Jan O'Brien, Teresa Conway, and Greg McDade win Vancity board election

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      Vancity members have dumped two incumbent directors and elected three others, including one incumbent, who were recommended by the board.

      The provincial secretary of the B.C. NDP, Jan O'Brien, was reelected with 9,185 votes, the credit union announced late today. In second place was Powerex president and CEO Teresa Conway with 9,045 votes, followed by third-place finisher Greg McDade, a lawyer, with 6,940 votes.

      The two other board-recommended candidates, retired Telus project manager Michael DuBelko and Vancouver Opera general director James Wright, came fourth and fifth, with 5,502 and 4,438 votes respectively.

      The board did not recommend two incumbents: Wendy Holm, an agrologist who served six years in the 1990 and another four years since 2008; and Lisa Barrett, the former mayor of Bowen Island, who spent the past nine years on the boards of Vancity and the Vancity Community Foundation. They finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively, out of 13 candidates.

      Vancity directors are paid $35,455 per year. Three directors are elected annually to three-year terms.

      Wilson Parasiuk, a former president of Vancity's development arm Vancity Enterprises, claimed to the Straight three weeks ago that it was antidemocratic for the Vancity board to recommend candidates.

      “That’s a rigged election as far as I can tell,” Parasiuk alleged.

      Vancity chair Virginia Weiler, on the other hand, defended the board's recommendations, saying it has "a responsibility to ensure a strong governance framework that strengthens democracy and board performance".

      "The changes made in last year's election were, in fact, in direct response to our members' request for more and better information about the individual candidates to inform their voting," Weiler wrote in a letter to the editor.

      Trailing the recommended candidates and the incumbents were (with vote totals in parentheses): Darren Jukes (2,314), Gil Yaron (1,666), Michael Burke (910), Dallas Kachan (901), Mitch Cramp (897), and Dhorea Kencayd (837).

      "The board is responsible for setting the strategic direction and providing oversight of our credit union and we’re grateful to our members for their continued support in selecting those candidates they believe can help influence the way Vancity serves our members and the communities where we all live and work,” Allen Garr, chair of the nominations and election committee, said in a Vancity news release.

      The credit union has $16.1 billion in assets and more than 479,500 members.



      Paul J

      May 4, 2012 at 10:44pm

      I won't say I'm disappointed as two of three elected were my choices. I do wonder how the elected people must feel given the taint that overlays this election. "Recommendations" and a skewed ballot where certain names appeared first and bolded is not the essence of democracy. Gagging certain candidates from expressing positions on policy is senseless. I trust Vancity will amend its ways and return to a rational system. It has a reputation to consider.


      May 5, 2012 at 12:32pm

      The problem with the VanCity elections is the same problem that pervades many other political organizations. There are the members, and then there is the group of insiders who really run things.

      It is this so-called elite that operates with management to make sure that only those that will toe the party line and will promote the party line get elected. To ensure that, there is this very carefully controlled election process that may, on its face, appear democratic, but is really anything but.

      Not much difference here from how many corporate boards operate.