Pride Toronto’s annual general meeting (AGM) is coming up fast on Thu, Sep 17, but executive director Tracey Sandilands says the meeting won’t include an opportunity for nonmembers to publicly weigh in on the Pride 2009 festivities.
“Not formally,” says Sandilands. “It’s a closed agenda and it appeared well in advance. Obviously if anyone wants to talk to one of the board or staff separately afterward or during the break, they can probably do that. But there won’t be an opportunity to formally raise items that are not on the agenda.”
While anyone interested in attending the meeting can do so, only Pride Toronto members will be eligible to vote on the business at hand.
“Anyone can come but only members will be allowed to vote,” says Sandilands. “They will have to sign the membership register and will have to be on the membership register.”
Sandilands says those wishing to become a member of the not-for-profit organization are welcome to do so — but she adds it’s too late to be allowed a vote at the AGM unless you’re already a member.
“Even if they join as a member on the day [of the AGM] they won’t be able to vote,” says Sandilands, “because they must have done eight hours of volunteer work in the past year in order to qualify to vote… and there’s absolutely no opportunity between now and next week for anyone to chalk up eight hours of volunteer work. We’re quiet at the moment, there’s nothing really happening.
“Really the point for [the AGM] is for people who have been involved for a fair amount of time, so they need to be the ones who have the say…. But yes, anybody can attend, though there may not be a lot of point to it.”
Sandilands says the upcoming meeting will report on the past year’s activities and hold elections for up to three spots on Pride’s board of directors, including the male cochair position.
“There will be feedback on the past festival year and there will be a bit of an annual report presented,” says Sandilands.
“There are also some various positions that have not been filled up to now, that were empty this year and we now have candidates to stand for those positions, so they’ll be standing for election. There are candidates for the cochair position and they’ll be voted in on a yes or no basis.”
Although the list of nominees has not yet been made public Sandilands says it will be announced before the meeting, after the nominations committee has made its recommendations to the board.
Nominations closed on Aug 14. Potential board candidates must be Pride members in good standing who are willing to commit to a three-year term. They’re expected to devote an average of five hours a week to Pride duties, as well as attend a majority of monthly board meetings and participate in other events as necessary.
The meeting, scheduled to begin at 6:30pm at the Best Western at Carlton and Jarvis, is expected to run approximately three hours and attract around 60 attendees, estimates Sandilands.
“The first hour will be the report and the voting process,” she says. “Then there’ll be a bit of a break while the count is done and they check the votes. After the break we’ll show some video footage that was taken during Pride and then they’ll announce the results of the election.”
In addition to the election Sandilands says the meeting may include some preliminary discussion of next year’s Pride Week events.
“I think part of the process of the annual report will be some talk of the plans for the next year, although the plans have not been formulated in full yet. But the presentation will include whatever plans we have so far for the next year. “
Pride members who cannot attend the AGM in person can still vote by written proxy, but they must first contact Pride Toronto’s secretary of the board to have a form mailed to them. The filled-out and signed form can then be returned with a Pride Toronto member who is attending the meeting. Each member in attendance is allowed to hold just one proxy vote.
“It’s not a very exciting meeting,” says Sandilands, “but it’s one of those things that by law we have to do once a year.”
This past Pride faced some unique challenges, given the high staff turnover between the 2008 and 2009 Pride festivals and the controversy around the inclusion of political organizations in the Parade, particularly Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA).
“The whole political thing [the controversy over QuAIA’s inclusion] was unfortunate… we’ll be looking at various options between now and next year,” Sandilands says. “But we couldn’t have really done anything different at the time.”