ST. JOSEPH COUNTY — Just one year after stepping in as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Saint Joseph County, Mark Dobson is stepping down. The official announcement came Tuesday in a news release. Dobson is quoted as saying, the Chamber's executive committee felt a change in leadership was necessary for 2010. Some Chamber business members say they were surprised at the Chamber boards decision. Others say, things were getting too political and they thought there might have been a conflict of interest. Still, most have confidence in the boards decision because they know how important a solid chamber is to the success of a community. "On the local level, the Chamber is a representative of businesses. It certainly is a way to bring together businesses, government, education, other sectors in the community to try and make a difference," says Tom Schuman the Vice President of Communication at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Office. On a local, state and national level, the Chamber serves as an advocate for businesses. When Dobson took the job, many thought his background in politics as a strong republican and former county commissioner would help him in the role. Business owners in the area hope new leadership will mean new growth. "They will survive and keep things moving. I have full confidence they will select someone who is just as good as mark was," says Ron Montandon. Montandon co-owns the Beiger Mansion. He sees the direct effect the Chamber has on his business. From networking opportunities to educational tools, the chamber has helped him through 20 years of serving the community. "And during this last year when things have been tough for most businesses in the area. Our Chamber membership was really the last thing we would even consider cutting in the way of budget," says Montandon. And he hopes the Chamber helps shape the future of his business, just like it has shaped the past. Chamber Executive Vice President Paul Laskowski will take over as acting president until the board decides the next step. The board will have to decide whether they want to conduct a search for a new president or go in a different direction.