Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chamber Banquet Set for Feb. 21

Armstrong Bank was named the Sallisaw Chamber Member of the Month, and was presented a plaque by Chamber President Darren Girdner, third from right. Armstrong Bank representatives are from the left, Lee Bennett VP, Vian Branch Manager, Aaron Ellis, VP, Warner Branch Manager, Treye Girdner, VP, Muldrow Branch Manager, Eric Riggs, VP, Sallisaw Branch Manager and Jody Webb, Regional President

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce 2015 President, Darren Girdner, left, visits with Gary Jones, State Auditor and Inspector, at the chamber's member luncheon Wednesday at People Inc. Jones spoke on repairing government employees' pension plans, and taking politics out of play between the auditors and inspectors office and those audited.

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held Feb. 21 at the new Sallisaw Middle School, it was announced at the chamber's monthly membership luncheon Wednesday. New Chamber President Darren Girdner conducted the meeting at the People Inc. Conference Center. Girdner said the banquet will have the theme "Here's to New Beginnings!" Bubba Burcham, captain of the 2000-2001 national champion OU Sooner football team, will be the keynote speaker for the evening. The deadline to buy tickets and to reserve corporate tables is Feb. 13. For more information contact the chamber office at 918-775-2558.

Girdner also reminded members that the Sequoyah County Junior Livestock Show will be Feb. 25 and 26, with the premium sale and banquet on Feb. 27. The show will be at the Sequoyah County Fairgrounds in Sallisaw.

Armstrong Bank, a strong supporter of the livestock show and other community events, was named the Chamber Member of the Month. The bank has been owned by the Armstrong family since 1922, and was the only one of 13 banks in the county to survive the Great Depression.

Gary Jones, State Auditor and Inspector, was the guest speaker at the luncheon, and discussed ways to improve the state's part of government employee's pension plans, most particularly for teachers. He said a good pension plan is a recruitment and retention enticement, but the state had failed to fund its portion. That needs to be fixed, he said. He also explained how his office has taken politics out of audits, by refusing to remove findings from audited offices, and that his office has also improved prosecution of cases. Since taking office in 2010, he said, his office has conducted about 23 percent more audits than in past administration, with considerably less funding.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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