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Posted on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 9 p.m.

Twitter faux pas lead to Dexter Chamber of Commerce resignations

By Lisa Carolin

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comments from Mary Ann Falzon and Joe Nowak.

The president and executive director of the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce have both resigned after a local news website criticized the director's use of social media.

Executive Director Mary Ann Falzon, who held the position since early July, resigned "on her own terms" Tuesday, a press release issued Wednesday night by the chamber's board said.

Chamber President Andrew Kudwa was asked to step down following Falzon's resignation, the release said. He also resigned from the board of directors on Wednesday, with a commitment to continue volunteer involvement in Dexter as a member only. The board appointed former president Joe Nowak to serve as interim-president until elections in November.

Falzon said she resigned after concluding she didn't have the support from Kudwa that she needed to continue in the job. She said she agreed with some of the criticisms in the article and wanted to improve the campaign, but felt she couldn't go on without adequate support.

Kudwa couldn't be reached for comment.

Nowak said the problems with the campaign were the chamber's collectively. "The campaign to do things locally was executed poorly, but there are no one or two people to blame. I would fault the entire board for a lack of guidance. We’ll pick up and rebuild.”

The resignations followed a column posted on the Dexter Leader website that criticized Falzon's Tweets during the buy-local campaign, which began Aug. 1 and was dubbed "Doing Dexter."

"I’ve heard from several people that the Twitter feed leaves a lot to be desired, and I unfortunately have to agree with them," Heritage writer Sean Dalton said in the column. Dalton wrote he had heard complaints about mentions of a shoe-shopping expedition in Ann Arbor and other tweets that had nothing to do with Dexter and there were few tweets about Dexter.

Twitter is a social network site that allows users to post 140-character updates that are disseminated to "followers."

Falzon said she never tweeted about shoe-shopping in Ann Arbor but agreed with other points in the article. "I wasn't doing a good job of Tweeting," she said. "I was doing a good job of Doing Dexter. The social networking was a way to follow what I was doing."

Paula Palmer Burns, secretary and member of the chamber board of directors, said that halfway through the 60-day local campaign that kicked off on Aug. 1, board members felt it wasn't as effective as they had hoped.

"We needed to get the message out to the public better," said Palmer Burns. "Mary Ann has fantastic ideas, but the board wasn't happy with the execution of them. Mary Ann didn't feel the board's expectation was made clear to her, and I think that we as a board did not give her enough feedback."

Falzon said she is relatively new to Twitter and didn't really understand how to make the best use of it. After the article came out, she said she had a better understanding. "Every time I spend money I should Tweet about it," she said.

Falzon said once the campaign started, she didn't do anything outside of Dexter except go to a Detroit Tigers game, and "I was honest about that."

She said the campaign was her idea. "I really thought this was a chance for me to have a really positive impact on my community. ... I don’t want any of this to reflect negatively on this community," she said. "I love Dexter."

Falzon is a graduate of Dexter High School and said her father owned a business in Dexter. Her grandfather started the Dexter A&W.

Regarding Kudwa, Palmer Burns said the board has nothing but thanks for his dedication, but the board needed to make a statement and move forward.

"When Mary Ann was hired, we put Andy Kudwa in a position to manage and guide her, and we don't believe he did that," Palmer Burns said.

The board plans to hire a new executive director as soon as possible and has a few possible candidates. The job is described as part-time and "requires someone who opens the mail and promotes the town all at once," Palmer Burns said.

She said the chamber board will continue to promote supporting local busineses in Dexter, and plans to turn the 60-day Doing Dexter campaign into a year-round effort. She said the board wants people to realize how much Dexter has to offer, including shopping, restaurants and theater.

For more Dexter news, visit's Dexter page.

Lisa Carolin is a freelance writer for To contact the news desk, call 734-262-2572 or e-mail


Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Mon, Aug 30, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

Server not found Firefox can't find the server at however... (as of tihs moment)


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 11:36 p.m.

