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Response to Requisition Letter
The Creston and District Historical and Museum Society acknowledges the concern and interest of the many concerned and interested followers of controversy related to the oversight of the Museum by the directors. Amongst the concerned directors who have been the subject of threats, accusations of criminal conduct, we note these individuals include the following Board members who have given long term service as volunteers to the ‘Society:’
Lou Knafla: currently treasurer with 17 past years as volunteer, director and president;
Paul Dort: currently vice-president with 6 years as volunteer, director, secretary and treasurer;
Luke Kurata: currently president with 8 years as volunteer, director, treasurer, vice-president
Duncan Simpson: 5 years as volunteer and director;
Doug Smith: 1 year as volunteer and currently a director; and
Brenda Draper: 1 year and currently director and secretary.
As directors, we take our obligations under the Societies Act very seriously and acknowledge our fiduciary duty to always act in what we believe to be the best interests of the Society, and to abide the ethical duty of loyalty to Society as paramount to other loyalties we might have to other institutions or individuals. We acknowledge that we are governed by our Constitution, Bylaws (2021) and the Societies Act of British Columbia, with the further duties of knowing and understanding the laws and legislation of British Columbia and Canada that govern our conduct as individuals and collectively as the board – the directing mind and will of the Society.
Much controversy has arisen, and accusations have been unleashed at certain Board members which we are constrained from addressing or refuting because they relate to an individual. The Personal Information Protection Act of British Columbia and related statutes and court
rulings effectively prohibit the Society from disclosing information of a personal nature regarding
any individual without the clear unequivocal consent of that individual, and in most cases after
having the benefit of independent legal advice.
Since July 25, 2023, the directors of the Society were denied access to of our systems and records because they lacked the requisite current password to the website and intellectual property lawfully owned by the Society. The Board has spent many days struggling to attend to the Society’s business, and particularly the Society’s Google Workspace, thus preventing us from accessing the Society’s official records. We have been working tirelessly to regain access to our systems and records.
It is with regret that the Board must inform the Society membership and concerned individuals that due to the loss of control and the inability to access our lawfully owned website, coupled with the possible loss of data during that period of time when the Board could not access the Society’s website or associated Google Workspace, routine matters could not be accomplished. On the advice of professional IT personnel, the original website on google workplace has been recovered, but we have no knowledge of what may have been lost or added in the interim. This website and domain, of which we have now gained control, has been secured and moved to a
new server where it is being brought up to date. The action was essential for the protection of the Society, its emails, and the personal information of individuals.
Accordingly, we are unable to accept your requisition as valid at this time. Though we would like to validate the requisition, it is currently impossible for us to do so. Without our register of members, as of August 4, we cannot determine whether the 10% threshold has been met. Further, there is no point in us calling a general meeting if we can’t determine who could vote at such a meeting. We ask for your patience as we work to recover our systems and records.
Many interested individuals may be frustrated by the matter of informetric failures that have caused delay and may cause some further delay. While this is understandable, we repeat the advice of our legal counsel that employment information is protected under the Personal Information Protection Act, and it is against the law for the society to engage in discourse. This constraint is equally frustrating for the Board as there is no information upon which the Board
can be judged for its compliance with its fiduciary duty and the duty of loyalty to the Society. We are keenly aware that false and misleading information is circulating, wish to correct this mis-information, and explain certain Board decisions. But we cannot do so without violating privacy rights, and risking legal and financial consequences to the Society.
Therefore, it is not legal for the Society to disclose or discuss employment matters without the consent of affected individuals.
It has also come to our attention that certain individuals have been selling memberships without the authorization of the Board. Please note that a person may only become a member of the Society in accordance with the Bylaws, and memberships acquired in a manner inconsistent with the Bylaws are not valid.
As a Board, we are committed to moving forward in a professional manner to keep all
concerned individuals fully informed. We are working with our accountant to prepare a full audit of our accounts, which will be shared with members in due course. We are also reworking the Society’s website to bring it line with nonprofit best practices. The website will have a Governance section, which will include the Constitution and Bylaws, annual reports, minutes of members, and financial statements so that members and the public can have complete confidence in in the management of the Society’s finances.
If you have any questions or comments to share with us, we are confident that in due course you will be able to contact us. We will do our best to respond to your inquiries while maintaining compliance with all laws.
We ask that if you interact with our staff, your words and actions are respectful and kind. This has been a very challenging experience, and our staff deserve better. As an employer, we are required to provide a safe work environment, so aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated. Thank you again for your interest in Creston and District Historical and Museum Society. We look forward to continuing our mission to preserve and promote our community’s rich history.
Luke Kurata: President / Chairperson
Paul Dort: Vice-President
Brenda Draper: Secretary
Lou Knafla: Treasurer
Doug Smith: Director
Duncan Simpson: Director