Dayton City Council votes to end Chamber’s management of community center

Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck calls for a vote after a motion from Councilman Alvin Burress and a second from Councilman Wendell Null to terminate the city's management contract with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce to manage the Dayton Community Center. Councilman Dr. John Johnson voted in favor of the motion, as did all members of council.

By Vanesa Brashier,

The Dayton City Council, in a special-called meeting on May 30, unanimously voted to terminate a $35,000 per year management agreement with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce to handle the day-to-day operations of the Dayton Community Center, 801 S. Cleveland St.

The contract termination gives the Chamber a 30-day notice that the City will resume control of the community center. The Chamber office will remain inside the community center; however, Chamber staff will no longer be required to handle bookings, plan marketing strategies or manage city employees who work at the community center.

“The next step is to work on how we are going to fill the void,” said City Manager Theo Melancon following the May 30 meeting. “The Chamber will be managing it probably through July 1. That gives me a little bit of time to figure out what the next step will be. We will have to make some decisions about whether we will take people from our existing staff or if we are going to add a new position into the budget.”

Melancon said he has no complaints against the Chamber, Director Paula Moorhaj or other staff. The decision simply was based on the need for a cleaner chain of command.

“The Chamber did a good job, but at the end of the day, it was one of those situations where logistically things were difficult because there was more than one stream of information to employees,” he said. “Council thought we needed a more direct, streamlined approach.”

Melancon said the City’s relationship with the Chamber is solid and wonderful, and that will continue despite the change.

Councilman Alvin Burress echoed that sentiment.

“The Chamber won’t have to be burdened with the responsibility of running the community center. I honestly feel that it’s the city’s building and it’s our responsibility to manage it, so we have to be accountable. We can’t expect a third party to run the building,” Burress said.

Burress is confident that the residents of Dayton will back Council’s decision.

“People in Dayton, from what I have seen on social media and heard in the community, wanted control of the community center returned to the city,” Burress said, “so that’s what we did.”

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