September 24 Board Meeting
Recognizing it has been a difficult ten days for you our members and the Bridge River Valley Community Association, and also recognizing that our every action is being interpreted, often misinterpreted, we are providing you a summary of the decisions from our Board Meeting on September 25. Full minutes will be available to all members once they are done and approved. This summary has been approved by our entire Board of Directors. Further updates expanding upon related topics will be made soon.
Steve Oakley resigned from the BRVCA Board of Directors due to a conflict of interest with his role as the interim Area A Director (due to Dir. Courchesne’ resignation). Interim Dir. Oakley remained in attendance and did engage in discussion on one item on the agenda.
On advice of a lawyer, the Board of Directors passed resolutions to explicitly state and define the use of restricted funds in our organization.Due to the decentralized nature of the organization, 95% of our cash on hand are restricted for uses and functions. For example the funds we receive from the SLRD Tax Requisition for the Cemetery cannot be used for any other purpose.
The BRVCA has now updated our policy, through a motion explicitly restricting each source of funds to the use they are generated or funded for. This was necessary to ensure a future board understands that legal repercussions could occur should these funds be used for any other purpose than stated.
On advice of a lawyer, we passed a motion explicitly stating in policy the practice that has existed for membership applications. That practice and now policy is that:
Membership applications must be submitted by the person/corporate entity themselves directly to the Bridge River Valley Community Association – by mail with a cheque, online at link, or in person at the office.
ALL of our 100 membership applications this year prior to Sept. 16 were received directly from the applicant as stated above. On September 16, we received 11 membership forms and cash from a third party, Steve Oakley. Contrary to previous practice and under pressure, we decided to accept these memberships, however our office had to go back and confirmed with each applicant that this was their membership, cash and intent to become a member. The following evening, right before the AGM, a further pile (we estimate 30) were brought in. It was impossible to verify these memberships, brought in by a third party, in order for these people to participate in the Annual General Meeting as members. We have subsequently determined that many of these memberships were actually given to Mr. Oakley up to two weeks before the Annual General Meeting and ALL of them could have been submitted much ahead of the Annual General Meeting and in fact were in Mr. Oakley’s possession when he brought in the other 11 the day before. The conclusion of the Board of Directors that this delay in submitting memberships by Mr. Oakley can only be that it was some kind of strategy or manipulation based on his effort to become President of BRVCA.
Additionally, many of these unsuspecting people who gave Mr. Oakley their Memberships thought that in doing so they were members of the society. For example, we had people asking for dial in numbers to the AGM that we had no idea who they were. They were refused as they were not a member. However, it turns out Mr. Oakely was holding their membership. He however chose to publically via social media posts condemn us in this regard.
To end this abuse of our membership application system, the Board passed a policy motion at this meeting that memberships must be submitted by mail with a cheque, in person or by online (credit card/pay pal). No third party submission of membership applications will be permitted in the future. Future reworking of our bylaws may include a specific statement to this effect as well.
Unfortunately, Mr. Oakley has continued to pursue the BRVCA accepting these membership applications. He brought the same 28 in again this past week. The board has resolved to try and work through these applications individually with these 28 people to request they go through the normal process as described above. The membership applications brought in by Mr. Oakley are not to be processed. The 11 memberships that Mr. Oakley brought in on September 16 have been processed and are members.
Membership in a Non Profit Society – what does it mean? The Board of Directors discussed that membership in a non-profit society shows support of the organization, its mission, mandate and activities. It indicates a wish to be a guiding force in the organization. Membership drives are done by BRVCA in November and December, the start of our fiscal year. It is easy to become a member, use the online form, come into the office or mail it to us with a cheque.
Some people who attended the postponed AGM when they arrived said “I just want to vote”. Some of the 3rd party membership forms also included an attached statement that they wanted to vote for Steve Oakley for President. The board thinks that these were good people who were not fully aware of what it means to be a member of a non-profit society.
We are very thrilled though with the interest in the society and will work to include everyone while educating them on what it means to be a member.
Membership List. We clarified that anyone wishing to view the membership list must apply in writing. We also discussed the Society Act provisions to restrict that access and to indicate that the list may not be used for stated purposes , most particularly to solicit votes for election to our board of directors.
Annual General Meeting was set for Saturday October 12 at noon at the Gold Bridge Community Club. The Agenda for the Annual General Meeting is set out in the bylaws – Director’s Report, Review of Financial Statements, Election of Officers. There is no special business and no additional business (as per the bylaws) can be added to this agenda. No memberships will be accepted in any form after 3 pm on Thursday October 10. Our membership list is time dated so that can be documented. There will no proxy/distance voting as per our bylaws. Corporate Members must designate in writing who is voting for their entity. If the designated individual is also a member, they can also vote as an individual member. That will be established upon verification at the door or prior to the meeting if you email the office.
Voting on most matters will be by show of hands, voting for the Board of Directors will be by secret ballot. This will necessitate that member status be verified at the door and voting (If necessary) will be verified again before ballots are provided. We will have two Scrutineers count the ballots (if necessary). Non-members can attend. Unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. Unacceptable behavior includes obvious signs of intoxication, speaking loudly and angrily at anyone, and any type of intimidation or harassment, interruption of proceeding or attempting to get off topic. We are exploring having security on site to ensure order, as per Sec. 10 of our bylaws is maintained. Please be aware, much like the postponed AGM, if order cannot be maintained the meeting will be once again postponed or adjourned.
Individuals wishing to be on the Board of Directors will be nominated at the meeting. Campaigning publicly for a seat on the Board of Directors on a non-profit society is inappropriate as it is only the members of the society who will elect. This is a community organization not an election for a government position.
The new Board of Directors will stay after to talk to anyone, listen and record informally any concerns or Input from members.
President Andre Kuerbis resigns! At the end of our meeting our President and Board Member for 9 years, resigned. He cited the public posts on Facebook and elsewhere that ridiculed and embarrassed him and his performance as our President. He also cited the threatening and inappropriate behaviors suffered by his family and our wonderful BRVCA staff member endured at the postponed AGM. Other board members thanked him and also commented on how, even though all of us have various and often opposing views outside of our Board, together we have become trusted colleagues and have built strong relationships. This is a lesson at this time for all of us.
Andre Kuerbis has been a devoted and honest board member of BRVCA, and despite being accused of “not wanting to lose”, willingly walked away after public abuse and ridicule. Thank you so much Andre and we are so sorry it had to happen this way.