The Penticton Chamber of Commerce has addressed a controversial choice at their annual Business Excellence Awards this weekend, issuing a press release Monday to explain their decision making process.
Lee Agur of Bad Tattoo Brewing was named Business Leader of the Year Saturday night, a decision that led to some negative feedback directed at the Chamber. Agur was in hot water this past summer when he publicly vowed not to enforce vaccine passport orders at Bad Tattoo.
After several weeks, Agur reversed the decision and publicly apologized, and stepped down as manager.
The Chamber explained that the award for Agur was determined by judges in teams of two, reviewing all nominees extensively.
Once finalists were determined, a lengthy interview with each finalist took place before a winner was chosen. Agur was chosen before the vaccine passport requirement came into effect.
"We expected that there might be controversy with regards to the selection, so we gave the judges in this category an option to revise their decision,” said Diane Kereluk, executive director.
“After much discussion, the judges decided to stay with their decision based on all the research and discussions they had with the finalists."
Chamber president Jonathan McGraw said the board felt they needed to uphold the integrity of the independent judging process, and not overrule it.
"Furthermore, and most importantly, it was felt that we need to show tolerance when a fellow business leader makes a mistake. To allow one mistake, which was corrected by Mr. Agur, to overshadow all the significant contributions he made during the year for our community would not be compassionate and caring," McGraw said.
Find a full list of winners from Saturday here.