Updated April 17 at 6:17pm

Kelso leaves Narragansett chamber, says it has ‘nothing to do with ferry’

Narragansett Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deborah Kelso is stepping down in a move she says was unrelated to tension over a proposed ferry route to Block Island. More

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Kelso leaves Narragansett chamber, says it has ‘nothing to do with ferry’

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NARRAGANSETT – Narragansett Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deborah Kelso is stepping down in a move she says was unrelated to tension over a proposed ferry route to Block Island.

On Tuesday Kelso said she was resigning to pursue other opportunities that don’t include the same fundraising demands as at the chamber.

“It had nothing to do with the ferry,” Kelso said. “I had given my notice before that erupted. To be frank, I am just looking for another opportunity without so many fundraising expectations.”

In July, the Narragansett Chamber’s board voted unanimously to oppose Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s plan to start high-speed ferry service between North Kingstown and Block Island.

That decision drew scrutiny for being “anti free market,” and this month the Chamber’s board reversed itself, voting eight to five with two abstentions, to rescind its letter of opposition before the state Public Utilities Commission, Chairman Kevin Mulholland said. It was at that meeting that Kelso formally announced her decision to step down, he said.

Kelso has been executive director of the Narragansett Chamber for six years. She said the effective date of her resignation is fluid, as she helps smooth the transition this week.

deborah kelso, narragansett chamber of commerce, rhode island fast ferry, block island, public utilities commission, kevin mulholland

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