The top leaders of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce are no longer working for the organizations after they were asked to step down Tuesday.
Mark Vaux, executive director of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, and Sonya Moller, Chamber of Commerce director, were asked to resign by the joint executive board that oversees the nonprofit organizations following a meeting on Tuesday.
David Lambert, director of regional development for the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, will take over as the acting CEO for the organization, he told the Mitchell Republic on Tuesday afternoon.
"The joint executive board made a decision earlier today to ask Mark and Sonya Moller for their resignations effective immediately. (The boards) indicated they want to go a different direction," Lambert said.
When asked the justification for the forced resignations, Lambert said the board "did not allude to a specific reason for it at this time."
"Our hope is that we can reorganize, come up with a transition plan and then get their buy in to move forward," he said.
Lambert will be leading the organization until the board establishes its next move. Neither Vaux nor Moller was listed on the Chamber's website Tuesday when this story was published.
Moller has served in the role with the Chamber since 2010, while Vaux just wrapped up his second year as the executive director.
Among the notable projects Vaux spearheaded in his two-year stint with the MADC and Chamber of Commerce include beginning the process of developing roughly 21 acres of land next into a housing development near the Firesteel Heights neighborhood, which is currently stalled, and purchasing several aging buildings on Main Street to have them bulldozed.
Although the housing development was approved, it came up against strong opposition from the nearby residents.
On Mitchell’s Main Street, Vaux helped facilitate the process of bulldozing the former 301 N. Main St. building that was a two-year long nuisance headache for the city, which prompted a nearby street closure. Previously, Vaux said the MADC was in the process of redeveloping the lot on the corner of Third Avenue and Main Street, where the former corroding building was located.
Just a few blocks north on Main Street across the street from the Corn Palace, Vaux oversaw the sale of the former Casey's General Store lot at 601 N. Main St., which sold at a price of $900.80.
The purchase price has come under fire from some local critics who say the land at 100 by 75 feet — which was valued much higher at $25,750 — should have been sold for more money by the MADC. The city of Mitchell originally bought the lot for $1 from Casey's in late 2018, and transferred the lot to the MADC to allow them to redevelop the lot.
The Chamber of Commerce has a close working relationship with the city of Mitchell, as it’s the nonprofit organization that markets the city to attract business and future growth. Vaux’s position oversees the entire Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, which includes the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Heartland Regional Economic Development.