In the wake of court proceedings, some are concerned with the image the recent controversy between the city and the chamber of commerce gives to Shawnee.
Tim Berg, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, said he has not seen any negative effects for business recruitments.
“No one has called and asked, ‘what’s going on?’” Berg said.
On Thursday, Aug. 23, Judge Cynthia Ferrell-Ashwood implemented an emergency injunction for the Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce. Her injunction required the current contract with the city to remain in place. This comes after the chamber filed a lawsuit against the city of Shawnee for breach of contract.
Chamber officials claimed that because the Shawnee city commission terminated an 18-year contract with the chamber to promote tourism for the city, that they breached the contract. The contract did not have a set term, or any sort of termination clause.
While Berg said bad publicity is bad for a city, this has not been addressed by any retailers looking to come to Shawnee.
Berg, who has a meeting with these same retailers Monday, does not expect this to be an issue. Most businesses wouldn’t have the time to find issues like this anyway, Berg said.
He added that this doesn’t mean a controversy like this couldn’t have an effect on business development.
“Fix it,” he said. “Now is the time to fix it.”
Shawnee resident Jerry Chastain disagrees with Berg’s assessment. He believes this is putting Shawnee in a bad light.
“It’s absolutely ruining the city,” he said.
Chastain also worries about how this looks to other local cities, and how Shawnee appears nationwide.
“We’re the laughing stock of the whole state,” he said.
Berg suggested residents not focus on this issue.
“What we try to do here is try to look at the positives in this community,” he said. “There’s more positives than negatives in Shawnee.”