CiCR Part Two

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 Parrsboro Radio Society, the road to legal defeat

We have a very unfortunate situation here where there appear to be…two factions in the Parrsboro Radio Society, which is, I’m not familiar with it being from Halifax, but I’m sure it’s a great little community institution and it’s unfortunate to see two groups running a good community institution like that come up against each other in this fashion — Mr. Justice Robert Wright, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Amherst, February 18, 2013

by Bruce Wark

240px-CourtGavel July 19, 2012 was a fateful day for the Parrsboro Radio Society (PRS), the non-profit group that operates CiCR, a small community station that sometimes bills itself as “the voice of the Minas Basin.” On that sunny, summer morning, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Nick Scaravelli was setting dates for a lawsuit that pitted the PRS Board, of which I was then a member, against a rival group seeking access to CiCR’s financial records as well as minutes of its Board of Directors meetings. The rival group consisted of Sarah Hartman, Carrie Goodwin, Saundra Spence and George Spence.

Judge Scaravelli looked down from his bench into the cavernous courtroom and asked PRS lawyer Melissa MacAdam why the four couldn’t see the documents. MacAdam replied that the people seeking them didn’t have standing. She meant that they were not members of the PRS. Three of them had actually been expelled by its Board of Directors six months before. Under PRS bylaws, members have the right to see books and minutes, but non-members don’t.

Turning Point

The courtroom exchange  was a turning point in a fight for control of the radio station that had begun more than a year earlier in March 2011, when the small group running the station began to split into two rival factions. Eventually the factions formed their own Boards of Directors, each claiming to be the “real” Board.

The exchange between Judge Scaravelli and lawyer MacAdam was a turning point because it showed that the lawsuit would hinge on the issue of whether the PRS Board of Directors (Board A) acted according to proper procedures on January 20, 2012 when it expelled members of the rival Board of Directors (Board B), elected on November 4, 2011. In other words, Robert Wright, the judge who eventually heard the case, would have to decide whether what he called the “Hartman-Spence group” were still members of the PRS and therefore, entitled to view the books and minutes. It also meant that the judge would not need to weigh other factors, including a controversial visit to the radio station by members of Board B.

That visit happened on December 9, 2011, a cold wintry day. CiCR station manager Ross Robinson had left town for a few hours when Don Jewers, Chair of Board A answered a knock at the station’s door. Jewers opened it to find an RCMP officer accompanied by six members of the rival group.

In a later statement, Jewers wrote: “Although they did not show me a court order or any other legal papers, the police said I had to let them in and that since I was clearly upset, it would be better if I left the premises which I did. They then gained access to all of the files, books and records at the radio station. When we returned after the station’s Christmas dinner that evening, we noticed that the locks had been changed at the radio station and that financial records, approximately $1,900 in cheques, $100 in cash and an $800 digital recorder had been taken.”  (Three days later, the RCMP confiscated the documents, cheques, cash and recorder and moved them to their detachment in Parrsboro.)

As the conflict deepened,  the Don Jewers group took a number of steps against its rivals. The steps included repeatedly broadcasting the names of those who had entered the station; obtaining restraining orders to prohibit further visits; and, expelling members of the rival Board from membership in the PRS.

Judge Wright focuses on fairness

In court, on February 18, Judge Wright ruled that those expulsions were not proper under PRS bylaws because the members were not given notice of the meeting to expel them and therefore, had no opportunity to defend themselves. Earlier, he made a crucial ruling when Board member Alexander Lich, who was presenting the PRS case, conferred with station manager Ross Robinson and then tried to explain the reason for the expulsions:

“Your Honor, I just conferred with Mr. Robinson,” Lich said, “and he told me that the action to remove those members from the Society was because they illegally entered the Society office and took files and documents and other things from the Society.”

“We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves with that,” Judge Wright replied. “The threshold issue that I have to decide today is whether or not the memberships of these four persons was validly terminated on January 20th, 2012.” He added: “It seems to me that this is boiling down to a very focused legal question.”

