best to be timely,” Smith wrote in the monthly Chairman’s Message section.

Smith might have wished this latest message — his last as chairman of the chamber — was a bit more timely. Last week, he submitted his resignation of both the executive committee and the chamber. He no longer serves as chairman.

“With this resignation, I will be able to devote more time to my family and business,” Smith wrote to executive committee members.

His one-year term as chairman was set to expire in December anyway, said outgoing chamber president Barb Buehl. There is only one official board meeting left that Smith would have presided over, she said. The annual meeting in December would have seen a new chairman take over Smith’s duties for 2009.

Buehl said the work to select a new chairman has not yet started.

“We have a meeting at the end of this week to put together a job description” of the volunteer position, Buehl said. “It’s moving ... just moving a little slow.”

The change in leadership continues a shakeup among top officials of the organization, which promotes economic development. For the past five years, the chamber has partnered with Allegany County government to head its tourism department. Buehl has dually served as president of the chamber and director of the department.

In September, however, Buehl submitted her resignation as chamber president, saying she wants to focus exclusively on tourism and spend more time at home. The role of tourism department director has grown too much over the past five years for one person to handle both responsibilities, Buehl said.

Buehl said her term as president is likely over as of Jan. 1. She will work out of the Western Maryland Railway Station until June 30, when the county’s tourism contract with the chamber expires. She intends to respond to the county’s request for proposals for a new tourism director this spring.

Buehl said Wednesday she didn’t believe the changes would have a negative impact on the chamber or its ability to carry out its mission.

“My feeling is that anyone that’s awarded the job, if they understand that tourism is a business, they will continue to work closely with the chamber,” Buehl said.

Smith has avoided commenting publicly about the situation since Buehl announced her resignation. In the November newsletter, however, he echoed Buehl’s sentiments about the chamber’s transition of tourism management as well as the continued cooperation between the two entities.

He said the transition is “a good thing for all parties involved. Our chamber is a significant stakeholder in all industries and economic engines. Tourism is no exception.”

Contact Kevin Spradlin at kspradlin@times-news.com.

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