The board of directors of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) has refused to step down following a no-confidence vote at the annual general meeting on Sept 21.

In a Sept 23 press release, the board said it had consulted lawyers and would soon meet with its members.

“The Board of Directors has received legal advice that confirms its current status and authority as the operating Board of Directors,” stated the release.

Angry at new rules governing its nomination process, members revolted against the board at the AGM. 

Community member Mélanie Jubinville-Stafford says the meeting was marred by a group of participants who were unhappy with changes in the ACO structure.

"There was one person who stood up and said, ‘I would like to put forward the motion of no-confidence in the board,’” says Jubinville-Stafford, a public health nurse whose clients access ACO services.

She says the meeting was disorganized, noting that several members of the community were disruptive and uncooperative.

She says two motions were put forward and votes taken, including one to dissolve the board and a second asking for an immediate reelection. The meeting was adjourned after the second vote.

"The issue was the validity of this vote,” she says. “People stayed around for a very long time trying to assess [what had happened.]"

ACO executive director Kathleen Cummings was unable to comment; her voicemail said she was on sick leave.

Suzy Yim, coordinator of education and prevention, didn’t attend the meeting but says she was briefed on the situation.

“From what I understand emotions were high. There was a lot of different energies in the room and it came to pretty confusing places at the end of the night,” she says. “Right now we are just figuring out what happened, but that being said, services are not at all in jeopardy, programming is not at all in jeopardy, they are all [operating] as usual.

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