Rutland Park Society remains in state of flux

Some resigned board directors offer to return to the society board, but idea is rejected by one of the two remaining board members.

An attempt by several Rutland Park Society board directors to rescind their resignations has been rejected by one of the two remaining board members.

In a press release sent to the media on Thursday, Wendi Swarbrick said the resignations will stand as “the membership strongly feels that your actions were planned well in advance with the intent of harming our society.”

The “your” Swarbrick refers to is the group of women directors among those who resigned in the midst of a board meeting on July 18.

Since that meeting, those involved—Denita Rischka, Cathy Gunderson, Lorena Mead, Kristin Mead, Tracey Parenteau and Laurel D’Andrea—had reconsidered their decisions, feeling it would be better for the society for them to remain on the board for the benefit of continuity until new members could be elected from the society membership.

At present, the board consists of chairman Todd Sanderson and Swarbrick, and those two are not on the same page as to how the society can or should proceed.

Swarbrick cited a quote in her news release from Debbie Turner, assistant deputy registrar with BC Registry Services, stating that if a director resigns, that individual is no longer a director.

“There are no rules surrounding rescinding resignations,” Turner added in the news release.

The first casualty of RPS board dysfunction appears to be the Rutland Community Market.

According to Swarbrick, the market vendors were up at least for this past Sunday inside Centennial Hall.

The market has been held in Roxby Square, but the board resignations left the society ill-prepared to deal with the paperwork of switching the permit authorizations required by the city.

Swarbrick didn’t indicate if or when the market vendors will return to Roxby Square next week, but a breakfast was served for market visitors and the society had intended to actively promote the sign-up of new members.

In the aftermath of the board resignations last week, there has been considerable confusion about how the society can proceed.

Sanderson initially said a trustee may have to be appointed to oversee the society, which Swarbrick subsequently denounced, saying the society has the ability to elect new directors at a called meeting.

Those directors would remain in place until the society’s annual general meeting in October, when a new board election could formally take place.

The provincial government ministry responsible for compliance with the B.C. Society Act released a statement to the Kelowna Capital News last week saying there is no provision for a trustee to assume control of a non-profit society except if the society is being dissolved.

Otherwise, a general meeting can be convened under the society’s bylaw protocols to fill board vacancies, and that the existence of a non-profit society is not terminated only because it has fewer than three board members.

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