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Lessons Learned – Association of the Savary Island Committee (ASIC)

Lessons Learned

Back in June, when the Directors decided to take on a virtual AGM, one reason was to avoid potential COVID restrictions so as to enable the maximum attendance possible. ASIC’s highest AGM attendance so far was in 2011 with 126 members at the main firehall, and the AGM this year may have come close with several of the 100 Zoom spots shared by 2 participants at the start of the meeting, plus some attendees in the Zoom chat. We appreciate the openness of our members to this meeting alternative, as technology improves and more people have access to decent internet on Savary. We also know that online meetings can’t replicate the engaging social nature of in-person gatherings, so the format for next year’s AGM is as yet undecided.

We have received feedback about the meeting, and all is appreciated. One area for improvement and an easy fix in Zoom, is to undo the cap of 100 spots. Despite having a Pro account, there was an error on the back-end set-up that maximized at 100 spots. While the attendance hovered around 98-99 for most of the meeting, during the first 20-30 minutes there were people who were unable to log on. We thank those who jumped off to share a device instead, so as to open up more spots, but we know a few people who missed out on attending, or hearing the full meeting.

We learned that we need to do better at clarifying the voting process, especially as to who was or was not a member and therefore allowed to vote, and the technical process itself. For future ASIC Zoom events involving voting, a registration method could be used to confirm identification and membership of the attendees. The rule against proxy voting was also questioned. We will review the ASIC Bylaws to consider how or if any changes should be considered as the association adapts to new ways of meeting. Answers on membership eligibility will be covered in our next newsletter.

ASIC follows a simplified version of Robert’s Rules, which are standardized methods for discussion and voting. The rules are not always intuitive. We were prepared to accept an amendment to the motion if the membership agreed, but the actual mechanics of an amendment had not been rehearsed, so there was delay and confusion in the process. Members told us later they found it frustrating to vote to amend a motion and see the vote pass with a clear majority, only to have the original motion still stand for the final vote. Ultimately, It was correct to allow the motion’s author the decision as to whether or not the motion would be amended. We will have the amendment process laid out for the next AGM.

There was substantial interest in the community centre motion prior to the meeting. Directors worked hard to provide answers, with input from the author of the motion, and a link to SICCA’s website. This took up a lot of time in the few days prior to the meeting, and we believe it ultimately drove a higher level of engagement. Despite this, it was clear at the AGM that more detail was needed for some members to feel comfortable voting in favour of the motion.

We had underestimated the amount of misinformation that can spread in casual conversations on Facebook or other mediums, without the motions’ authors present to explain, answer questions, and have critical discourse.

We would have liked to spend some time on member questions and ideas on issues besides the one motion, and apologize to those who would have raised questions if they could, including those whose comments in the Zoom chat were not addressed. We would love to hear from you directly: