LEWISTON — The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is looking for its next president.

In an email to chamber members Tuesday, board Chairwoman Stephanie Gelinas announced the board has started its search for a new leader. 

The search comes about three weeks after the board accepted the resignation of Matt Leonard, who’d abruptly quit in the wake of fallout over a public raffle for a custom-built, semi-automatic rifle.

While some members liked the raffle and bought tickets, many were upset that the chamber would give away a semi-automatic weapon — and announce that giveaway during a particularly divisive Election Day that included a controversial gun referendum.

Some chamber members pulled their memberships over the situation.

In announcing his resignation last month, Leonard called the timing of the raffle announcement “egregious,” “reprehensible” and “a colossal error in judgment.”

He said the board of directors knew of the potential raffle but had not yet fully vetted the idea when the email was sent out announcing the raffle. He also said the email, which featured a photo of the semi-automatic rifle directly beneath the chamber logo, wasn’t “ready for prime time” and he had not reviewed it before it was sent out.

Leonard took responsibility for the situation.

“I recognize my failure to execute appropriate oversight and leadership,” he said at the time.

The raffle for the AR-15 was quickly cancelled.

Gelinas said Wednesday that the board has engaged Strategic Talent Management, a Brunswick firm, to help with the CEO search. She said board members hope to be able to announce the name of the new CEO at their annual meeting at the end of January, but they recognize the search could take longer than that.

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