Four board members were voted out following a special Creston Museum Society meeting last night.
Over 100 concerned citizens showed up for the meeting at Trinity church, packing the inside of the chapel, with those who couldn’t get seats standing at the back.
After the sudden dismissal of long-time museum manager Tammy Bradford, the board was pressured to call a meeting to address some concerns.
Many believed they had come to vote on the potential removal of four board members: Lucien Kurata, Paul Dort, Doug Smith, and Duncan Simpson.
But to the crowd’s dismay, only 26 ballots were to be handed out to members of “good standing”.
Those who received a ballot were defined as someone who had paid their fees on time.
The crowd reacted audibly, with many raising their concerns that they had indeed purchased a membership and even brought their receipts.
However, a chair selected by the board refused to accept their memberships.
Additionally, three of the board members who were to be voted out attempted to resign.
All but Dort had intended to resign prior to the vote, but due to the resignations not being on the accepted agenda, they were rejected.
After an hour of deliberation that was at times almost volatile, 25 ballots were gathered.
With a vote of 20-5, the four members of the board were removed, leaving only Brenda Draper and Lou Knafla.
Former long-time mayor Ron Toyota, who was partially responsible for upholding order at the meeting, praised all who attended.
“There’s the odd person that jumps up a little bit, but the majority, as one of the ladies said, thank them for doing their service, even though they’re gone.”
While he appreciated how the guest chair, John Hudak, retired RCMP officer and former Cranbrook city councillor, attempted to rein in the meeting, he questioned why he was brought in in the first place.
“What bothers me is that a special chair had to be brought in when the existing chair was sitting in the audience. Even though it was called a special general meeting, it is still the museum board’s business. So that, to me, concerns me. You didn’t have the players at the front.”
Throughout the meeting, numerous attempts to uproot the chair and have him replaced with Toyota took place.
Finally, after the first item on the agenda was handled, the attention moved to items two and three: an explanation as to why Bradford was dismissed and her potential reinstatement.
However, the chair explained both of those items would be impossible to deal with due to legal reasons.
Toyota says he’s disappointed, but he understands.
“Why did you put three items on the agenda when you knew that two couldn’t be voted on? Because the requisition call asked for that. And the fact that our board allowed a special meeting to happen, I think they should be commended because they could have ignored it and been stubborn.”
Moving forward, a new board must be voted in.
There is no news as to who that will be and when that will happen, but Toyota is hopeful.
“There’s a lot of flaws with this bylaw that they’ve been using. They will have to regroup, and I’m pretty sure the Societies Act or the legal counsel or someone will establish a system, hopefully within the next few days,” added Toyota.
“The real key is we want to see Tammy back at work, and then have a new board or a new committee establish the reason she was let go and confirm whether or not that’s valid, which personally, I think wouldn’t happen.”