Financial statements a first for Amarok HTA
Official meeting processes remain difficult for members
The Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association has produced audited financial statements for the first time in at least four years, but several members at the annual general meeting in Iqaluit on Monday grilled the board anyway so they could understand exactly how much money is coming and going from the organization.
“I am very proud of the financial statements,” said board member Joshua Kango near the end of a long discussion about the numbers. “We have no finance clerk. Maybe it would be more accurate if we set up a position like that.”
At the 2004 AGM, the financial statements given to the members had not been audited. Statements for 2001 to 2003 were lost, and never presented to the members at all.
In fiscal year 2005-2005, the HTA received $76,000 in core funding from the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board. They also received a one-time payment of $100,000 from the Niqitaq Fisheries Ltd.
The majority of the HTA’s money was spent on the office manager’s salary, and on honoraria for board members, who receive between $112.50 and $150 for every meeting they attend.
But some members were still not pleased on Monday with the information.
For instance, no financial statements were produced from Quliruaq, the HTA’s business arm.
“I’m not sure how many years that Quliruaq has been using some funds and we haven’t seen any financial statement from Quliruaq,” said Natsiq Kango. “Are their statements included in here?”
Nutarajuk Arnauyumayuq, a board member, replied that the board had met with Mackay Landau on Saturday to discuss the Quliruaq statements, and said the two would soon be consolidated, but were not ready for this meeting.
One other major expense was the cost of hiring Iqaluit accounting firm Mackay Landau, which charged $12,000 to look over the statements, reported Joshua Kango, even though that money did not appear as a line item in the HTA’s list of expenses.
The financial debate went on for well over an hour before an elderly man took the microphone to propose the meeting move ahead — to much applause.
But that proved difficult as the members had to sort through several different motions before moving onto the next agenda item.
In fact, the confusion began at the very outset of the meeting when the membership hesitated to pass a motion to accept the previous year’s minutes.
Alicee Joamie detected the confusion early and offered some advice to the board.
“When you see the members confused on how to run the meeting, you don’t have much confidence,” she said. “So I would like you to organize these meetings very well.”
The confusion got worse during the next agenda item, when members were asked to vote on whether to extend the term of board members.
The Qikitaaluq Wildlife Board had recommended extending the terms to cut down on board turnover. Board member Sytukie Joamie wanted to put that to a vote, so members could choose between two, three and four year terms, by secret ballot.
But that required passing a motion before the vote could begin, and before that happened, debate had already begun.
This discussion took well over an hour, and frustrated many. Several people noted that the HTA’s bylaws lay out a more complex set of rules, which include multiple term lengths. “We are not little children,” one man said.
Different board members repeatedly explained the procedures that had to be followed, yet more questions continued to arise.
Jonah Kelly had some harsh words for acting chairperson Sammy Josephee, who sat serenely at the head table while different board members each tried to explain the procedures.
“You have to be the one coordinating the meeting, because you’re the chairperson,” Kelly said.
Josephee called a vote at 9:55 p.m. Members voted by raising their hands. There was huge applause when office manager Judah Innualuk announced that the vote favoured three-year terms.
The new board will work on amending the HTA by-law, and will decide which members will serve longer terms and which will serve shorter terms, until the terms are staggered so that only two board members’ are re-elected each year.
The membership also voted to keep eight members, rather than move to seven members, as recommended by the QWB.
The meeting lasted until well past 2 a.m., Innualuk said the next day, when new board members were elected.