Sequim chamber breaks silence about firing executive director

SEQUIM — Leaders of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce said they fired their executive director for “poor performance of routine job duties,” inappropriate behavior toward women and other business groups and for complaining about his pay.

Lee Lawrence, who was fired on Jan. 18 after he refused to resign from the position he had held for six months, described the board’s allegations as “outrageous.”

Lawrence, a longtime civic activist and a former Sequim Citizen of the Year, said that “the truth will ultimately come out in the proper forum.”

Five “issues of significance” were listed in a “Public Statement related to the Dismissal of the Chamber Executive Director,” addressed by the Sequim chamber’s board of directors to chamber members in an e-mail sent late Friday afternoon.

One of the five accusations was that “regional business organizations have intentionally excluded Sequim from meetings on matters of regional concern because the executive director’s behavior and interactions are such that he is simply unwelcome.”

The text specifically mentioned the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors as being among other unnamed business groups that had excluded Lawrence because of his behavior.

Port Angeles chamber Executive Director Russ Veenema and chamber president Dave Neupert said that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t know where that particular comment came from,” Veenema said. “That hasn’t happened.”

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