When the issue of why PRS issued the expulsions came up a second time, Judge Wright was even clearer when he told Lich that, “it’s not for the court to make a decision as to whether the membership termination was justified, that’s not before me, simply the issue before me is whether or not the termination was carried out in accordance with the bylaws and the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.”

Later, Judge Wright read aloud the PRS bylaw governing expulsions:

“Membership in the Society shall cease if by a vote of the majority of the members of the Society or a majority vote of the directors of the Society at a meeting duly called (and here’s the key part) and for which notice of the proposed action has been given, the member’s membership in the Society has been terminated.

“That clearly requires a member to be given notice of the planned action to terminate their membership,” he added. “It’s as plain as day. Not only is it a requirement of the bylaw, but to have acted in the manner that the directors acted on January 20th, was also a breach of the common law duty of procedural fairness.”

The PRS must now provide the books and minutes to the Hartman-Spence group and treat them as members in good standing at future meetings. An Annual General Meeting of the Parrsboro Radio Society has been called for April 6, 2013. What may happen there is anyone’s guess.


39 Responses to CiCR Part Two

  1. Sandy Graham says:

    The clarity now shone on these issues is refreshing, maybe even – dare I say it – motivating.

    Understandably, many Parrsboro citizens were confused by the layers of incidents and events, the misinformation that was circulating by word of mouth and social media, and the misunderstandings that resulted. It’s enough to make anyone run in the opposite direction. As Jackie Quinn stated in an earlier post, “I am in disbelief that any of this even happened.” Nor is she alone when she expressed the sentiment: “Just think of all the lawyer fees that could have been applied to upgrading the society instead of burying it.”

    And while it is tempting to lay blame, surely Judge Wright, in his ruling, established clearly where things went wrong, and why. We can try to move forward now, with the right leadership, and perhaps frame at least some of the mistakes of the PRS Board by understanding that “the problem is not that a group or an individual occasionally slips into poor practice, but that intelligent, caring individuals regularly exhibit procedures of governance that are so deeply flawed” (John Carver, Boards that Make a Difference, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1990). Full disclosure: I’ve made dumb mistakes in my life, too.

    In addition (as Jackie also mentioned) this should be a time to begin mending bridges, not burning them. Yes, some hard decisions will have to be made; Parrsboro Community Radio is not “out of the woods” yet. There are some difficult issues to resolve, and some serious planning to be undertaken. And this has to happen with a clear sense of purpose, ethical guidelines, and last but not least, creativity. My own humble view is that no funds will be forthcoming (and funds will be needed) without them. And with all due charity, I must state that I cannot afford the time and energy to get involved in a group that won’t plan, and won’t at least try to get its governance and operational “ducks in a row”. And here is a tip: funding agencies and philanthropists typically feel the same way.

    Yes, as Bruce Wark concluded, “an Annual General Meeting of the Parrsboro Radio Society is due soon. What may happen there is anyone’s guess.” I can guess, but I prefer to hope; that we can be professional and civil in our actions, attitudes and behaviours (as Jackie put it, acting in a “civilized adult manner”), put personal differences aside, and come together to forge a unity of purpose about what Parrsboro Radio means – and could mean – “within this green and pleasant land”.

    Sandy Graham

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

  2. Gordon Heffler, Broadcast Engineer, Consultant says:

    Well yes, but all should keep in mind that the mission of the future for this station is to move forward and not get stuck in the past…bury the past then plan a workable proper future for this radio station (3 year plan) and move legally toward those goals…it is that or else it will see a very poor end to the whole thing…so the membership has some tough decisions to make going forward and will need majority support to go forward.

    By way of background, my late wife Juanita (Colpitts-Power) Heffler started dreaming about us starting a radio station for “her” hometown of Parrsboro back in 1992. With the help of others (including Saundra and Tom Spence) the station became a part-time and then a full-time reality.

