EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 15, 2012

Chamber will not merge with another group

HAVERHILL — The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is in a period of transition, but its board says the group will remain independent and not merge with another local chamber.

John Chemaly, chairman of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce board and president of Trinity EMS, said the chamber's executive and finance committee held several meetings recently to discuss the possibility of merging with another entity, but when presented with various options, the board voted to remain independent. He said those discussions revolved around the possibility of merging with groups in other local communities, including Amesbury, Newburyport, as well as the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce in Lawrence.

"The chamber has a rich history in Haverhill and we want to maintain that," Chemaly said. "We did not want to lose our identity or dilute the importance of our Greater Haverhill members — which may have happened if we had merged with another entity."

The chamber recently announced it had formed a search committee to recruit and hire its next executive director. James Jajuga, who has lead the Haverhill chamber for nearly five years, resigned last month and will leave by June. The search committee includes representatives from the chamber's finance and executive committees, and a representative from the Greater Haverhill Foundation.

Chemaly said a formal job posting is expected to be ready by the end of this week. He said the job will be posted on Monster.com as well as with several other employment outlets. Chemaly said the posting will include a salary range. He would not discuss what that range will be.

"We want someone with community spirit, has local roots and who knows the area, knows the businesses in the area and the business environment in the Greater Merrimack Valley," Chemaly said about the type of person to replace Jajuga.

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