Measures were taken to avoid any conflicts of interest, when a Nanaimo businessman was appointed acting CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, said Odai Sirri, chamber board chairman.
Kim Smythe, owner of Westcoast Communications, was appointed interim CEO in August.
His company remains active while the chamber conducts a search for a permanent CEO.
Westcoast has offered strategic communications, event management, marketing, advertising, public relations and project management services since 1998.
It's still active, but board members are confident he meets the chamber's code of ethics concerning conflict of interest. Smythe, who has applied for the permanent chamber position, hasn't decided whether he'd keep or deactivate the company, should he get the job.
For now, he said his chamber duties take up such a big chunk of his attention he has little time to serve clients.
"It's very light duty right now," Smythe said. "I'm not aware of any conflict or potential conflict."
Invitations to a function for Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell went out from Smythe's company email address, but Smythe said it was done as an act of friendship, not business.
Asked whether a private email address might have shown better and avoided any perception of a conflict, Smythe said: "I guess anybody concerned could pick up the phone and call me and say: 'Is this cool?'" John Langford, University of Victoria public administration professor said conflict of interest isn't just a worry for public officials.
Conflicts can happen in private life too, and in Smythe's case, "it's incumbent on him in any normal world to declare or disclose any conflict," said Langford.
The chamber's code of ethics requires that duties be carried out "with impartiality and equality of service to all members."
"The Chamber is aware of the private, public, and governmental organizations and associations that he has worked for," Sirri said by email, and the board of directors "trusts Mr Smythe's code of conduct and ethics and advisory skills."
During Smythe's 90-day term, the board will do an extensive search for a permanent CEO, and Smythe's appointment allows for "professional consistency in the operations," Sirri said. "Smythe's work is for the Chamber of Commerce only."
When appointed, Smythe quit as a board director, a position he was elected to in June.
"The selection committee is in the final stages of its interview process and we are on track to have a full time CEO hired prior to the end of Mr. Smythe's contract, in order to allow for a smooth transition." Sirri said.
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