    It was at one point our plan to move from my job in Halifax to the area to run that station. She as having been born in Parrsboro and having moved away to Halifax at age 16, had kept close ties with family in Parrsboro. She warned me that we would never move right into town because she said folks could be tough on newcomers and so we would have moved to a nearby community and were beginning to establish in the Economy area where we had a cottage.

    Well, she did not live to see the station actually go on full time, but she did see it come into reality and she was pleased to be involved right up until 2001 when her illness prevented her from continuing. She and I are recognized as two of the five or six founding members!

    It would so honour her memory for this station to survive even if it takes a course correction for that to happen. I also feel the same way in loving memory of her hopes for that little town that does deserve a home-grown radio. If this station fails for whatever reason, there will not ever be the chance for a new local Parrsboro radio station that is not a satellite broadcast of either Amherst or Truro. That would be truly a shame and also deprive all the folks of the communities from Parrsboro down to and including Advocate which are the areas where the Parrsboro Radio could expand to include coverage in future.

    This is a second opportunity for Parrsboro Community Radio to begin to get it right. Don’t let it slip away! Agree to put the past into history and to move on into a new page in Parrsboro Radio history.

    • Sandy Graham says:

      Mr. Heffler, you have expressed some worthy sentiments, and your constructive suggestions are well founded, and I happen to agree with them (wonders shall never cease!)

      So true that nonprofits sometimes require just the “course correction” to which you refer. Indeed, every organization should periodically reassess its mandate, and question with open hearts and minds, “Why do we exist?” Such an exercise can serve not only to reaffirm and clarify the reason for existence, the “purpose and objectives” for a society, but may also achieve a greater unity of purpose, and stimulate people to renewed vigour towards those ends which hitherto had seemed incidental to the collective will. In other words; what is important to us, and why (or why not)?

      And that collective. I unfortunately didn’t know your late wife, Juanita, but I have reverence for, and a strong fidelity towards her dream for a Parrsboro Community Radio. Parrsboro Radio may be tarnished, her dream is not (it can’t be). Both can be renewed. And this by an inclusive and tolerant atmosphere towards all who are willing to contribute ideas (even radical ones like mine), and a willingness to entertain – yea, encourage – ideas and assumptions that challenge our own. I learn a lot from people who disagree with me, partly because the sheer exercise in defending one’s points or position is stimulating, but also because (sadly) they’re often right. Of course, my feelings suffer, but that is fleeting. Learning is liberating, and knowledge is power.

      But I emphasize the point about inclusiveness, by way of your quoting Juanita as saying “folks could be tough on newcomers”, partly because of the truth behind it. Being a “come from away” myself, from Ontario – though my mother Carolyn (Wright) was born here – I can relate to this. Small towns in general, but nonprofits as well, need to be aware of and proactive in welcoming not only new ideas (and dreams!), but new people as well. People of different backgrounds, cultures, and colour. Who in Parrsboro can pretend, or deny, that this doesn’t need to be said? And as I’m sure you know, the CRTC has very clear guidelines about being representative of the diversity of a community. Regarding ethical and governance guidelines, one could hardly do better than refer to the Imagine Canada Standards, a set of guidelines for nonprofit agencies.

      I believe you are also on the mark when you write that “if this station fails for whatever reason, there will not ever be the chance for a new local Parrsboro radio station”, and though we should “not get stuck in the past”, there are surely lessons to be learned, and heeded. As columnist Laurent Le Pierrès wrote in 2011 in the Chronicle Herald, about another agency with governance problems, “Our mild-mannered education minister put her foot down and put the boots to the South Shore regional school board. Wow.”

      In a later column, Herald Director of News Content, Dan Leger referred to the “public frustration with the antics of these Mickey Mouse boards.” Le Pierrès continued: “Full marks to Ramona Jennex on that one, for this was not a case of several people doing a bad job because they didn’t know better. Nope, the culprits knew full well the rules of good governance. They ignored them to pursue personal agendas and lost sight of the public good.”