@kfolger - Thank you. You made the point far better than I did with real examples from this real case. If you engage in social networking it will be a big snorefest unless you include personal details or anecdotes, but there is a fine line as to which are appropriate and which are not. Until someone makes it really big, there IS such a thing as bad publicity. By the way, I think Dexter is a fine place though I don't live there. This doesn't reflect badly at all on Dexter, just on the decisions of this individual who also may not be at all bad either, just misguided in her efforts. It's like reality TV - no one gets to see the whole picture, just the parts that go public.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

Ah, well. Every business enterprise, even a collective one like this, makes mistakes. The question is whether or not the Dexter Chamber of Commerce can regroup, learn from this mistake and move forward. My money is on them doing just that. Joe Nowak and others on the Chamber have shown they have the ability to promote Dexter as anyone who has attended Dexter's Friday night live music series can attest. Good live music, a very family-friendly atmosphere and lots of activities for kids and adults alike. As to businesses in Dexter, before you disparage this fine village, perhaps you might stop by and check it out. Several excellent restaurants, an art gallery, two independent coffee shops, a theater showing live productions, boutiques and all the ammenities any village could hope to have. This effort may not have gotten off to a good start but it's no reflection on Dexter itself. Just a slip and something I feel sure will be more than compensated for by innovative and creative ideas for promoting Dexter in the future.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

Agreed [Woman in Ypsilanti]. Something doesn't sound right here. You have a young Dexter native who takes initiative to start a local program. Obviously got the approval from the "board". If the program is headed in the wrong direction, why then doesn't someone step in and help right the ship before it becomes a media circus/witch hunt? Where's the leadership with this? Making statements? Ending careers? Twitter is entertainment by and large and in this case it was about following a PERSON trying to live locally. When a human is part of any program (unless you're Sean Dalton) there's a good chance it's not going to please everyone, and certainly not going to be perfect. Personally, if all the tweets were about the fact that Dairy Queen has ice get the point. Was Doing Dexter a fresh idea with serious potential? You bet. It's also a lot of responsibility, personal time and energy to go it alone - especially when Mary Ann could have played it safe and sat in an office and opened the mail instead.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

That Dexter is the kind of place that would fire someone over the tweets in question makes me want to avoid the town entirely.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

I was shocked that she'd been fired for her tweets--until I read them. They were extraordinarily unprofessional and did not do a good job of promoting Dexter businesses. The shoes from A2 thing wasn't a big deal, but some of the other stuff was unreal: she complained about how much it cost to fill her tank with gas and named the place she bought it from; she tweeted multiple times about hanging out by the pool and getting sunburned and then complained about the fact she had to drive to A2 to get something for the sunburn because Dexter doesn't have a 24-hour pharmacy; multiple tweets about drinking martinis, wine, beer, etc., although at least she was drinking locally; there were so many off-topic posts--football; missing Florida, Troy and Novi; letting her son watch Hot Tub Time Machine. I loved the tweet linking to an article about how to be a good quitter if you're thinking about leaving your job. Maybe that's where she got the phrase about leaving on her own terms that was quoted in the article. Her twittering was a trainwreck and had to be stopped. I only fault the Chamber for not stepping in sooner.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

And since when did tweeting become normal business practice? How stupid is that?

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

Why are everyone's posts in italics? Did someone forget to close their HTML tags? It's distracting. On topic, I guess I don't see what the big deal is here. Yeah, the website looks amateurish. Yeah, her tweets weren't 100% about Dexter. what? I feel like vilifying her is just making a mountain out of a molehill.

Steve the Wookiee

Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 7:25 a.m.

A few thoughts: Yeah, obvious Disney rip-off on the font. Try again. Like JGS pointed out, the name "Doing Dexter", coupled with the salacious photo of the woman at the counter, I think, gives the wrong impression. Buying local isn't a bad idea but this attempt seems to have been fumbled.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 6:47 a.m.

