The head of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce said he disagrees with Normal Town Council member Stan Nord's view that "business and government should not be doing things together."
Nord made his remark last week in objecting to town membership in the Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber head Charlie Moore said partnerships between municipalities and community groups are crucial to preserving and building the local economy.
"Having a strong working relationship is really important. And I certainly commend Normal and Bloomington for having those types of relationships not only with the chamber but with multiple organizations throughout the communities," said Moore.
He said the town's membership in the chamber is symbolic of the partnership, but town staff also get concrete benefits.
"Access to a number of things: programs that we do, groups that we hold whether it be advocacy efforts and legislative relations between our members and policy issues (discussion) that are happening within our local communities and with business, all different types of things," said Moore.
Moore said every city in which he has worked has maintained chamber of commerce memberships and had ties to a variety of groups with the goal of strengthening the community.
The senior member of the Normal Town Council also said it is smart to invest in your own business community.
Town of Normal Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McCarthy said the town has traditionally invested in activities that support the community, including the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. McCarthy said during WGLT's Sound Ideas it's not much money and sometimes symbols are important.
"When council members show up to chamber events because we're members, it's also showing the business community that the Normal Town Council cares about the business community," said McCarthy.
McCarthy said there is a practical reason for chamber membership as well.
"Nobody within the Town of Normal actually does what the chamber does. So, we get to leverage that and being a goodstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce we also get to participate with other businesses and market ourselves within our own community," said McCarthy.
McCarthy noted the town is one of the larger area employers and Chamber membership helps develop its own workforce.
Nord had raised the prospect of chamber membership posing a conflict of interest since the Chamber asks the town for money for workforce development, for example.
The Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee endorsed Nord during the last election. Moore said the PAC is a separate entity and he had no role in that decision.
Moore said the Chamber has reached out to have further dialogue with Nord.
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