Salem Area Chamber of
New CEO Tom Hoffert
"After a comprehensive search process, we are pleased to
have Tom Hoffert lead the Chamber
into its next season of growth, innovation and member service."
The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the leading voice of business
in the Mid-Willamette Valley, has named Tom Hoffert, as the
organization's Chief Executive Officer effective January 2, 2019.
"Tom will continue the mission of the Salem Area Chamber of
Commerce as an advocate for a healthy business climate," said
T.J. Sullivan, Chamber Board President and President of Huggins
Insurance. "Tom's vision, integrity and exceptional background
makes him uniquely positioned to lead the Salem Chamber membership
and the regional business community in support of a
strong and vibrant local economy."
Hoffert, born and raised in Salem, graduated from Sprague High
School and Western Oregon University. He previously worked at
the Chamber as the Director of Public Affairs from 1998 to 2004.
He went on to lead culinary innovation at Don Pancho Authentic
Mexican Foods for nearly 15 years.
"The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce has an outstanding
reputation serving and representing the area's robust business
community in our region and beyond," said Tom Hoffert, incoming
Salem Area Chamber of Commerce CEO. "I am very excited
to work with Chamber members, leadership, key stakeholders and
regional partners to build on the Chamber's reputation as the preeminent
membership organization for business. This is an exciting
time, and the Chamber is well positioned to develop new and exciting
opportunities for businesses.
The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce is a privately-funded 501(c)
(6) not-for-profit membership organization that advocates for business,
community and economic prosperity. The Salem Chamber represents
over 1,200 businesses, who employ over 50,000 Oregonians in
the Mid-Willamette Valley. Led by a volunteer board of directors, the
Salem Chamber is dedicated to sustaining Salem's quality of life, and
keeping the community and economy vibrant. To learn more about the
Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, please visit salemchamber.org.
Avoiding the "Transparency Trap"
Unless you're in highly
environment, it's not
likely you're watching
your staff every minute of
the workday. However, if
you are trying to improve
efficiency, it's good to
know how your employees
spend their time working.
productive and on task,
after all, is part of a manager's job. However,
over-supervising employees or questioning
every part of a job process can sometimes
have the opposite effect.
An article published a few years ago
in Harvard Business Week titled "the
Transparency Trap" offers an interesting
argument about workplace transparency.
The author observes that "individuals
and groups routinely wasted significant
resources in an effort to conceal beneficial
activities because they believed that bosses,
peers, and external observers who might see
them would have no idea how to properly
understand them." In other words, if a
manager knows what an employee does, but
does not understand why they do it that way,
could lead to the manager mistakenly halting
or slowing down a beneficial process.
Imagine a manager who monitors
everything their office accountant does.
the manager does not have an accounting
background, they will certainly have
questions. They may ask the accountant why
they record transactions even though money
isn't changing hands (accrual accounting
anyone?). The manager may think they
can save money by asking the accountant
to "simplify things" or "do it another way."
This, of course, could be detrimental to a
business's financial management.
Managers fall into this trap because they
don't trust what they don't understand (or
are so arrogant they think they know it all).
If you're hiring any kind of professional,
they're going to know something you don't.
Apple founder Steve Jobs said it best, "It
doesn't make sense to hire smart people and
tell them what to do; we hire smart people, so
they can tell us what to do." If you know how
to do everything your employee knows how
to do, you've hired "labor," not a business
professional. If employees are adding
value to an organization and fulfilling their
workplace obligations, managers should
leave them to their work.
There's a fine line between supervising
and "back seat driving." A manager needs
to know when to ask questions and when to
trust the expertise of others. Competent staff
should also be transparent about his or her
work and be able to alleviate a manager's
concern and explain a process when
asked. Managers should strive to consider
a combination of the ultimate outcomes
(are things working?) and the employee's
knowledge and experience before picking
apart a process. By trusting your employees
to do their jobs, you can avoid falling into the
Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, CAE is the CEO
of VanNatta Public Relations a PR, Consulting
and Event Planning firm in Salem, Oregon.
A Tale of Two Governing Philosophies
Spend it while you got
Anthony K. Smith
Spend it while you got
it or build efficiencies in
preparation for the times
Recent proposals from
Gov. Kate Brown and
Secretary of State Dennis
Richardson appear to be
a tale of two governing
Coming off her successful
for re-election, Governor
Brown released her recommended
budget for the 2019-21 biennium.
Her plan calls for $23.6 billion in total
General Fund/Lottery spending, which includes
the reauthorization of several temporary
taxes - and some new taxes as well.
To put this number in perspective, the
budget for the 2013-15 biennium was $16.7
billion, increased to $19 billion for 2015-17,
and boosted again for the 2017-19 biennium
to $21.1 billion. In addition to the new
taxes proposed in her base budget for the
next biennium, the governor wants $2 billion
in brand new spending to be dedicated
to education. If adopted by the Legislature,
the state's next two-year budget would grow
to $25.6 billion, an increase of $4.5 billion
from our current state budget.
Just weeks after releasing her revenue and-
spending plan, the Oregon Legislature
met in Salem to cue up bills for the upcoming
session. House and Senate committees
will officially introduce bills that raise
property taxes (business and residential),
increase taxes on certain pass-through businesses,
increase corporate income taxes,
and increase taxes on beer and wine, just to
name a few.
That same week, the new Joint Committee
on Student Success was presented with
cost estimates for more than 50 policy recommendations
previously submitted to the
Legislative Fiscal Office for analysis. The total
came to more than $3 billion.
Oregon's economy is doing well: Unemployment
rates are hovering near all-time
lows, state income tax receipts are at an
all-time high, job growth has outpaced
population growth, and median household
incomes continue to rise. Most other states
are doing well, too.
Peculiarly, one sign of how well the economy
is doing is the increased talk of a looming
recession. Although economists at the
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis aren't
yet predicting when a recession will occur,
there is ample evidence in the data indicating
that economic growth is likely to slow
sometime in the next year or two in Oregon
- and the rest of the U.S.
Compounding this challenge is the fact
that, even during times like these when the
economy is doing quite well, Oregon has a
persistent structural budget deficit. Decisions
made long ago have resulted in everincreasing
required payments from public
employers into the state's public pension
system (PERS), which have strained government
budgets at every level, from school
districts to the state itself. Funding the expansion
of Oregon's Medicaid program
(OHP) has also proved to be an expensive
So, will Oregon shortly find itself like the
horse racing bettor whose winning streak
has run cold, or can it muster some prudence
over its spending and prepare itself
to cushion whatever blows a recession will
throw its way?
For a sneak peek at how it could cushion
itself, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson
released an audit showing that the adoption
of a statewide electronic procurement
system could potentially save the state up
to $1.6 billion in the 2019-21 biennium. The
secretary's office already has plans to implement
the system this year.
What would $1.6 billion in savings mean
for Oregon? First, the state could fill the
$623 million budget hole required to maintain
current service levels for all state agencies,
including full funding for OHP and
PERS. Second, 10 school days could be added
to bring our statewide average up to 180
days of student learning. This was the policy
recommendation with the largest price tag
presented to the Student Success Committee
in December ($516 million). Depending
on the actual savings generated from the
secretary's audit, the committee may still
have an additional $461 million to spend on
other education priorities. All without raising
Finding budget-saving efficiencies, as Secretary
Richardson has commendably done,
cannot by itself protect Oregon from a recession's
severest blow. For that, the state's
top policy makers will need to resist making
a tax-and-spend approach their first - and
often only - option.
Anthony K. Smith is Oregon state director for