About 110 community members attended a Halifax Pride Special General Meeting on the evening of Monday January 23rd, via Zoom.
Meeting Chair Jimmy Mellor said, “We were elected November 7th; we walked into a crisis with eyes wide open, got some committees started, and then the latest crisis started, and our priorities changed dramatically. So here we are.”
Trina James facilitated the meeting which was in three parts: financial status, Q & A, and Elections.
The three active, existing board members fielded both spoken questions and ones that came in via a very active Zoom text chat.
The financial reports were quite minimal as the society does not have a treasurer, so even questions about typical levels of funding couldn’t be answered. Joseph Allen reminded community members that there were many different sources of financing and that exec director Adam Reid, who announced his resignation well in advance last fall, had applied for all of the ones possible, and that the several tens of thousands of dollars of HRM financing is approved two years in advance.
Board members confirmed what members were told in January: that while the organization is challenged for funds at the moment, this is not due to mismanagement and simply reflects where the cash flow always is at this point in the year.
In the Q&A part of the meeting, there were several questions about election procedures, and both board members and regular members clarified how, at a Special General Meeting, a society is able to elect new board members. In between General Meetings, the society may appoint new board members who remain on the board only until the next Annual General Meeting.
Although technically chair of Halifax Pride, Frances Dadin-Alli has not been in contact with the rest of the board for three or four weeks, said Mellor. Pride Society members (anyone at the meeting was considered a voting member) asked how it could be possible that the Chair had completely disappeared and gone incommunicado. Mellor replied that the Board has repeatedly tried to contact them by email, and that any board member, including the chair, who misses three meetings in a row can be removed.
In response to, “Will you be hiring an Executive Director?” Mellor said, “Not right now - not until we know what the finances will be like.”
For the elections part of the meeting, there was an initial discussion, and vote, about whether the remaining members of the Pride Board should appoint enough people to have a functional board, and have a later election, or have an election right away. The community present was polled and the latter method was chosen.
Nominations and self nominations were accepted via the text chat, nominees described themselves, and answered a variety of questions posed by the members.
There were several questions and concerns about how a mostly cis white Board would adequately represent the PoC and trans communities.
One peculiar part of the meeting was that several of the new board members did not give their last names; those will however eventually appear on the Halifax Pride website.
The vote was done not as a slate, but individually, via an online survey: the link was sent to the chat, people clicked on that and voted for the nominees.
The assembled community elected four new board members: Adam Sigrist, Natalie Matheson, Tova Cranford, and Natasha will be added to the board, joining the remaining three who were elected in November: Jimmy Mellor, Mark Monk, and Joseph Allen.
The meeting adjourned right after the election, with the assembled community sending best wishes to the Board.