Livingston resigns top spot

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PARIS – The Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce announced Friday that its president had abruptly resigned the day before for personal reasons.

But the chamber did not explain further why Rich Livingston left so quickly and with no forewarning.

“He just resigned for personal reasons,” said Lisa Dunham, the director of marketing and events for the chamber. She said that Livingston told chamber officials on Thursday he was leaving, and he left the same day.

Dunham said there was no letter of resignation to forward.

Livingston declined to comment on the matter when reached by phone at his Auburn home Friday. He said he is searching for other employment.

The chamber, which serves 11 towns, has just under 400 members and is overseen by a 14-member board.

Livingston was hired to run the organization in May 2005. Prior to heading the chamber, he ran his own marketing and communications consulting agency in Auburn for about eight years. He also was a city councilman in Auburn, serving four elected terms from 1997 to 2004.

Dunham said, “I think he did a great job while he was here,” but declined to give more details about Livingston’s tenure with the chamber.

“I can’t think of anything off the top of my head,” she said. “It’s been too busy in here to tell you the truth.”

In a statement, board Chairman Dana Chandler said, “We certainly will miss Rich, his strategic planning and updating of the bylaws and policies of the chamber, as well as the added growth in membership has certainly benefited the organization.”

When Chandler was reached by phone Friday, he said the chamber would have another announcement Monday about future plans, but said he couldn’t comment on whether the chamber had selected another person for the top position.

The Board of Directors met Friday morning to discuss the situation and the plan for finding a replacement.

State Rep. Terry Hayes, D-Buckfield, a board member, said she had learned of Livingston’s decision to leave on Friday morning at the board meeting.

She praised his ability to reach out to the media to publicize the chamber, as well as his knack for marketing. Livingston came up with the new chamber logo, “Head for the Hills…the hills of Western Maine.”

During his tenure, the chamber also moved to include three additional towns, Buckfield, Sumner and Hartford, Hayes said, which helped increase membership.

State Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, said he also heard about the resignation Friday.

“He certainly increased membership and that is the path of progress we need to continue on,” Millett said. “And I think he brought with him some strategic planning skills we desperately needed.”

Hayes said the board will be looking for a replacement. The chairmanship will also switch from Chandler to Shannon England next Friday, the day of the 30th annual meeting and dinner.

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