The Virden Community Chamber of Commerce will host the President of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce and Virden’s MP this coming Monday for an event, two weeks after the Chamber attempted to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on April 8.
That AGM was “tabled”, in the words of Chamber president Carla McLean, after a former Chamber board member claimed that the board did not have enough members to conduct business at the meeting.
The bylaws of the Chamber state that the board of directors “shall consist of 5 to 12 members”. Three directors were present at the time of the AGM: McLean, vice-president Philip Brooking, and Cheryl Porter.
McLean had invited two potential new board nominees to attend the AGM, but the bylaws state that nominations have to be made by April 1, and must include a written letter of introduction for each candidate before their nomination can be finalized at the AGM.
When this came to light about an hour into the meeting, Paula Brazil, a former Chamber board member, said to McLean, “You need to call this meeting now. Your AGM is over. You have no paid members, and you don’t have a quorum. You can’t come in here with a slate (of candidates). I was wondering who these two ladies are.
“You can’t do this. You have no board.”
It was not clear how many businesses have paid-up memberships in the Chamber. Brazil says she tried last year to pay the annual membership for her employer, the Royal Bank, but, “I gave my credit card info and signed that paper in January and found out in October it’s not processed, and I’m working here all year without a membership.”
Bobbie Heaman of Custom Creations said, “This is what I’m talking about, the disorganization of an organization that should be very structured. Some of the businesses in town are struggling with that, why they do not want to be part of it.”
Attendees also asked about the frequency of meetings, notification of members prior to the AGM and the availability of 2018 financial statements at the meeting.
The Chamber’s constitution as posted on its website (http://www.virdenchamber.ca/chamber/constitution/) states: “A majority of the members present at any annual or general meeting are competent to do and perform all acts that are or shall be directed to be done at the meeting.”
The constitution also states that “If any vacancies arise among the board of directors by any reason, the board of directors may appoint a member representative to fill the vacancy.”
McLean explained at the meeting that the Virden Chamber is coming out of “a horrible couple of years.
“We know we need to change for today’s business… we’re trying to give this chamber a complete facelift. The good part is, we figured out where we don’t need to spend money, which is something we needed to do because we were spending on events that weren’t giving our members what they were looking for. So hopefully as we move into this year, with changes, there will be things that people see as valuable. We just don’t have enough bodies to do everything.”
It was suggested the Chamber consult with the head of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, Chuck Davidson, who is coming to Virden to speak at a Chamber-hosted event this coming Monday (April 22).
The event, titled “A Vision of Our Future,” will be held at Sacred Heart Parish Hall from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition to Davidson, Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire and entrepreneur Michelle Budiwski are scheduled to speak.