I only visit Dexter when I need a computer fixed and Absolute Internet service downtown is the best around. Those guys really know what they are doing. While there I enjoy all the rest of the town that many comments have mentioned. These things are well known, do they really need promotion? You take a chance of really screwing things up. If I had a business there, I would do the promotion myself.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 6:15 a.m.

Thanks AnnArborEats! The website picture made my morning, just like I suspect it did for the gentlemen in the picture.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 11:43 p.m.

For those new to social netorking, there are rules - lots of them. If you do social networking correctly, you will not know most of your "freinds". Carefully censor tweets or posts, no matter how "real" you are trying to be. (Doesn't this just defeat the purpose?) Recently published articles already predict the death of social networking. Bill Gates resigned from Facebook since he couldn't decide if his "friends" were really friends. Social networking is just junk mail in the making. It will all revert to real connections between real people, in a very short period of time. There's no hiding behind a pretty font, great graphics, or a bad reputation for very long. Do I have a website? Yes. Am I computer literate? Yes. Do I tweet or blog? No. My face to face contacts are my best connections and where my business comes from, with referrals emanating from that, just like in the days of my grandparents. Social networking is a fad. In conclusion, I like mustard on my sandwiches, though in truth I really don't like sandwiches much at all. Give me a bowl of bean soup instead, with crusty bread on the side. I knew you were just dying to know that. Now your day is complete. TTYL

Shelly Vrsek

Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

I agree with Ann Arbor Eats. It's the Dexter Area Chamber too, so there are lots of other businesses in the surrounding area that Dexter residents use: Alexander's, Jenny's Farm Stand, Kubota, many daycares, salons, farms and a lot of other really great businesses. The website makes me cringe. It looks horrible and very tacky. It really should be taken down and revamped to look professional. I love the idea of shopping locally and the blog seems like it could have been a good jumping point for a lot of great businesses. Maybe I should apply for that job......


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

Despite what this website portrays Dexter is a wonderful community and I do think that a 60 day campaign could be done. There are great restaurants like North Point, Terry B's, Pub, and newly Red Brick. We have Christine's and Life is Good for gifts. We have Artistica which features local artists and crafters alike. We have great coffee at the Corner Cup and The Foggy Bottom. We have an old drive-in A&W. We have three pizza places. We have dentists galore and doctors of all kinds too. We have salons and barbers. And don't forget our Cider Mill that was featured on the Food Network not so long ago. We also have the only camera shop in the area. We have two grocery stores. We have Marianne's which sells craft supplies and next to that a dog groomer. We have an extraordinary library!!! Even our pharmacy, with their wide selection of eco friendly and holistic goods is remarkable. I could go on forever.

Ted Annis

Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

The Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce seems as goofy and out of touch with reality as the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce (now the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce, as they really screwed up). Dexter has a great hardware store, some nice bar/resturaunts, a grocery store, a coffee shop, the A&W root beer stand, a Dairy Queen, a sporting goods store with a pistol range, and Conspiracy Motor Cycles. All of them I recommend. What else is there to promote and to whom and why? The Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce was equally as goofy, but on a larger scale with grander ideas, sweeping unsubstantiated statements about what is needed in Ann Arbor, and no common sense.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

Wow. Nice website. I was trying to think of some actual local businesses in Dexter and could only think of 3 or 4. You would think that whoever started to make the web page would have at least made it a priority to list the local Dexter businesses. Are there actually enough local Dexter businesses to support a 60 day campaign?


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

Wow you're right, that's a TOTAL RIP OFF of the Disney font. "Doing Dexter" sounds a little lewd to me. Maybe I'm just getting old?


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

Dexter has a Chamber of Commerce?


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

Complete with Disney Font rip off also.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

Here is a link to the "Doing Dexter" website, complete with unprofessional photo banner, that never came to fruition.