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Liz Marcum called it a 'forced resignation,' the chamber says it was a 'mutual decision'

Former chamber director Liz Marcum was just three months into the job when her employment ended by what she described as a "forced resignation" and what the chamber called a "mutual decision."

The Canby Area Chamber of Commerce hired Marcum at the end of October 2017 and she began work as the executive director on Nov. 6. Her job was terminated Feb. 8, 2018.

Former Chamber Director Liz Marcum.

Marcum said that toward the end, she was approached by board members Michelle Boren, chamber president, and Jim Davis, who wanted to clearly outline the expectations for the director position. But Marcum said she felt attacked, and she later followed up with an email to Boren to express that. In the email she also mentioned wanting to resign.

"I was prepared to resign yesterday, and something, perhaps a whisper from God, caused me to refrain, without more consideration," Marcum said in the email. "I believe that I have something to offer here, and I think that I have proven that!"

After Marcum sent the email, she said Boren sent a response email saying that she was accepting Marcum's resignation.

"This was not really a resignation," Marcum said. "What I wanted was an apology for being insulted over and over and over. I am a human being."

Boren declined to comment on the matter, but lawyer Jim Hunsaker spoke on behalf of the chamber.

"It was a mutual decision to terminate," Hunsaker said. "She had threatened to leave, to resign. And it got to the point where we eventually said, 'Okay, let's move on.' "

Marcum described the termination as "traumatic" and has even considered taking legal action.

"It's still very emotional to me," Marcum said. "I've even thought about talking to an attorney, because I really do think it qualifies as harassment under a protected class because I am a woman and I am over 40."

But according to Hunsaker, the chamber denies any wrongdoing.

"Any claims of bias or unlawful termination are denied. They're unfounded," Hunsaker said. "We didn't act unlawfully. We didn't fire her because she's a woman or because she's over 40, or for any other reason other than the emails that you've seen."

Hunsaker added, "We've enjoyed working with her and getting to know her and we wish her the very best in her next endeavor."

The chamber has listed the job opening and plans to hire a new director by the end of March.

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