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Lynchburg City and Chamber Agree to 'Be Nice' - abc27 WHTM

Lynchburg City and Chamber Agree to 'Be Nice'

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Lynchburg City Council Member Jeff Helgeson Lynchburg City Council Member Jeff Helgeson

Lynchburg, VA - The City of Lynchburg and the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce have entered into a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement, after the decision to cut ties when it comes to tourism promotion.

City council members aren't required to sign the agreement, but it was sent to them by Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne. In his email, Payne says the agreement applies to all city representatives.

Councilman Jeff Helgeson responded that he does not agree with what's written in the document signed by Payne on behalf of the city, and says he will not forfeit his first amendment right to speak about the issue.

Helgeson says the former chamber tourism staff was berated publicly by city staff in a budget meeting.

"A non-disparagement agreement, never heard of something like that before," said Lynchburg City Councilman Jeff Helgeson. "Normally people are civil. Normally people are honest. Normally people are above reproach.  You're not just going to disparage volunteers of the chamber of commerce. You're not going to disparage the former executive director."

"Basically it says talk nice, be nice to each other from now on," said Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne. "I think everybody understands there's been some tension over the last six months to a year and I think everybody who's here now wants to move on and have a collaborative relationship for the betterment of the community."

Executive Vice President Christine Kennedy signed the agreement on behalf of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Under the agreement, the city gets the Discover Lynchburg trademark and other tourism program information. The city is currently accepting resumes for a new tourism director.

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