The grand marshal of Capital Pride 2012 has called for the resignation of Pink Triangle Services executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel following a failed PTS annual general meeting Sept 25.
T Eileen Murphy is angry because members were not notified that their memberships had expired, which meant the AGM was once again unable to meet quorum. An AGM scheduled on Aug 26 also did not meet quorum.
“I think we should dissolve the whole organization, starting with the ED. It’s time to get rid of the ED and stop this dictatorship,” Murphy says. “We’ve had two resignations of the last two presidents, and there’s no reason for that except the ED. The ED is setting up these bylaws to have more power.”
Several key community members voiced concerns ahead of the meeting about proposed bylaws they say would give the executive director too much control over financial and board decisions. Five PTS board members have resigned from PTS in the past year.
Lyle Borden, who sat on the PTS board for six years, says Van Den Heuvel feels she does not have to be responsible to the board.
Capital Pride 2012 grand marshal T Eileen Murphy (pictured) says PTS ED Claudia Van Den Heuvel should resign. Several young PTS supporters say members are divided along generational lines.
“You have to have accountability of the ED to the board. Not the other way around or watered down,” he says.
Several voting members, including Murphy; Capital Pride's director of community relations, Joanne Law; and former PTS board member Gary Leger, walked out of the meeting.
PTS outreach worker Lindsay Ly says it was an immature response to what she thinks is a conflict of opinion.
“It’s really important to talk about these things . . . Because people walked out, there was no opportunity for dialogue,” Ly says. “As people who know PTS and as people who supported it at one point, I think that those values in their mind should come above little petty things.”
Ly says the discourse is an example of members being divided along generational lines.
Acting president Jessica Freedman says the failure to reach quorum disappointed the board, especially because members had several pressing issues to discuss.
“I look forward to the next AGM. It is certainly my hope and expectation that there will be a full and complete consideration of the issues that face the association,” Freedman says. “We’re all working very hard -- the board, the executive director and her staff -- to do the work that we’re entrusted to do for the queer community in Ottawa.”
But Leger says none of this matters if the organization can’t reach quorum at its AGM.
“Claudia talked about numbers [in a previous Xtra article
.] While her financial numbers are great, they are funded way too heavily by the city on one side and not enough from corporate or community. Yet what she needs to be careful of is her numbers that count. Where were her numbers today?” Leger asks. “The numbers that counted today were not at that table. Otherwise, she’d have quorum.”
A representative from United Way Ottawa, one of PTS’s main funders, observed the contentious meeting. But Barry Keegan, United Way Ottawa’s manager of media relations and communications, says he can’t comment on discord at PTS.
The board of directors will hold a special meeting on Oct 1 to discuss how to move forward. The next AGM is planned for Nov 28. It will be the third attempt to reach quorum this year.
Listen to an audio file of the AGM below.