The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Support for Dayton Chamber Board


August 29, 2019

Dear Editor:

In response to the Letter to the Editor submitted by Melissa Bryan and Caitlyn Robins regarding the Dayton Chamber of Commerce board, I would like to share my experience and what I have observed.

Melissa Bryan was, by far, the most difficult chamber director in over 28 years. Working for Bette Lou Crothers (Chamber Board Member), we have taken on many extra duties during All Wheels Weekend and the months preceding. These duties include stuffing packets, stamping, folding, selling shirts/merchandise/raffle tickets, and helping with registration. During this time, Melissa was very rude and disrespectful to me and to anyone who did not see things her way. I feel Melissa is not being truthful now in the slanderous accusations she and Caitlyn are making toward the board. A generous board that has given her far more chances than she deserved.

The chamber board members were very supportive of Melissa and did everything they could do to help her succeed. They are a group of hardworking community members and business owners who only want what is best for the chamber and for the community. Melissa Bryan ran off good board members who had served on the board for many years as well as chamber members who could not deal with such a difficult and controlling personality.

Please continue to support the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and its exceptional board members as they move forward to find our new chamber director and assistant.

Diana Ashley, Dayton


Dear Editor,

I would like to comment on the letter submitted by the previous Dayton Chamber Director & her Assistant. I must preface that working at the Dayton Chamber is a very difficult job; event planning is highly stressful & detailed work.

Having been the previous Assistant Director at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, I personally found Ms. Bryan & company’s letter quite insulting & littered with inaccuracies. I would like to formally thank every single board member for getting her out of that position. THANK YOU ALL! I have been told that multiple businesses & other members in our community feel relieved & thankful as well.

While working at the Dayton Chamber (for seven grueling months) I daily witnessed Ms. Bryans “Leadership” style & “Passion” for our community. My last three weeks working with her, I worked 12-16 hour days for three weeks straight with only two and a half days off. She would contact me on my brief days off with requests as well.

Ms. Bryan often quoted Grace Hopper, stating “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission” which got both of us in trouble multiple times. I saw the board show her nothing but support & compassion, they poured their energy into training her properly. Multiple board members took her under their wings to teach her how to navigate difficult situations & encouraged her to take “NO” out of her vocabulary. She was given chance after chance to make it work.

The Director of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce must be a kind, considerate, organized individual who provides communication & excellent customer service. These are not qualities that I witness while working there. I cried every day when I drove home from that job.

I have nothing but hope & faith that the Dayton Chamber of Commerce will make a full recovery & finally be able to make itself a quality, functioning organization once again. Cheers to the Board of Directors, I feel vindicated by your actions. Though I must say, it’s about darn time!


Audrey F. Bensel, Dayton


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