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PTS AGM brings in more inclusive policies

New rules allow for better reflection of community's diversity

Denis Schryburt, president of the board, helped spearhead the PTS rule changes. Credit: Noreen Fagan
Pink Triangle Services has some new rules and board members following its annual general meeting on Nov 22.
 
The changes come nine months after a special general meeting was held in February 2011 at which some PTS members wanted to dissolve the organization’s board of directors.
 
One of the major grievances was that rules weren’t being followed.
 
The complaints started an internal push to reform some of the rules, which framed most of the discussion at the two-hour AGM.
 
Denis Schryburt, president of the board, says that although he spearheaded the organization’s revamping, he had a lot of help from others.
 
The most contentious point was a change to the rule about the makeup of the PTS board. The 29 attendees talked about it for 35 minutes.
 
One major problem was with its wording, which said, of the 12 voting directors, “at least six shall identify as a woman and six shall identify as a man.”
 
Jade Pichette, an attendee and PTS’s safer spaces coordinator, was the first to speak against the wording.
 
“There’s many of us in the community who don’t identify as men or women,” she said after the meeting. “I think it’s important that our board of directors represents the diversity of the community as much as possible.”
 
The rule, unanimously carried, now says the board should consist of “12 people reflecting the diversity of the community and no one gender identity holding more than six seats on the board of directors.”
 
There are some other important new rules, too – especially concerning membership and voting practices.
Now, someone has to be a member for 30 days before they can vote.
 
Most rules about voting also now state that only a simple majority have to be in favour for something to pass. Before, it was a majority of two thirds.
 
A new board of directors will apply these rules. It includes Schryburt, elected from acting president to president; Jessica Freedman, vice-president; Don McGibbon, treasurer; and Aric Ziebarth, recording secretary.
 
Ziebarth’s job is new. Taking notes at meetings used to be part of the treasurer’s job.
 
He says he wouldn’t have run for election if the roles were still coupled.
 
“I probably wouldn’t have wanted that much responsibility, in addition to balancing the books plus recording everything,” he says. “They’re two fundamentally different skill sets. For instance, I can’t stand looking at numbers all day, but I can record conversations fairly well.”
 
He says he decided on the fly, right before the meeting, to try for the position. He had no competition but says he still thinks he’s a great fit for the job.
 
“I’ve been a receptionist in an office for three years, and as an on-again, off-again university student, my note-taking skills are still not dulled,” he says.
 
A dedicated recording secretary is valuable because while notes were recorded in the past, no one was responsible for remembering the string of events from one meeting to the next, says Schryburt.
 
Claudia Van den Heuvel, PTS’s executive director, took the AGM minutes.
 
Schryburt and George Hartsgrove, former treasurer, both commended Van den Heuvel for her hard work in 2011.
 
PTS is in the black largely due to her efforts to fundraise and stay on budget, said Hartsgrove in his financial report.
 
Van den Heuvel’s 2011 projects included creating a soon-to-be-launched, improved website that has a directory of community resources.
 
She says she will continue to work on creating a strong network of counselling resources for PTS clients.