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Chamber drops to three-star accreditation

ALBANY, Ga. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has dropped the accreditation level for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce from a five-star rating to three stars.

Chamber President Chris Hardy said Wednesday that the change is a disappointment but not one that will impact members.

“Most of the recommendations received were referencing programs or initiatives that the U.S. Chamber feels we should work toward, specifically regarding government relations,” Hardy said. “None of the recommendations received referenced the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce as not performing our duties or not providing a high level of value to our members. Actually, the recommendations were to the contrary; they were items we can look at as an organization and determine if these additions to our annual program of work fit our chamber and business community.”

Based on a point system, the three-star level puts Albany on par with chambers in Bainbridge, Monroe and Jonesboro. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Georgia has 19 accredited chambers, eight three-star chambers, two four-star chambers and seven five-star chambers.

The nearest five-star chambers are in Columbus and Warner Robins.

Chambers undergo accreditation every five years. The last time the chamber went through the accreditation process was 2007 when it received a five-star rating. Since that time, the accreditation criteria and the accreditation application have changed and so has Albany and its chamber, Hardy said.

“In 2009, the U.S. Chamber raised the additional criteria in order to qualify for a five-star chamber,” Hardy said. “Some of those criteria either do not fit our organization or the community we serve. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has changed as an organization since our last accreditation in 2007. First and foremost, the chamber and the EDC (Economic Development Commission) are no longer one organization, which was a point reduction in the eyes of the U.S. Chamber. Also, as a member-based organization, a chamber of commerce is oftentimes the first to experience a down economy as local businesses make budget cuts. Therefore, that reduction in membership over the last three years left our member retention rate below the indicated standard that the U.S. Chamber feels all local chambers should strive toward.”

Chamber Board Chair Cynthia George said that, even with the dip in the ratings, the local chamber is still among the top in the country.

“Only 38 chambers in the country ... out of 1,400, are accredited with three stars,” George said. “That puts us near the top the pile.”

The U.S. Chamber allows for an appeal of chamber ratings if a chamber feels it has been unfairly rated. Hardy said that he doesn’t believe the chamber will appeal the rating handed down by the U.S. Chamber, but that he may approach the chamber board about re-applying in 2014.

Comments

ilovealbany 1 year, 9 months ago

Three stars isn't that bad....blah, blah, blah! We used to be five star! I don't think the Chamber is fully to blame though. Lack of growth due to crime and the poor reputation our school system currently has are probably the main culprits. Employers leave here every month and not to many think about planting roots. You can't blame the Chamber for that, you can only blame the average DoCo citizen!

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whattheheck 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow, this is devastating since the Chamber is really keeping our chestnuts out of the fire. May not be able to attract all the manufacturing concerns with the high paying jobs in the near future. We need to concentrate our efforts on the poverty industry, perhaps more CDHOs, which is growing by leaps and bounds or pawn-your-title-keep your-car and furniture rental businesses. Another possibility is public funded attractions like a big aquarium or a civil rights museum, draws monied folks like flies.

Doubt that the falling stars will have any impact on anything in this area.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 9 months ago

Harsh words, heck.....but unfortunately too true.

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rightasrain 1 year, 9 months ago

Cynthia George should be smart enough to understand that dropping from "5 Stars" to "3 Stars" is GOING BACKWARDS! Maybe it's time to get a new Chamber.

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MissionFocused 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe its time to get a new leader. The one they have does not seem to have the credentials to run this one. Losing members and now the edc folks are leaving = more lost dollars. Something is fishy here!

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GeeGee 1 year, 9 months ago

Attract high paying jobs in the future. We have not had a high paying industry come here since P&G in 1974. Do not ask me how many have left. The average pay scale in Albany is minimum wage, so they are lucky we are even at a 3.

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OUTsiderLookingINalbany 1 year, 9 months ago

Three reasons: Corrupt officials, HORRIBLE education system, and CRIME. What smart business man/woman would ever want to come to Albany to do business? Ride down Pine Ave. or Jefferson St. and you will have your answer as to why there is no respectable business here. A populace of uneducated, "All about me", lazy, worthless people. I've seen more quickymart/liquor stores that except EBT cards than I have ever seen in all of my travels. The only bussinesses here that prospers are the "Rent a Wheel" and the Title pawns. The black leaders need to except resonbility and promote education instead of a GANGSTA society.Teachings that will lead the community to better skills and trades. If it was up to me, all the bums would either learn how to grow there own food or starve. STOP BEING DEAD WEIGHT AND ACTUALLY BE PRODUCTIVE!!!!

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MissionFocused 1 year, 9 months ago

Speaking of lack of education.....

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MRKIA 1 year, 9 months ago

THIS HAVE ANYTHING WITH BOWIE RESIGNING?

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Amazed2 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe thats why EDC decided to move out of the Chamber. They did not want to be associated with losing 2 stars. In the Military that bust in rank would mean a big pay cut. So cut some salaries at the Chamber!!!!

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VietVet1 1 year, 9 months ago

    • FLASH * * let me have the Chamber building for $5 a year and I'll cut their rent in half!!!
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Spike 1 year, 9 months ago

Link to US Chamber

The data in the article isn't right. Check the link above. There's 6,936 Chambers in the US of which 214 are Accredited (3% of all Chambers). Not sure where Ms. George got her data but Mr. Hardy probably does. Perhaps they should use the most recent data.

(16) Accredited (42) 3 Star Accredited (74) 4 Star Accredited (76) 5 Star Accredited

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rightasrain 1 year, 9 months ago

You're obviously connected to "the Chamber". Why is it that when media reports accurate FACTS, you want to cry "foul"? Man up, accept responsibility and fire the chamber!

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