(Updated) EXCLUSIVE: Franey resigns from Cullman Chamber, Danford declines interim post

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Dr. T.J. Franey, left, and Sammie Danford, right (contributed)

Updated 8-6-19 at 5:02 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – A source close to the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Monday evening reported to The Tribune that former United Way of Cullman County Executive Director Sammie Danford was offered the interim presidency at the Chamber, to fill the post vacated by the resignation of Leah Bolin in May.  Danford declined the offer.

After Danford stepped back, former Cullman Economic Development Director Peggy Smith reportedly applied for the position.

Chamber Board of Directors Chair Dr. T.J. Franey has also stepped down from her position. She served as Chair at the time of the Board’s vote to give the Chamber’s lodging tax to Cullman County Schools’ facility improvement and sports complex project.

A press release from the Chamber late Tuesday afternoon said, “T.J. Franey informed the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors of her resignation as board chairman, effective July 31, 2019.”

“I have been blessed to work alongside such wonderful people who truly care about our Chamber members and community,” Franey said. “Unfortunately, the time required between work and family simply do not give me the additional time to volunteer and support the Chamber and its staff as needed during the transition time without a president.”

Kay Shabel, chair elect for the Cullman Area Chamber Board of Directors, will assume the role of Chairman for the remainder of this Chamber year.

“I want to thank T.J. for her gracious service to the Chamber and our community,” Shabel said. “I look forward to continuing the work the board has been going through to strengthen the Chamber and working with our members and community partners to make Cullman County an even better place to live, work and play.”

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com