By KATHY DAY
EVERETT — Renee Radcliff, president of the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, resigned Thursday.
Radcliff, whose departure follows that of Vice President Jean Hales in August, is in the midst of a race to retain her seat in the state Legislature.
The three-term 21st District representative said several factors convinced her it was time to leave the chamber post, which she has held for a little over two years. She’ll remain until Dec. 1.
"When I started with the chamber, we all knew it was an experiment to see if we could make this position work as a part-time commitment," Radcliff said in a memo e-mailed to board members Thursday afternoon.
In an interview, she added that she and the board knew it would be difficult for her to split her legislative and chamber duties.
"In some regards, it’s worked, but there’s so much more that could be done if the chamber had a full-time leader," she said.
Chamber board chairman Arlan Hatloe, owner of Hatloe’s Carpet One, said the board is "sorry to see her leave."
He praised Radcliff for her business and community involvement on the chamber’s behalf. "She opened up communication and built partnerships not only in the chamber and with businesses, but with the city and the county."
He agreed with her assessment that "to get the chamber to the next level will require a full-time person."
When Radcliff took the chamber post, she said she made a two-year commitment, and that was up two months ago. In her note to the board, she said she had not sought another job, but in recent months "two such opportunities have been presented to me that I simply could not ignore."
She would not reveal which job she has accepted because the "fine-print details" are still being worked out.
A single mother, she said she also has to plan for the future and realized that the chamber would not be able to guarantee what she believes she needs to accomplish that.
Radcliff said the timing of her announcement was triggered in part by interviews to find a replacement for Hales. As the hiring committee interviewed candidates Wednesday, Radcliff said she realized that it would be best if the new vice president knew that there would also be a new president.
The field has been narrowed to two candidates, and Radcliff said an offer may be made to one today.F
Advertisements seeking candidates for the president’s position will run in newspapers this weekend, she added.
Hatloe said the new president will face an agenda prioritized during the board’s recent retreat.
Top issues include making the chamber a conduit for economic development, developing a high-tech network to assist local businesses and getting legislative action on key issues like state labor and industries regulations, taxation and privacy.