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August 5, 2010


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3 Hill organizations consider a merger

Three prominent Chestnut Hill organizations are meeting Aug. 4 to consider an informal consolidation of their operations, according to a memo that was released to local businesses last week.

The Chestnut Hill Business Association, Parking Foundation and Business Improvement District could merge in the hope that the combined revenue streams would make for a more efficient operation. Other areas, such as Center City, Mt. Airy and Manayunk, have been successful with combined operations, according to the memo.

Discussion of the merger is very preliminary, Seth Shapiro, president of the Business Improvement District, wrote in an email, and details are likely to vary before any decision can be reached.

These sentiments were echoed by Greg Welsh, president of the Business Association, adding that exploration of the topic has only just begun and nothing is certain at this point.

Approval from the boards of directors of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, Parking Foundation and Business Improvement District would be required for all three organizations to be combined, although Shapiro said it is too early to speculate on voting at this time.

β€œThe motivation behind any cooperation agreement is simply to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the three organizations,” Shapiro wrote.

The organization plan suggested in the memo – Shapiro and Welsh both stressed that the plan is not set in stone – would have the presidents of each organization create an oversight committee, which would then oversee operations of all three organizations. The board of directors of each organization would still be required to submit and pass an operating budget, but the revenues from all three would be assigned to the common pot and would identify certain priorities to be funded from there as well.

In addition to the creation of an oversight committee would be the creation of a CEO position, to be filled by a search committee once the merger took place, according to the memo. Until the CEO is found, staff would report to the oversight committee, and once the CEO is found, the CEO will report directly to the oversight committee.

According to the memo, moving toward a model in which there is one staff leader will be politically beneficial in unifying the three organizations, which at times overlap in responsibilities. Also, the shift should prove to be organizationally more efficient.

 


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