Update on Company of the Year

Information flies quickly in cyberspace these days.  A week or so ago, I released a bit of knowledge I had come across about the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce awarding the Cecil Whig’s parent company, Chesapeake Publishing, with an inexplicable Company of the Year award among Cecil businesses, despite layoffs that possibly number over 100, the shutting down of a long-standing printing plant, numerous full time positions being exported out of Cecil County to Easton and even the demise of the Cecil Business Ledger, Chesapeake’s lone Cecil business publication covering the dealings of the business community and the Chamber itself.

Well, apparently, I wasn’t alone in my concern for this matter.  Sources have indicated to me that yesterday, the Board of Directors for the Chamber held a special emergency meeting, the topic of which being the before-mentioned award and who the recipient will be at their June 18 awards ceremony.  The meeting, and rumored reconsideration, was called after the Chamber reportedly received a sizable amount of pressure from the local community over the issue.

And little old me, I was simply pointing out the apparent inconsistency of giving an award to a company who’s public actions appear counter to the Chamber’s stated mission as “advocate for a strong, viable economic environment in Cecil County.”  I guess my off-hand crack about being a freelance pain in the ass might be more accurate than I realized.

That being said, for the best interest of Cecil County and its business community, I applaud the effort to reconsider, if that’s indeed what is going on here.  Times are very tough economically in this area, as I’m sure we all know.  Our local Chamber of Commerce should be recognizing companies that are committed to Cecil County, not with one foot out the door.  As I mentioned in a post a couple days ago, this isn’t to say Chesapeake or the Whig have or haven’t done anything in this case to be criticized for.  Business decisions, especially difficult ones that eliminate jobs, are what they are.  But in this case, what’s best for the County and what’s best for Chesapeake are clearly divergent.  Accolades from the County’s Chamber should go to those who work for economic growth within our community, creating jobs, not eliminating them, no matter how necessary those layoffs are for the company in question.  If they want to create an award for Promotional Assistance, or for Community Awareness and give that to the Whig, then I have no problem with that.  But Company of the Year, if it’s to have any meaning, should be held to a higher standard.

As more information about the emergency meeting emerges, I’ll keep you posted.  And, as I stated before, if anyone from the Chamber would like to expound on this, you have an open forum here.  Apparently, there are quite a few people out here in the community who are interested in this.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent reporting, Dan! Congrats on your exclusive, news “coup” and the impact it appears to be having on the Chamber.
    We doubt that it is just a coincidence that the Whig just reported about its “honors” from the Md-DC-Del- Press Assn. which were almost entirely for its business and advertising operations. Heaven forbid they should get editorial awards, apart from an admittedly nice little feature article on a wounded veteran.
    We are still waiting for the Whig to admit that they are really Australian-owned (and have no commitment to Cecil County, Maryland or even the USA!)

    • Thank you. Yes, I saw those press association awards in the paper and it’s probably not a coincidence. I never put much stock in that stuff anyway, especially the MDDC awards. Basically, like a lot of other similar organizations, it’s a collection of member publishers patting each other on the back for how great they are. I worked for a lot of years for pubs that could have nominated things for those awards and I purposely never did. It wasn’t that I didn’t think we had material deserving, it’s just that I would rather have the appreciation and approval of the audience than a self-aggrandizing award from my supposed peers.

    • By the way, I read your blog and Mike Dixon’s Someone Noticed all the time. You guys have the best coverage of local politics and government out there. Thank you for that.

  2. As a former prepress employee and manager at the Whig for 14 years, it breaks my heart to hear of the continuing demise of the place. I resigned and moved out of state just before things tipped in the wrong direction. The shifting of resources from Elkton to Easton has always seemed so backwards to me, but what do I know? The Whig has a long and mostly proud history, and I was the third generation of my family to be employed there. I pretty much grew up there. Farewell old friend.

    -Shawn Powell (Employed 1994-2008)

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