BC’s parent voice, the Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils has a history fraught with conflict but typically that conflict is directed outside and against the teachers’ union. However, as of late conflict is bursting at the seams within the organization.
In response to what is rather hard to understand from a position outside of the inner circle, current President and ‘CEO’ Ron Broda has apparently said that:
“If the membership chooses to elect a 1st Vice-President other than my stated preferred choice, the membership will be electing a New President as I will resign effective immediately at that time (emphasis added).
In a long and, at times, hard to follow email Broda outlines a litany of ‘stupid mes’ and ‘stupid acts’ in which he names other BCCPAC and parent volunteers (including himself) and what he alleges are their various and sundry stupid acts. For the majority of us on the outside of this circle it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
If this were simply a small insignificant organization it wouldn’t merit much attention. However, the BCCPAC is a recipient of the larges of the provincial government to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the BCCPAC sits at critical provincial stakeholder tables, and ultimately this organization is supposed to represent a diversity of perspectives from across our province. All of this makes the internal squabbling of the BCCPAC a very important public issue. Is this the organization to be put in charge of hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars?
Perhaps a new broom might be the right choice come the Annual General meeting in May.
What follows is the text attributed to Ron Broda
Subject: Stupid me
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 06:05:05 -0800
Since the events following my e-mistake in the early hours of this past Thursday morning I have been reflecting a lot on the actions and beliefs of “stupid me”. Before I expand on those thoughts I want to provide the requested clarification on my inappropriate, accidentallyposted but truthful and accurate comments.
1. Never mind the actions that led to Ms. Longstaff having her committee duties removed, stupid act Ms. Longstaff for posting that fact on the BCPDAC Yahoo group. I guess the lesson was not learned from her first experience that generated a complaint in June 2008.
2. Stupid act Ms. Arthurs for probing this matter on a list serve, BCDPAC Yahoo, instead of making a discreet, direct and personal inquiry of the individual(s) involved to learn the facts.
3. Stupid act Ms. Arthurs for posting a reply to an inappropriate conversation on the Yahoo (maybe YAHOO is an appropriate name for this group?) group on BCCPAC’s pacdpac list serve as well.
4. Stupid act Ms. Arthurs for not recognizing your error when you received Kim’s post inquiring what your first post on BCCPAC’s list was all about.
5. Stupid act Ms. Arthurs in posting an inappropriate disclosure of unconfirmed rumours about the status of BCCPAC Board members.
Now to “stupid me”:
1. Stupid me for thinking that as soon as I recognized that I had made a mistake, admitted it freely on my own volition and apologized for it sincerely that anybody would care or accept my apology.
2. Stupid me for being awake at 2:35 in the morning and working on BCCPAC business.
3. Stupid me for spending 40 – 60 hours every week working as an unpaid volunteer for an organization whose members criticize its leaders’ efforts freely, frequently and with little knowledge of facts and circumstances.
4. Stupid me for seeking election to the President’s position after having been on BCCPAC’s Board for three years and witnessing first hand the long thankless hours worked by my predecessor.
5. Stupid me for expecting civil and courteous behaviour from BCCPAC members after having witnessed first hand the rude and disrespectful comments of a member (Julianne Doctor) made about the daughter of our Past President who was volunteering her time to assist at a BCCPAC AGM.
6. Stupid me for expecting BCCPAC members to show some understanding for differences of opinion and the inevitability of human mistakes after having experienced hostile and disrespectful behaviour while chairing two previous AGMs. Some people just simply can’t take a joke or display any humour at all!!
7. Stupid me for bringing my wife to the Member consultation session in Parksville on January 24th where she had the experience of having a BCCPAC member (John Bird) immediately cease what had been a friendly conversation and leave her table never to return again as soon as he learned her last name.
8. Stupid me for bringing my wife to that same event so that while she was in the women’s washroom she could hear another BCCPAC member (Barb Lund) make false and derogatory comments about me and my previous work in Saanich. Maybe Barb would like to inform us all about the truly trusting and effective working relationship that she has cultivated with Saanich’s School Superintendent and report on a rather interesting meeting between her DPAC’s Executive and Saanich District staff that took place this past fall. I understand from various sources that it was really “positive and respectful”, NOT!!!
