HOLTVILLE — Amid the recent departure of its chief executive officer and unsubstantiated rumors about spending improprieties, the Holtville Chamber of Commerce faces staging its biggest event of the year, the Carrot Festival from Jan. 31-Feb. 9.
one chamber board director maintained the organization is up to the challenge
and turned away allegations of financial malfeasance this newspaper has not
been able to independently confirm.
if the recent departure of CEO Anita Martinez would slow Carrot Festival
preparation, Erick Burnworth noted in a Dec. 16 email the chamber is well
are coming together as a community,” he stated. “We have previous
volunteers to new volunteers, also ourselves, as a solid board, to keep the
event rolling smoothly.”
the financial allegations, he stressed, “There has been no improper
spending. The board reviews the budget and the spending carefully during the
chamber’s board meetings.”
board member contacted declined to speak on the record.
said she is approaching final negotiations on a settlement regarding her
December departure. Recently, the chamber board determined she is owed back pay
due to an error in her compensation.
reason for resigning her position, however, is a new job, Martinez said.
couldn’t pass it up. It’s my dream job,” she said. “I’m overseeing
the Imperial County 4H program.”
she is on track to start working at the University of California Cooperative
Extension at 1050 East Holton Road near Holtville. It performs agronomy
research and among its other functions oversees local 4H programs.
is a possibility she would have time to help with some Carrot Festival matters,
I want the community to know I always have the residents’ and the businesses’
best interests at heart,” said Martinez in a brief phone interview Dec.
planning a week full of Carrot Festival activities that include a banquet, parade
and street fair, the chamber is also in the process of selecting its festival
In the wake
of Martinez’s departure, the chamber office at 101 W. Fifth St. has one staff
member who keeps the office open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and
Thursdays while being closed from noon-1 p.m. for lunch.