      The public good. That is surely what Juanita had in mind, and yes, we can devote ourselves, and recommit, to her dream. It was, and remains, a worthy and inspiring vision.

      Parrsboro Radio has to some extent lost its vision and its way (I know the feeling). And I’ve worked with numerous boards and committees over the years, and have the scars to prove it. It is normal, to some degree, for nonprofits to lose their sense of direction, to be confused or disagree about it. A recent National Study of Governance found that one of the key issues facing Canadian nonprofits is “mission drift,” but also the need to “professionalize” staff and, last but not least, a “litigious atmosphere.” Sound familiar?

      It doesn’t have to be this way. Dissent and diversity can and should be the strength of a nonprofit society, and community. Let’s get back on track, and make waves, airwaves, as only Parrsboro Community Radio can, because our collective “community” is unique, and through this magic medium of radio should be explored, nurtured, shared and celebrated. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to try.

      Sandy Graham

      “A person’s reach should exceed their grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

      • gordon heffler says:

        Thankyou for your most generous and on track comments…I still reside in Halifax and can only opinionate from afar on these matters but right is right and everyone needs to calm and focus on the future of this endeavour for the citizens’ sake and cool heads need to now be the order of crafting an ongoing mission and plan without prejustice…. Hey you will never get 50 people to all agree unless you agree that as the majority feels needs to become the will of all 50 !!! Think about it! I will stand by and hope that the folks on the firing line here can make progress in planning how to bury past mistakes and resolve to forge into a new era for this endeavour….The Parrsboro Radio Society…Act 3. //Gordon Heffler

      • ROSS ROBINSON says:

        Hi Sandy Graham
        I would just like to enlighten you and your viewpoints and ideas, I find you a very smart individual, with some great qualities to me when I see you, I see a person with great ideas and a conquest to learn more, while Sandy I’m going to give you the opportunity to come help me an intellectual like you with my guidance could conquer just about anything, you talk quite a bit when i see you or pick up you when you’re hitchhiking. I think your unique talents and your writing ability in a conquest for poultry would be great for community radio, how much richer you could make community radio with your talents, so keep this in mind, I have always treated people good and give everybody a chance if they want to take care my friend Ross Robinson

  3. Donna Babineau says:

    It is up to the Board A as to what occurs for the station. Will they still shut/lock the door in our faces? If they do, then the station is doomed! Board B as we are called only want the best for Parrsboro COMMUNITY Radio! Thanks for all of the advice people. I am the first cousin of Juanita (Colpitts) Heffler and honour her memory to the enth degree, but the others do not care as the one in whose house the radio station sits says he owns it. Where does that leave the Community-owned station?

  4. Guy Bergeron says:

    I have been following this situation from afar (Saskatchewan). And it seems to me that a history lesson is needed here.

    The original membership of the PRS was started by me. It was my $20 that formed the official original board. On that board: Guy Bergeron, Heidi Bergeron, Andrew Wagstaff, Gordon Heffler, Juanita Heffler (God rest her soul) and Saundra Spence.

    I had the opportunity to be the Chairman for many years until my stepping down, because I recognized that under my direction I could not bring this radio station to a further advancement (Lack of experience, etc.).

    As much as Juanita had a dream in 92…..I started the ball rolling. Our first broadcast from the basement of the library was a beautiful example of collaboration, mistakes and satisfying moments with the original board having a single target in mind. Let’s make Parssboro a town with a voice.

    We had the heady days of “Dino Radio” (Saundra’s idea BTW), and it had proven successful enough to warrant pushing the idea to the next stage, a full-time radio.

    If you go back to the archives of the Citizen Newspaper, everything I’ve written so far is a matter of record.

