Originally created 01/07/97

Hodge will retain his job as chamber president

Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce president Al Hodge, disciplined last fall for interfering with Columbia County's efforts to land a major industry, will remain in his post indefinitely, according to the chamber's new chairman.

"Al Hodge is the president and there are no changes in the works," said Pat Blanchard, who succeeded 1996 chairman Abram Serotta on Jan. 1. "If there are, I don't know about it."

Mr. Blanchard said the only recent or foreseeable personnel change of any significance at the chamber are his own ascension to the chairman's position and Mr. Serotta's transition to past chairman.

No other changes are planned and the chamber has no plans to add any new personnel, either on a permanent or interim basis, he said.

Mr. Hodge said late Monday he planned to stay on as president and declined to comment further.

Meanwhile, economic recruiters are awaiting word on when - and most importantly where - Titleist will build its $50 million golf ball factory.

The company narrowed its search last fall to three sites: Columbia County, Aiken County, and Columbia, S.C.

The Metro Chamber represents Columbia, Richmond and Burke counties in efforts to attract industry. But its policy is to lobby for only one county at a time - and not to compete internally.

Mr. Hodge was disciplined in September after he initiated efforts to lure the company to Richmond County after Titleist was already working with Columbia County.

After that episode, Mr. Serotta would say only that Mr. Hodge would remain president until Dec. 31.


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