Chamber, GEDC in talks to realign organizational structure

Sankey could be tasked with overseeing both entities


The Gonzales Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture, the City of Gonzales and the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation have been in talks that could result in a “new, unique role” for GEDC executive director Susan Sankey.

Chamber vice president Lawren Kridler said the Chamber board has “had extensive discussions and held numerous meetings” with City Manager Tim Crow, Sankey, business members and others to “explore possible changes in the organizational structure of the Chamber.”

“Since last year, our board has seen dire need to bring stability to and strengthen our Chamber in order to accomplish its mission and purpose to serve its members and the community of Gonzales,” Kridler said. “We believe aligning the Chamber, Tourism and GEDC in working towards the common goals they share will maximize resources, unify vision, enhance collaboration, increase efficiency, deliver stability, strengthen advocacy, and improve service to our members, businesses and the community.”

The realigned organizational structure would see Sankey not only overseeing the GEDC and its employees but also overseeing the Chamber and its employees, including tourism development when a new coordinator is hired. However, the governing boards of both the Chamber and EDC would remain in place and continue to operate as they have been, Kridler said.

Other cities, including New Braunfels, Brady and Terrell, have employed a similar organizational management and “experienced great success,” Kridler said.

Kridler said the Chamber board unanimously approved the restructuring plan at its April meeting, while the GEDC board has also voiced support for establishing the new personnel framework.

Kridler said Crow discussed the Chamber’s and EDC’s approvals for this formation in a closed session at the May Gonzales City Council meeting (due to it being regarding personnel).

She said she has been reaching out to longstanding businesses within the community asking them to send letters of support demonstrating the “exponential value” of the initiative to Mayor Steve Sucher, addressed to Sucher and Councilmembers Poochy Kridler, Mariah Jordan, Ronda Miller and Lorenzo Hernandez so they can have them at the June 13 council meeting.

The council is not expected to necessarily make a decision on the matter at their June 13 meeting, but could discuss the issue under action item 2.3 (discussion regarding the following job descriptions: Economic Development Director) or under executive session item 6.1(2), discussion regarding the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce Publicity and Tourism Agreement.