ost non-profit societies spend time quarreling over one thing or another, and some members even find the time and energy to organize a total takeover of the board.
However, most non-profit societies don’t have $1.5 million in the bank.
The preservation of our region’s history is important to many of our residents. The Parksville and District Historical Society is the group that does that for us all, along with operating the museum and grounds at Craig Heritage Park.
On Tuesday, disgruntled society members staged a total coup, tossing the society’s former board and installing a former employee, Buddy Williams, as president. It was a messy divorce, one that took more than three hours to sort out in a room made for 40 but packed with 70 people. And it may have taken longer, and delivered more nasty, personal comments, if it wasn’t for a man named Cam Harrison.
It was clear to everyone except a few former boards members who wanted to cling to power, that change wasn’t only in the wind, it was in their faces. Some board members tried to hide behind oddly-crafted bylaws that apparently limited who could vote, but those organizing this coup were too strong in numbers and too vocal. In the end, democracy won because Harrison, the board’s vice-president, fell on his sword. He could see the writing on the wall and he suggested the impasse end with all paid up members being allowed to vote, even if that meant kicking him and his group off the board.
Williams and the coup leaders owe Harrison a large thank-you. He selflessly gave up his spot on the board to support the bigger picture, the museum.
We wish Williams and his new group loads of luck. There are many challenges ahead. We believe the top priority should be the archiving of items — less than 500 of the museum’s 10,000-piece collection is properly archived.
The new board already has accountability and transparency issues. The slate of board candidates put forward by the coup leaders also included a name for museum manager. So much for an open competition for that key position.
— Editorial by John Harding