Goodwin takes over as Hyack president
Peter Goodwin is in, and Gavin Palmer is out as Hyack Festival Association president, although one former president questions the legitimacy of either man holding the position.
The embattled association held its annual general meeting Monday with Palmer moving on to become past-president while Goodwin, who was Hyack president in 2007, taking over.
“It was a real challenge in 2007 so I don’t expect it to be much different [in 2014],” said Goodwin. “Getting things back on the right foot, and that’s what I expect to be able to provide for the association. I’ve been through it all before, I’ve seen it all, so to speak. I believe I can provide the stability to get on a proper footing.”
Hyack was beset with problems in 2013. They were triggered by the firing of executive director Douglas Smith on July 31. The subsequent fallout involved Smith threatening a wrongful dismissal suit and later agreeing to a severance settlement.
An emergency meeting was scheduled in October to deal with motions from dissidents to remove Palmer and other members of the executive. Motions removing the dissidents from the board of directors were added to the meeting’s agenda by the executive. When all but one of the dissidents resigned the morning of the meeting, Palmer cancelled it. But the dissident group went ahead with it anyway, ‘removing’ Palmer, vice-president Alan Wardle and treasurer Gloria Munro.
The next day, Mayor Wayne Wright called the controversy a fiasco, and council later pulled its funding—up to $180,000 including in-kind services—until the society’s governance is reviewed and finances audited. Although the city took over running of the Santa Claus Parade in December, the executive continued on.
“I would like to think that most of those matters are behind us. Hopefully the city [is] satisfied and we will be able to carry on as we have in the past,” said Goodwin. “What was lost in a lot of the ugliness in what happened is that Douglas Smith had a lot of good ideas, and the board will move forward with those ideas.”
Goodwin will be joined on the executive by Palmer, Munro, vice-president Michail Boncea, secretary Ryan Ferrer and president-elect Wayne Fredin.
But 2012 Hyack president Bill Radbourne said Goodwin—who replaced Nadine Proulx as president elect after she resigned in the middle of the controversy—and other board of directors appointed to replace the dissidents did not go through proper nomination procedures prior to the AGM.
“I thought [the AGM] was a farce anyway because they appointed Peter Goodwin to the board and made him president-elect and then didn’t put him on the nomination page,” said Radbourne.
However, Goodwin, a lawyer at a Downtown New Westminster firm, said he was properly elected at Monday’s meeting.
After a long association with the organization, Radbourne said he and his wife are not even going to retain their membership. Lynn Radbourne said she was fired from running the Miss New Westminster Ambassador program by Hyack while the association said she resigned.
“They think this will all go away, that they’ve done nothing wrong, and they’re going to get all the sponsorships back and everything will be hunky dory,” said an exasperated Bill Radbourne.
One of the dissidents who resigned from the board isn’t optimistic about Hyack’s future.
“All you have to do is look at the board that is elected,” said Ron Unger. “It’s the past president and their friends. By the people they’ve elected I don’t see how they can be representative of the community at large and what the community at large wants to see in terms of who puts on the parades and festivals in the city of New Westminster,” said Ron Unger.
Cathie Gibson has been serving as Hyack’s interim executive director. Goodwin said finding a permanent person will depend largely on how much funding the association is able to obtain.