Rebuilding QIA

Board members discuss structure, finances in Qikiqtarjuaq



After months of turmoil and staffing issues, members of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association board of directors say the organization is getting back on track.

At the beginning of a four-day board meeting in Qikiqtarjuaq this week, acting QIA president Thomasie Alikatuktuk said the non-profit organization, which works to ensure Inuit in the Baffin region are being served by federal and territorial governments, is making a fresh start.

“We all know last year there were a lot of turnovers with staff,” Alikatuktuk said to the members, referring to mass resignations of staff members last spring and summer and the firing of president Meeka Kilabuk last fall.

Since then, eight vacant positions have been filled, and three more are expected to be filled within the month.

With new staff comes new policy analysis and change. One possible change up for discussion is a motion to split the Ulu Development Commission.

The joint board of directors that controls the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) and the Kakiavak Association (KA), could be split into two separate boards under QIA.

QC is a development corporation, and QIA owns all the voting shares. KA is a non-profit society that offers funding for things such as economic development, small business and training. QIA is its only member.

A report from the Ulu board presented to QIA at the meeting this week recommends QIA dissolve the current board structure and create two separate entities. It goes on to suggest QIA reduce the number of board members on each board to five from seven while still appointing a QIA executive committee member to chair each board.

“We’ve been planning for maybe a year and a half now,” the president said. However, the issue had not been raised at the meeting as of Nunatsiaq News’ press time.

Homeless president

At his first board meeting since being appointed interim president, Alikatuktuk told members that things are beginning to run smoothly.

One glitch, however, is that Alikatuktuk still lives in his home community of Pangnirtung, rather than in the QIA president’s house in Iqaluit.

Former president Meeka Kilabuk has been living in the house even after board members voted to ask for her resignation last July.

The matter has gone before court and board member Terry Audla said he could not elaborate on it.

“To date I am homeless in Iqaluit,” Alikatuktuk said in Inuktitut.

He said he felt he was saving the organization money by not staying in a hotel in Iqaluit, but it means he spends much of his time on the phone with his executive assistant in Iqaluit. “I have to make a telephone call every morning to Iqaluit,” he said. “I have to spend between a quarter and a half a day on the telephone.”

If the QIA house becomes vacant in Iqaluit, Alikatuktuk said he will move his family to the capital city.

Pulling things together

Secretary-treasurer Joe Attagutaluk assured members that after nine months of challenges, the finances of QIA are being straightened out.

QIA started its fiscal year in April with no management staff in its finance department, he pointed out. Comptroller John French joined the team in September and with staff help has managed to pull things together, Attagutaluk said.

French presented the consolidated audited financial statements for QIA, KA and QC for the fiscal year 2000-1, and the picture, as most members knew from statements released at their annual general meeting in September, wasn’t pretty.

For the year ended March 31, QIA revenue increased to about $47 million, 17 per cent over the previous year. But expenses also went up — to about $47 million, 29 per cent more than the previous year.

The increased expenses accounted for a decrease in overall profit for the organization. Profit dropped from $4 million to just $87,000 for 2001.

But things look good for 2001-2. French said there should be a surplus of about $200,000 by March, the end of the fiscal year. “To March, we’re in very good financial shape,” he said. “We have enough to get us through and end up with a small surplus.”

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