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Big changes ahead for Pride Toronto

New board members to be elected at Oct 27 AGM

The Pride flag is carried at 2011 Toronto Pride parade. Credit: Andrea Houston

Pride Toronto (PT) will soon have a new executive director, six new board members and a brighter financial future, says the board co-chair.

The new members will bring the board number to 10; the election will be held at the annual general meeting on Oct 27 at Church St Junior Public School.

The list of nominees for the board was not available at press time.

Two additional board members will also be elected in early 2012, says PT co-chair Francisco Alvarez. The PT bylaws state that up to 12 people can serve.

The AGM agenda is available here. It includes a presentation of PT’s financial statements.

Last year’s AGM was contentious, with many members expressing anger and frustration at internal procedures. Just one new board member was elected and every motion put forward by members was ruled out of order by the chair.

After the meeting, a scrutineer admitted that former ED Tracey Sandilands, board member Mark Singh and volunteer coordinator Emily Gibson controlled 25 percent of the vote via proxies. PT is taking steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again, Alvarez says.

This year, each member present may hold only one proxy. PT members will elect the board members through a single transferable vote system. To do this, Fair Vote Canada is working with PT to ensure a transparent and accountable election process, Alvarez says.

The new ED will be introduced at the AGM. Alvarez says that the human resource committee has a preferred candidate and that board members voted to accept the recommendation at a meeting on Oct 17.

The new ED will be the third person to hold the position in less than a year. Sandilands resigned in January following a tumultuous period in PT’s history, which included two attempts by the organization’s board to censor Pride parade participants.

The most recent ED, Glen Brown, spent five months as interim ED, leading the organization through a successful Pride 2011 festival and a bitter — and ongoing — fight with city hall over PT funding.

PT racked up one of its worst financial losses in 2010, according to the organization’s audited financial statements released in January. PT finished the year with a $431,808 budget deficit in 2010. A rainy-day fund of $322,407 left PT in the red by $109,409.

Brown tells Xtra that the board is in a “much better place” financially than it was last year. Although he wouldn’t reveal any numbers before leaving in September, he smiled and said, “They are going to be just fine.”