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Future of Chamber President unknown after plagiarism allegations

QMI Agency

The future of the Strathmore and District Chamber of Commerce President is unknown in the wake of plagiarism allegations.

Steve Jeffrey, President of the Chamber and publisher/editor of The Anchor Weekly out of Chestermere, came under fire last week when California based humour columnist George Waters alleged plagiarism of his own work and that of 12 others. On his WA blog Waters said that after hearing of a plagiarism scandal in the US he began googling unique phrases from his work.

"In May 2011, Steve Jeffrey, the editor/publisher of a community weekly called "The Anchor" in Chestermere, Alberta, a suburb of Calgary, passed off my writing as his own. My column, but printed under his name and smiling photo," said Waters via his blog.

After continuing to dig Waters found 42 instances of plagiarism, 41 unique instances with one column running twice, with the source material ranging from Newfoundland to Australia. Waters cited three specific instances with sections from Jeffrey's articles posted next to the alleged sources that were exact replicas. The St. John's Telegram posted an article with a screenshot of Jeffrey's column that is in parts identical, with some local facts changed, to a column by Telegram columnist Russell Wangersky's printed three years ago. The two articles even share the same headline, "Gone 'Fishin".

"I certainly have used other writers as inspiration, but I would say that I have not plagiarized anything," Jeffrey told the Telegram.

Archives of the Lighthouse column were not available on The Anchor Weekly's website after March 28.

What this means for his standing as chamber president is yet to be determined. Past president of the chamber Lin Walker said that the board needs to sit down with Jeffrey before making any decision.

"I can't really comment on what this means," said Walker. "When (Jeffrey) gets back from vacation we'll get together with him. We'll have to see his response before making any decision."

Jeffrey has been the President of the Strathmore and District Chamber of Commerce since 2011.

The Calgary Herald reported that Jeffrey resigned from the Publisher and Editor position on March 27. He was unavailable for comment to the Strathmore Standard as of press time.

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