    As the station moved and grew, an unease settled amongst it members. I can only call it a “power struggle” (yeah….even in those days). As the “membership” grew, it became apparent (yeah..even then) that certain people were more enticed to be part of the radio station for the glory and control of it then for the gift we were building for the future of Parrsboro. Jealousy developed and all bets were off in one particular broadcast year.

    Now, I have been accused of many things during my tenure there including being a “despot”, and “control freak” an “unbalanced individual” who should seek psychiatric help…because I was running the show in its early stages and other members were not happy with my decisions and ways of handling the broadcasts. But there was never a will from them to take over these responsibilities (even when offered). Of course the rift started waaaayyyy before what is happening today. Is it a surprise? Nope. Considering some of the individuals involved with the station now. Oh, and I was “thrown off the board”….about the same way Board B was. So history does repeat itself. Only I fought back and got re-seated on it a while later when it was clear that I was more of a help then an obstacle.

    Those who knew me, knew that achieving the goal of having a radio station in Parrsboro, was my ONLY motivation in the whole project. I was a member of the local RCMP and this was a nice way to have a productive and positive influence on the town I actually loved to be in. I never had plans to take over anything. In fact, my plan was to hopefully have Gord completing His and Juanita’s dream. I was just happy to surround myself with excellent people and a board which shared this dream too.

    When the station had to move from the old tourist bureau, we had secured a new place at the NSPC vacated building. A perfect place for the radio. However, a mysterious complaint was placed at the NSPC in which the company decided to quash the offer (to this day, we have NO idea who was responsible for the letter…although I’m quite certain who it was.) …and reluctantly, the station ended up in Ross Robinson’s home (not by choice really…but by necessity). This was around the time I retired from the RCMP and moved west.

    Since then, the powers that took over have been trying to hide my involvement in the radio station for some obscure reason. Am I bitter? Nahhhh, The people who are in the “know” are aware of my involvement and I am just happy that there is a radio station in Parrsboro.

    What the station needs now is a strong leadership. A person who will be a reconciling force not a divisional one. Someone has to take charge and be the person to ease and make very tough decisions about the station in order to keep running. It is NOT Ross Robinson’s radio, Gord Heffler’s radio, Guy Bergeron’s radio. It is Parrsboro’s Radio (seem that somewhere…some people forgot that).

    Some of the people right now in this “cluster****” have to remember they were part of it a few years back. By supporting decisions, which were so blatantly opposed to the radio station’s ideal… and today they are fighting against their own board decisions. I could have told you that when those decisions were taken and it cost the board a very valuable member by way of resignation. That member did NOT forget history.

    Now, let’s talk about “burying” the past. “Those who wish to forget history, will not learn, nor respect the positive accomplishment of a group of individuals, and are doomed to repeat history”…oh, wait…in this case selective memories of some members served them well with the good stuff…however the damages and hurt they caused is simply swept under the carpet. I say, remember the past, this is where CICR’s salvation may lie.

    A leader does what needs to be done. Be it popular or unpopular. That was my credo during my involvement with PRS and obviously the board members should follow this…especially now. Yes, I’m pretentious…but Parrsboro does have a radio station, no? A leader also knows how to manage and reunite what has been severed by greedy people and glory seekers.

    Board A and Board B should really look into what is the problem right now. That problem should be dealt with.

    Yes Ross, I would like to keep my “Shitty ass” opinion to myself…but I can’t help it when an individual has blamed everybody else for his inadequacies and formed an “ad hoc” committee to throw out good people who have helped the station in the past. You should resign. Do the right thing and start the healing process.

    As for Gordon. I do value your wife’s memory…but she would be rolling in her grave right now.

  5. A Bowden-Welsh says:

    Finally, a voice of reality and reason!

    • gordon heffler says:

      Thanks to Guy for filling in the gaps and completing the history…with the current rollup of the events, it brings everyone to the here and now….(yes Guy, Juanita would not believe all that has happened since she passed away in 2002) none the less now is the time to go forward and not dwell in the past, but as you indicate, to move forward from here with harmony and revision with a plan.

