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Feelings intensify

Post-resignation, a chamber has more to sort out than leadership

DOVER—Philip Gilpin Jr. might have resigned from the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, but some angry feelings linger in the wake of his brief tenure.

Two similar comments to articles about Gilpin’s resignation posted on the websites for the Deerfield Valley News and The Commons point to anger at Gilpin’s tenure.

Gilpin, the chamber’s executive director, resigned Dec. 20 after less than three months on the job. Gilpin said that he and his board differed over the chamber’s future direction. Board president Cheryl Rothman said the board also had had concerns about how well Gilpin and the chamber meshed.

The board hired Adam Grinold, local business owner and former chamber board member, as interim executive director for three months [see story this issue].

Gilpin had no comment, except to say that “engaging in a political back-and-forth does not help businesses bring in money, or help grow the economy.”

In response to a story in last week’s Commons about the shakeup at the Chamber, John Raille of Dover posted a comment criticizing Gilpin on www.commonsnews.org on Jan. 6.

“In his short time here, [Gilpin] managed to substantially weaken the valley’s brand by getting rid of a successful website and replacing it with one that offers substantially less information,” Raille wrote in a blistering critique that included Gilpin’s work on the Chamber’s website and valley guide publication.

“All that pales compared to his largest weakness: his need to denigrate and discard everything done before him in order to concentrate on projects that build himself up,” the writer charged. “He never had the valley’s best interests at heart, only his own.”

As of Monday, Jan. 9, the comment had received 14 “thumbs up” and 4 “thumbs down.”

Upon further investigation, John Raille does not appear to exist.

Raille was not listed in the telephone directory, did not come up in a Google search, as a property owner in Dover, or as a business owner listed with the Secretary of State.

A reverse search of the IP (Internet protocol) address attached to the comment revealed it as a static IP address belonging to Green Mountain Investment Corp, a division of Palmiter Realty Group in Dover.

A static IP address is provided by an Internet provider or web host. Desktop computers connected to a local area network can share the connection via a wired or wireless router.

Raille used an email address to an “acormier” associated with a domain belonging to a New Jersey Internet marketing firm to register the comment.

According to Arlene Palmiter, principal broker of Palmiter Realty and president of Green Mountain Investment Corp., “John Raille” does not work at Palmiter. She did not recognize the email address either.

“I can assure you we have no knowledge of this person or email address,” said Palmiter.

Cheryl Rothman, chamber board president, said that the comment did not come from anyone in the chamber office.

She added that the chamber had nothing against Gilpin.

“We didn’t ask him to leave,” she said. “We thought he was great. We loved his ideas. We’re implementing some of his ideas.”

An email sent to the address was not answered by press time, nor did it bounce back.

A similar comment, posted by “amish1,” appeared on the Deerfield Valley News’ website on Dec. 22 in response to an article by editor Michael Eldred about Gilpin’s resignation.

Raille’s comment was removed from The Commons’ website. The paper has a policy of requiring all comments to bear the writer’s real name.

The Commons encourages letters to the editor and to the Voices section.

“If John Raille replies to his email and can verify his identity, or if someone else wants to assume responsibility for writing that comment, I’d be happy to restore it to the site and publish it as a letter in the newspaper,” Commons editor Jeff Potter said.

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Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #134 (Wednesday, January 11, 2012).

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