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Former board member says PTS 'misguided'

Former board member says PTS 'misguided'

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Executive director defends controversial bylaw amendments ahead of AGM
Two former Pink Triangle Services board members are raising concerns about the direction of the organization ahead of its annual general meeting tonight, Sept 25.
 
Gary Leger says five board members have resigned from PTS this year. Leger and George McBeth both recently left the board following president Denis Schryburt’s resignation on Sept 4.
 
Leger says the direction PTS is heading is “misguided,” and he is worried about proposed amendments to PTS bylaws.  
 
The executive director and remaining PTS board members want to give PTS executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel the power to offer recommendations on the budget and manage the creation and review of the PTS strategic plan with the aid of the board of directors.
 
“I read over the amendments and I’m concerned. I have looked at the bylaws, and literally, the changes that are being put forward would result in giving ultimate control to the executive director, and a not-for-profit organization cannot function that way,” Leger says.
 
Leger says he still believes in PTS’s work, but he thinks the current board members are leading the organization astray.
 
“I don’t think enough people, and I’m talking about board members and the executive director, they don’t put the organization first enough of the time,” he says. “They put their personal emotions and personal feelings first, and they need to put the organization first.”
 
But Van Den Heuvel says the amendments are necessary because the current bylaws are outdated and make no mention of the executive director’s role.
 
“We clarified things about finances. How much I am allowed to offer without board approval within the budget. If it is a certain amount, can I go to the executive committee to get approval? If it’s over that amount the full board must give approval,” Van Den Heuvel says. “Things like that to clarify some macro-level managerial things.”

Meanwhile, Schryburt worries that PTS is moving toward activism rather than education and the provision of supports for the community, which is why he submitted his resignation.
 
“PTS needs to be an organization who is fairly neutral and unbiased in order to better serve the queer community as a whole,” he says. “PTS has the potential to be the centre for the queer community in Ottawa, but it is not there yet, and it is going to be difficult to get there because of those challenges.”
 
Van Den Heuvel says it is natural for board members to disagree with the executive director. She says those members who resigned were unhappy because they were constantly in the minority.
 
“Does that make me difficult to work with? I don’t know,” she says. “Maybe there was just a personality clash. Of course, if I have an opinion and I think it is the right one . . . that’s the point of an opinion.”
 
Gender Mosaic president Sophia Cassivi says that if a well-respected member of Ottawa’s queer community like Schryburt has stepped down, something must be amiss with the PTS executive structure.
 
“Denis’s integrity and reputation is not to be debated whatsoever,” Cassivi says. “That sends out a very clear message to PTS there needs to be a cleanup. All of us [at Gender Mosaic], when we go to bed and look at ourselves in the mirror, we are very proud of who we are, who we work with and the cause we are working for. I think at PTS, some people must question that right now.”
 
For her part, Van Den Heuvel says the numbers speak for themselves.
 
“We are probably at the most balanced time in PTS history. We have more staff than we’ve ever had, we have more programs than we’ve ever had, we’ve diversified our programming in ways that we’ve never done before. Let’s just look at the numbers,” she says.
 
In addition to bylaw amendments, the AGM will elect eight new board members, who will work alongside five returning directors.
 
There has been some confusion over how to become a voting member. The PTS website says community members will get to vote if they purchase AGM memberships 30 days prior to the AGM. However, a Sept 13 PTS Facebook post says 10 free memberships are available for youth under 25 if they contact Van Den Heuvel.
 
Van Den Heuvel could not be reached for clarification on this point.
 
A notice about the AGM was distributed on Sept 11, the bare minimum of 14 days required by PTS’s current bylaws.
 
In February 2011, dissenting PTS members failed to overthrow the board in a 23 to 37 vote.   PTS Bylaws 2012 Draft(Sep12)

