Thank you to everyone who participated in the first ever virtual AGM of the VSTA, your commitment to uphold our democratic process was a great success. We appreciated your patience as we navigated the challenges of an online voting platform. Although we experienced a few challenges and a lengthy meeting, the essential business of the AGM was conducted.
Many thanks to the SIF Committee, the Finance Committee and Kim Pereira at the VSTA office for their due diligence and hard work on keeping the operations of the VSTA running smoothly and responsibly.
A big thank you to Dave Hamar who put his name forward for Scrutineer. His efforts to make the new process run as smooth as possible were greatly appreciated. Please find the Scrutineer’s Report below.
Thank you to all candidates for putting their names forward, all of whom stepped forward in an effort to make VSTA stronger.
Lastly, many thanks to outgoing members Madeline Brewster, Paul Falardeau, Phil Lee, Preet Lidder, Sara McGarry, Sylvia Metzner and Nigel Reedman and the rest of the 2019-20 Executive Committee for their dedication and countless hours of service over the past year.
Message from Dave Hamar, Scrutineer, at the VSTA AGM 2020
I would like to begin by thanking everyone who voted online during this election. It was a very time-consuming process for all involved and difficult for many, yet shockingly more than 300 votes were cast for most positions including member-at-large at the end. Also, thank you to Maureen Louie (Mo) for the countless hours of dedication she spent both liaising with the company and emailing all of the members well in advance so that fewer would be anxious about this democratic process. Given that this is VSTA’s first attempt at online voting, overall, I believe it was a fair and transparent process.
Were there issues? Absolutely. I will share them with you from my perspective.
Firstly, it took much too long to truly get started. Many members were confused by how to log in and then cast a vote. We received many questions about information which had been openly shared by Mo. For example, several members asked where to find the documents such as the previous AGM minutes or how to access the “live” stream. There were others that wanted in on the zoom conference. All of this information was emailed many days ahead of time, therefore required responses from the office (often from me). This seriously prolonged the start time for voting for nominees because we wanted to answer these questions prior to proceeding. The nomination for the position of president didn’t happen until about 3:40. This delay for many was very frustrating.
Secondly, the first large hiccup occurred when a member let me know that they had nominated themselves for 1st VP while we were already voting for 2nd VP. They stated that an email was sent, but it was never received by Mo (or I). They asked why they weren’t included in the ballot and they were able to forward the original email well after the acclamation for 1st VP took place. At that point, I needed some help with deciding what to do to make sure that it was fair for this member, but didn’t want everyone else to have to wait. So, we asked the company to pause the voting for the 2nd VP to figure this procedural issue out. Many minutes went by as voters waited. Mo and I decided to have a re-vote for 1st VP and as we were setting this up, the member decided to withdraw their name. By that time, many voters had finished voting for 2nd VP but it wasn’t clear how many stopped because of the message stating that there was a technical issue being addressed. To keep it as fair as possible at that point, we called a re-vote for the 2nd VP. The results of that vote were almost identical. There were 371 members who voted in the first round and 372 who voted in the second round. The percentage of members who voted for the eventual winner in the second attempt was almost identical to the first. So, we carried on.
Thirdly, throughout the process there were a small number of members (about 20) that emailed the office with complaints of not being able to vote each time. Some members didn’t regularly refresh their browser, and others simply received the email too late causing them to miss a voting opportunity. We asked the company for an explanation but haven’t heard why this was occasionally happening.
Fourthly, one of the winning nominees was accidentally listed as winning the seat of a different position. The company sent an email shortly after explaining this error. On the member-at-large ballot, one member that ran from the floor was excluded from the ballot in error. Luckily, this was quickly adjusted so voters could make their selection with the inclusion of all intended nominees.
Overall, it was a daunting task and one that took MUCH longer than we had hoped, however, I believe it was fair and transparent, and ironically, it was one of the highest voter turnouts in VSTA AGM history even with the apparent challenges. I truly thank members for participating in this democratic process and I hope our experience this year will guide us in any future online elections.
John Oliver Secondary
VSTA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2020-2021
|Treena Goolieff, VSTA
Terry Stanway, VSTA
Alyssa Reid, WRE
John Silver, JO
Shelby Calman, LB
Nancy Palejko, JO
Katharine Shipley, VSTA
Health & Safety
Social & Environmental Justice
Teachers Teaching On-Call
Working/Learning Conditions & Bargaining
Spirit Lavallee, BRIT
Michael-Don Borason, BRIT
Kathryn Walks, JO
Gabrielle Egan, IDEAL
Lindsay Donaldson, VT
Carl Janze, TEMP
Jesse Taylor, MAGEE
Teacher of Colour
Sarah Ng, BRIT
Brendan Sangster, KITS
Nikitha Fester, VT
Scott McKeen, LB
Bal Panesar, EH
Carmen Schaedeli, PW
Jonathan Wynn, WRE