Treasurer signals Time for "Change"

Arts Council treasurer Jack Bennest has given the OCAC notice of his intent not to stand for re-election in February 2012. He has assured the Board that he has enjoyed his term and hopes to remain an active member of the council but that after three years, it will simply be “time for a change”.

Bennest has implemented a number of “changes” during his tenure, all of which have streamlined the job. One of his first projects was changing the fiscal year to the January-December model. This brought the council more into standard accounting, and in accordance with the the fiscal years of funding organizations such as the BC Arts Council. Jack has also simplified the monthly financial statements, making them more accessible to other Board members.

Besides making changes, Jack likes having “change”.  He has stressed that all programs must operate as “cost-neutral”. As a result, program committees have become much more budget- conscious, seeking sponsorships and partnerships to decrease program delivery costs. Bennest states he has been “happy-happy-happy” with high cost programs operating in the black during these last two years. The picture shows Jack smiling at the Fall Art Show and Sale 2009. He will be leaving his post with the arts council in a good financial position. Ka-ching!

Jack has recommended spending “spare change”. Far from clutching purse-strings tight, Jack has encouraged judicious spending of funds held in reserve. “Use reserve funds sooner rather than later” has been his mantra, to avoid reserves being drained of their value as the cost of inflation increases.  As a result, the Board has made several careful capital improvements, and has other capital spending in the works, courtesy of Oliver Rotary funds. These include partial funding of new insulated rollup doors on the Studio Building and the bulk of the funds for landscaping.

Currently Bennest is filling out the new online CADAC forms. CADAC (Canadian Arts Data/ Données sur les arts au Canada) is the new integrated financial and statistical online database for arts organizations to record their operational and programming finances. CADAC uses a web-based application that is intended to lighten the administrative burden on arts organizations applying for operating funding to one or multiple public funders by enabling them to submit one set of financial and statistical information.

The arts council has five months to locate a new Treasurer. This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in the position to be trained while the current Treasurer is still in place. No artistic ability is required, just an interest in finances. Contact olivercac or speak to any Board member to recommend a volunteer or to find out more about the position.

Photo Credit: Val Friesen (file)