Comments

Denis
Then, please, tell me which other person commented from Montreal. And how your passive aggressive comments about how me not disclosing my involvement with PTS is dishonest is a personal attack. Mine was in fact, less so than yours. I never stifle a debate; what I did was ask that you stop making idiotic comments. Make intelligent ones all you want. I just will not tolerate that kind of behaviour toward me. Cheers.
Idiotic comments
Yean Yves directs me to 'stop making these kinds of idiotic comments. In my comments, I did not attack you personally, yet you defame me by your comments. It is news to me that you were once a PTS staffer, and that you are presently a volunteer, but you don't know me and I still don't know you. In my comment, I felt I had to reply to the anonymous Denis, just in case someone thought I might be he. How do you think it feels for me to be the object of your disrespect then being ordered to stop commenting? It matters that you are a former PTS staffer and current volunteer as that carries some authority. Whether or not my comments were idiotic is not at issue. No one has the right to try to stifle debate?
Denis
What semi anonymity are you talking in regards to my posts? I'm using my first name, because I was involved in PTS for many, many years, and I didn't think it was necessary to post my last name. Since I've only encountered two other Jean Yves in my life (one was a TV credit I saw for some show), I doubt there would be much confusion. I don't appreciate the passive aggressive insinuation that I'm not being honest by not saying I used to work for PTS. I've never lied about that, and I have no reason to. Had someone come out and asked me, I would have said so. I'm not really sure how my previous employment is relevant, since during that time, I was also volunteering. I'm still very much engaged with PTS, and I do volunteer my time with them when I can. How am I misleading people by acting like I'm 'plain folks, community members writing in, and not persons with any vested interest.'? Isn't the whole point of these conversations to have people with vested interests? To put your mind at ease, I was a client of PTS starting in 2003; about six months later, I started volunteering at PTS. I was a group facilitator for a few different groups, and then I was employed as the Program Coordinator. What does this mean? It means I have a lot of experience with PTS, and I know how it works. I also know how much work the people in that office are putting in, and how much it SUCKS to have people on here debating whether their work is useful to the community or not. So that's why I'm arguing against anyone who says anything bad about PTS or its staff. Because I care about the organization, and I care about the community. Please stop making these kinds of idiotic comments.
MK gets it wrong and doesn't right it.
MK – As you well know by now I am not the Jay who posted the first comment (25 Sept) in this thread. Fortunately the person named Jay who made that first posting has already corrected you (1 Oct) for your erroneous assumptions. What I find most discomforting is that despite the original poster correcting you (MK), it was he who apologized to me for your mistake and you have not even attempted to do so yourself since being informed of your mistake several days ago. You suggested that my opinions are “a bit loaded and misleading” and nuanced that my opinions are shaped by my friendship with another individual. To imply such clearly demonstrates you do NOT know my character nor the values and principles that I hold dear. To involve the organization I work for in your discourse is even more disturbing since neither the organization nor I as an individual had even ventured to engage offering our opinions in this instance. What message is being given when someone is willing to impugn the character of others and not accept the consequences of those actions? A simple apology would have gone a long way to instilling some credibility to your own character and the comments found in your other postings on this same subject. Jay Koornstra, Community Member
Reply to Denis - History Lesson
It took me a while to research this question, but I can state with some certainty that the Denis who purported to give a history lesson was NOT among founders of PTS. He was not on the Gays of Ottawa Board or the original planning committee that thought up the idea of splitting the group to found PTS in 1983-4, he was not on the PTS founding Board in 1984 and not on the first elected PTS Board in 1985. It is important not to distort our history. It is also important not to take credit for others' hard work. I was Chair of Gays of Ottawa's Political Action Committee and Editor of GO INFO at the time and I was present at many of the discussions about founding PTS.
Identity
I just read the comments on this blog and also want to say I am not the Denis who wrote the post on September 26th. When I write, I always use my full name. Right now, I just have rhetorical questions regarding these posts (and another remarkably similar group of posts attached to another article about PTS). I can't figure out why so many here are using only initials or first names? I would have thought more people were out in this day and age. And I can't figure why some semi anonymous persons from Montreal and Toronto are writing in concerning our local community services group. Isn't there enough going on in those communities? Maybe we should restrict PTS membership to persons living in Eastern Ontario and West Quebec? Is it possible that some of these semi anonymous writers could be either PTS Board Members or maybe even on staff or formerly on staff? No, I wouldn't even want to allow myself to think so, as former and present staffers or Board Members would want to be honest with the community; they wouldn't want to mislead the community by pretending to be just plain folks, community members writing in, and not persons with any vested interest. Very interesting debate.
Qualifications
My experiences with Claudia have only been positive... which makes me wonder... what qualifies you to say Claudia isn't capable of being the E.D.? Hasn't she been the E.D. for like three or four years? I think if you are going to make such strong accusations you shouldn't be doing it and hiding your identity... that is cowardly!
Continued
first of all this is not Jay Koonstra. Sorry to Jay for any confusion in identity. My original post was not meant to belittle the work that PTS is or has been doing and I know there is a vast majority that are around there for the right reasons and are doing great work. to be blunt my post was a direct attack on claudia as in my opinion she doesn't have the skills or the tact to be able to effectively lead an organization like this and shouldn't be in the role. She has shown characteristics of being sneaky and underhanded when it comes to dealing with other organizations within our own community. I feel there are far better people in our community for that role... I think a transition in the bylaws to include the ED role would be a great idea, if written in a way that doesn't give said person to much power or any power over what the board can do.
Something else that might help
Claudia: Many people have difficulty reading bylaws and discerning the intent/impact of the sections and sub-sections. It might help if there was a chart that listed each change and why the change is seen as necessary, i.e., what problem/issue is the change intended to address. Members should not be unsure of what they are being asked to approve through a vote.
Great suggestions
Hello everyone, thank you to all for your interest and support of PTS. Ted, I too think a legal opinion about the bylaws is required. This is among the many things we are doing to improve for the next AGM. All the best.

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