Arts council seeks nominations for president and treasurer

Nominations committee members are busy seeking new volunteers for executive and director  positions on the  arts council Board. The Annual General Meeting is slated for Monday February 25th.

Current president Penelope Johnson will not be seeking re-election for an executive position in 2013. She has offered to stand for another year as  a director on the Board to provide a supportive resource to an incoming chair.  Johnson stated that her “exit strategy when becoming president [for her first term in 2011] was a three year limit”. She has completed two years as president, and believes the best succession plan is to serve as a director in 2013 while acting unofficially in a supportive  “past-president” role to provide continuity in leadership if requested.

Johnson stressed, in recent correspondence to the Board: ” Successive executives have worked hard to create a comprehensive Board manual that can assist new leadership. Board committees have digitally archived their material to ensure that programmes and administration can continue to run effectively despite changes in leadership. Every Board member has at their fingertips all the basic information needed to lead the Oliver Community Arts Council. Even if individuals aren’t replaceable, positions certainly are, and I trust that new leadership will step forward from the membership.”

The outgoing president has also reassured prospective incumbents that ” the role of president is primarily administrative. The president prepares for and chairs the meetings, calls exec meetings as required, and does some public face stuff like answering official communications. The additional things I have done during my terms , such as the Creative Minds newsletter and the website, occasional MCing, writing funding applications, etc can be done by anyone — they are not part of the “package” . They are my contribution as a “director” or “volunteer”. Others can pick those up if interested without being president too! And I am willing to continue most of those functions as my schedule permits.”

Treasurer Arleyene Farnworth  has also announced she is stepping down, and the hunt is on for a replacement. Previous Treasurer Jack Bennest as well as Farnworth have navigated the arts council through a number of changes in their financial accounting, including changing the fiscal year end, uploading financial information to  to CADAC (a public funding database required for all arts councils), and streamlining the bookkeeping.

At their January meeting, the Board will be discussing the feasibility of breaking the position of Treasurer into two components: a bookkeeper to perform the accounting functions of preparing monthly statements, year-to-date, and year end review and an elected “executive Treasurer” who liaises with the bookkeeper and reports at the meetings. This position would require no advanced bookkeeping skills, but some responsibility in handling money and reporting to the Board. This executive treasurer may perform some of the simpler duties such as collecting invoices,  receipts, and revenue for the bookkeeper, writing cheques, and keeping an eye on the overall budget.

The Board will be discussing the cost of hiring a bookkeeper and a cost-benefit analysis of dividing the duties in this way. “Paying that monthly expense may be worth it if it means finding a person willing to stand as Treasurer AND making their  job much more pleasant to do,” explains Johnson. “We just have to crunch the numbers. If we can find someone who can do both functions, that’s great too!”

Overall the arts council president reassures, “No arts council Board position should  be daunting. And no one should feel they are working on their own. We have more resource material now than at any previous point on the council, both in terms of written records and in terms of personnel. People are available to support newcomers to the Board and to give guidance to new executive roles, whether that’s consultation or hand holding! It’s an opportunity for someone new to put their own stamp on a position and take their role  in a new direction!”

Nominations for any Board position or information about  Board duties can be directed to the committee by contacting the arts council at or by reaching the committee chair at 250-498-3597. (Nominations will be confirmed   with the approval of the person nominated, and must be seconded at the Annual General Meeting to appear on the final slate.)