Historic Society president recants resignation

The Nechako Valley Historical Society is going through a change in leadership, or are they?

John Alderliesten, president of the Nechako Valley Historical Society (NVHS), has decided not to officially resign until he gets some answers.

“The carpets getting lifted and things are being swept under it,” Alderliesten  said. “There are some things that need to be clarified before my official resignation will be submitted to the society.”

The move follows a March 24 NVHS meeting when Alderliesten and two other board members announced their resignation.

Treasurer Gene Mitran and director-at-large Bradley Smith each submitted written resignations to Jessi Wilson, vice president of the NVHS, who stepped into the role as acting president. However, Alderliesten did not submit a written resignation which makes the matter a little complicated, Smith said.

“At the meeting Gene and I were certain but John hadn’t made up his mind. When dealing with the resignation of an executive position, resignation needs to be done in writing and the president has to accept it. Since John hasn’t actually resigned, Jessi is not the president so technically our resignations are still in limbo,” Smith said.

Alderliesten said his reason for resigning was because the District of Vanderhoof (DOV) plans to cut funding for 2015 by 50 per cent causing uncertainties for the upcoming season. He claims in 2014 the society got a fraction of what they expected which forced the group to use up reserves and ultimately led to the Vanderhoof museum site being closed last year.

“It’s just too frustrating with summer coming up and no certainty of income or action from the DOV. It’s time to let someone else do it,” Alderliesten said. “Volunteerism is out of fashion and to get people to do anything these days is tough. Some positions just need to be hired.”

The DOV has until now been the sole source of funding for the NVHS. Alderliesten admits he’s done no fundraising throughout his year-and-a-half reign.

NVHS liaison and DOV councillor Ken Young, said the NVHS has previously been given more than most groups but because of funding cuts the council can no longer fund them any more than any other community group.

“We don’t ever fund societies 100 per cent but we’ve historically funded the chamber and historic society [more than others] to run their base costs. We’re also chasing grants to have a curator and students working there [this summer]…we just never got on the same page with them on planning. I think the volunteers worked really hard… and we want to continue to work with them in making the site successful because we believe in the museum and know it’s importance to the community.”

Although he still plans to resign, Alderliesten now questions Wilson’s agenda and said some things need to be clarified before he officially steps down.

“I want to wait because I question the installation of a new board as some of the proposed new board members are not even members,” he said. “At the meeting she had everything ready to go and I know it’s not just her…you can’t just make a board overnight.”

Wilson has since started working with community groups and the District of Vanderhoof on moving forward, to just get past all of this, she said.

“This will be a complete fresh start. I want the museum opened up this year because having it closed affects our businesses and our tourism negatively. I have many connections to various community groups and together we will work to make the museum site shine like the jewel it is.”