9. Stupid me for expecting that a parent that I had worked with and had previously thought that I had a reasonable working relationship with (Cathy Barber) would feel comfortable enough and be courteous enough to pick up the phone and call me directly and express a concern before posting her “dismay” at my freely admitted mistake on the pacdpac list serve. But then I guess it’s far easier to criticize from behind a keyboard than to personally ask for an explanation.
10. Stupid me for thinking that providing confirmation of the information disclosed by Ms. Longstaff and the rationale for it that members who felt free to take cheap derogatory pot-shots at me would have the decency to offer an apology or even post something to the effect that the information should cause members to think about what is really happening on BCCPAC’s Board. My how silent it is now in the presence of a few facts!! Save any apologies for me now. I don’t need one. The people who really deserve a heartfelt apology from the cheap shot artists and critics are:
My youngest daughter Shayla, who HATES BCCPAC because it takes me away from home so often and for so long and makes her dad grumpy and irritable at times,
My wife Linda, who last week saw first hand the extremely negative and hostile world in which I spend 40-60 hours a week for free,
The members of BCCPAC who are supportive of the work that IS being done despite all of the unnecessary distraction caused by a vocal and negative few,
The professional staff of BCCPAC, and in particular Carla Giles, whose work is needlessly complicated and slowed by the antics of a few, and
The children of BC who we are supposed to be working on behalf of instead of dealing with needless and stupid BIG KID issues.
Resign some of you have said. You have no idea how many times that I have thought of doing just that. But stupid me for thinking that I can make a difference to this organization. Stupid me for thinking that the BCCPAC membership would give me the time to implement the recommendations from the governance audit to fix many of this organization’s ills If I decide to make the only really smart decision for me personally and my family, who is ready and willing to step up and fill this role?
Well BCCPAC members it should be obvious to you all that you have a split and dysfunctional Board. Some of us want to fix the problems and move forward. Some want to drill holes below the waterline and sink the ship. There is an AGM with a general election coming. Nominations are open. This election is all about the future of BCCPAC. It will be about my vision for BCCPAC’s future and about my leadership. Some of you have suggested a vote of non-confidence in me. That will not be necessary. You, dear members, will soon be receiving a booklet containing information on nominees for the Board positions that are up for election. The key position to be elected this year is the 1st Vice-President position. That is an important succession position and quite likely BCCPAC’s next President. Perhaps more likely than you might think. I will be expressing very clearly to the membership who are the preferred candidates that I would like you BCCPAC members to elect to your Board, that I believe will form an effective team to lead BCCPAC into the future. If the membership chooses to elect a 1st Vice-President other than my stated preferred choice, the membership will be electing a New President as I will resign effective immediately at that time.
BCCPAC members choose carefully!!! You will get the leadership that you ask for. Make your own independent decisions this time rather than relying on others who you may mistakenly think are trustworthy in carrying your proxy. In case you haven’t noticed, there has been blatant manipulation and abuse of the proxy system in the past two general elections. A post on the BCDPAC Yahoo group shortly after last year’s AGM revealed that. “where were Vancouver DPACs proxies?” Right John? You just never know where stuff posted on a “private” list serve will go.
So to all of you brave outraged email critics:
Ana Peasgood, Barb Lund, John Bird, Dana Arthurs, Juliane Doctor, Cathy Barber, Rio Bates, Jeannie Cameron, Katherine Wagner and any others who can do this job better and error free
I expect to see your nomination papers.
I apologize if the frank and truthful expression of my frustration and anger expressed above offends any of you. I needed to say this. So if you’re offended get over it and move on!
Ron Broda, President & CEO
Oh! In case you haven’t noticed the following quote on my emails before it is here for a reason. Some of you should read and take it to heart!!!
“Always tell the truth, not only because it is the decent thing to do, but because it gives you such an advantage over the man who is trying to remember his lies!”
— Sam Brookes
BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils
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