Hayden Chamber of Commerce denies sending annexation letter

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— The Hayden Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement saying it did not send a letter advocating the annexation of western Routt County into Moffat County nor does it, as a group, support the goals of the Committee for Less Intrusive Government, which signed the letter.

According to the Chamber’s statement sent Friday morning, Gordon Dowling submitted the mailing to the Hayden post office using the Chamber’s bulk mailing permit and a letter granting use of the permit to Chamber members. Dowling Land Surveyors joined the Chamber in August, according to Suzanne Banning, of the Hayden Chamber of Commerce.

Banning said that the paperwork associated with the mailing shows the permission letter requested by Dowling was used.

"I can't confirm that," Dowling said about sending the letter when reached by phone Friday morning.

The letter states it is from a group called Committee for Less Intrusive Government that wants to put the issue of annexing western Routt County into Moffat County on the November 2013 ballot. A vote on annexation from one county to another would require approval by taxpayers of both counties, according to Colorado Revised Statues Title 30 Article 6.

The person who sent the letter “didn’t put a return address,” Banning said, noting that it was the Chamber’s information on the letter. “It looked liked it was from us.”

Banning said that the procedure that allows Chamber members to use the bulk mailing permit has been revised. Now, members still will prepare their own mailings, but the content will be checked and taken to the post office by one of three board members.

“It’s sad but true that we have to do that,” Banning said.

Although Chamber members are allowed to use the bulk mailing permit to promote their businesses after requesting a permission letter, the Chamber’s statement says the group Committee for Less Intrusive Government is not a Chamber member, and the letter should not have been mailed using the Chamber’s permit.

Dianne Sadher, of the Hayden post office, said it’s a small enough town that identification typically is not required when sending bulk mail, given the required paperwork is in order. She said the practice of requiring a permission letter to use the Chamber’s permit is in addition to U.S. Postal Service requirements. It is possible to have someone send a mailing on another person’s behalf, Sadher said, but she was not able to confirm whether she witnessed Dowling send the mailing.

Banning said she has fielded calls from people asking whether the Chamber was behind the letter.

“It got a lot of blood pressure up from a lot of people,” she said.

Read the Hayden Chamber of Commerce's statement below:

This is to clarify that the previously mailed flyer regarding annexation of West Routt County into Moffat County was not sent by the Hayden Chamber of Commerce and is not supported by the Hayden Chamber of Commerce as a group.

The flyer was not signed and showed no ownership other than the “Committee for Less Intrusive Government.” Research shows that the mailing was submitted to the post office by Gordon Dowling of Dowling Land Surveyors, a chamber member. Chamber members are permitted to use the Hayden Chamber of Commerce bulk mailing permit for business purposes of the member. It was mailed without the chamber having knowledge of the purpose of the mailing.

The “Committee for Less Intrusive Government” is not a chamber member and should not have used the chamber’s bulk mailing permit for this purpose. The Hayden Chamber of Commerce will be reviewing the procedures for using the bulk mailing permit to avoid this in the future.

Thank you.

Your Hayden Chamber of Commerce

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