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August 21, 2020

Chamber “temporarily” eliminates president’s job

Joe Martin (right) served a decade as chief executive of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce.
Through his hard work, Joe has made a lasting impact on our community. We honor and thank him for all he has accomplished during his time with the Chamber.
— Chris Coutts, chamber chairman
The Fauquier Chamber of Commerce announced Friday morning that it has “temporarily” eliminated the job of long-term President Joe Martin.

Attributing the action to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business organization made the announcement in an email at 8:29 a.m.

The pandemic forced the chamber to cancel the Warrenton Spring Festival, its largest fundraiser, along with luncheons, ribbon cuttings and “After 5” events that provide much of its revenue.

The Friday morning announcement:

The Fauquier Chamber of Commerce is and always has been focused on growth, support and enhancement of the Fauquier business community. The arrival of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on local businesses.

The Board of Directors recognizes that proactive and decisive changes must be made to ensure the continued long-term financial health of the Chamber, so our membership and the Fauquier business community can continue to grow and thrive. To that end, the Fauquier Chamber Board of Directors has voted to temporarily eliminate the Executive position and assign duties to staff, board members, and volunteers.   
 
Joe Martin has led the Fauquier Chamber for the past 10 years with a sparkling wit, determination and constant attention to developing the business community. His devotion to the Fauquier Chamber membership is well known.

Joe said, “It has been my extreme pleasure to be a part of this chamber and this community for the past 10 years. I look back on all the positive changes we have made and the energy we have brought into the Fauquier Business community. Looking back, I am very proud of the way we have brought the businesses and community together.”
 
The Board of Directors sends him forth with respect, gratitude and best wishes in his future endeavors.

Chris Coutts, Fauquier Chamber Board Chair, adds, “Through his hard work, Joe has made a lasting impact on our community. We honor and thank him for all he has accomplished during his time with the Chamber.”
 
The Chamber leadership is focused on meeting the needs of its members safely and effectively. A series of exciting events are planned in the coming months created to offer fun and socially distant networking opportunities as well as occasions designed to educate, participate fully in our community, and provide value to our members. Sylvia McDevitt, our always cheerful and busy membership coordinator, continues to meet in person regularly with Fauquier businesses to listen, encourage, and share all the ways they can benefit from the business-enhancing activities and resources the Chamber offers.
 
Chris Coutts states, “Moving forward, we remain intensely focused on supporting and assisting businesses in our region, and look forward to creating and building new partnerships.”


The chamber in 2018 had an operating budget of $243,000, according to its tax return — the most recent one available. Mr. Martin that year had a salary of $80,000, according to the document.

The business organization last year moved from rented offices to free space in the PATH Foundation headquarters at 321 Walker Drive in Warrenton.

Member comments
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RosaMatilda · September 25, 2020 at 9:38 am
I have seen the reviews site for his campaigns and it is apparent why he was forced to forfeit his run for the seat. There are so many people who were not satisfied with their previous work.
reneaelrod · September 9, 2020 at 2:37 am
The pandemic forced the chamber to cancel the Warrenton Spring Festival, its largest fundraiser, along with luncheons (https://steamdb.site), ribbon cuttings and “After 5” events that provide much of its revenue.
What its worth · August 25, 2020 at 11:18 am
This is what happends when you have a Board with too much power. Sad day for Fauquier Chamber and their members. Joe deserved better!
Truepat · August 21, 2020 at 11:50 am
Loosing a proven leader by your own word is a dangerous move in an era where recovery will need, as you state: Joe's sparkling wit, determination and constant attention to developing the business community. We shall see........
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