      My involvement with the station is as a contractor and opinion expressor only interested in seeing the dream live on…

  6. mark atkinson says:

    Very well said Mr. Bergeron, a voice of reason!

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      Well my friend Mark, it seems on the other sites you have a lot to say about me it’s nice to know, I’m not able to get on the voice of the people to tell you what I think, if you have so much energy and on what to do with yourself and come on down to parrsboro radio and I’m sure I could find something for you to do, that would be constructive for the community, I’ve known you for a very long time knowing your dad and your mom is a teacher, you must be intelligent so, I could use your help, hope to see you soon. Thank you, Ross Robinson

  7. Claudia Mannion says:

    Bravo Guy!
    And thank-you for this valuable history lesson.

  8. Andrew Wagstaff says:

    First off, I want to take my hat off to Bruce Wark for his clear and concise reporting here. It’s not easy to cut through the murky depths of this story, and his insider’s point of view is of great benefit. Second, as a founding member of the Parrsboro Radio Society, I want to completely back up everything Guy Bergeron said in his above comment. His history of the organization is spot-on, and his conclusion is clearly the right way to go from here.

    I stepped away from the radio station a few years ago, and I look at the situation it is in right now with pure horror.

    The original vision of the Parrsboro Radio Society was to create a community-based radio station: an entity operated FOR and BY the community, and not to benefit or be controlled by any one individual. Like Guy, I have to admit I could see years ago that there were those operating with hidden agendas. When this became clear to me, I resigned as vice-chairman, although I stayed on for awhile as a member and on-air volunteer. Believe me, I kick myself today for not doing more at the time to prevent things from getting as bad as they are now.

    I believe the question now before the community is what kind of radio station it wants, or whether it even wants one at all. Everyone who is interested needs to come out and become a member, and elect a board of directors that will rebuild this organization with a commitment to its original vision.

    Ross Robinson needs to resign or be fired, and the station needs to be relocated. A fresh new start is in order like never before.

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      It seems that I have to answer to Andrew Wagstaff seeing what he wrote is not really the actual facts. But I would like to say one thing, it takes a lot of time from volunteers to be here at the radio station. Not one volunteer is turned away. Mister Andrew Wagstaff had full opportunity to do as many shows as he wanted and he helped out in many ways. I feel bad that he takes this approach against the Parrsboro community radio station. As reporter of the Citizen or the editor, he has done no justice for Parrsboro community radio. As we all know when all is said and done, it takes volunteers. I asked Andrew Wagstaff many times after he left to come back, he said he was just too busy bringing up his children in a marriage life, what else can you say there’s one less volunteer. I will say one of the best volunteers I’ve had over the years was Saundra Spence, she was misled by many people, back in November 2012 to do a show and she enjoyed it, but the so-called other side told her she could not be here truth to be told, those real good friends, just used her as a pawn. As I see it, Andrew Wagstaff should now get on with it and start writing positive things about Parrsboro radio. Mister Wagstaff start with this: Parrsboro radio has survived three years of bashing at almost the community destruction due to selfish people. It takes a lot to run a radio station and it sure takes a lot to put up with lots of attitude and you as a writer, for the community of Parrsboro. It’s time to write positive things. Make Parrsboro the light that used to shine. Thank you Ross Robinson

      • Andrew Wagstaff says:

        I just wrote a 700-plus-word response to you, but seeing your immature dialogue with Guy, I can see that a back-and-forth exchange with you would serve no purpose. I’ve chosen to hold back for now. However, I will say this: You start off your piece by claiming I don’t have my facts straight, but yet you don’t state which facts I have wrong, and nothing you say disputes what I said.

        I take my hat off to every single volunteer, past and present, who has worked on the radio station. Dedicated people like Kenny Gillis have kept this station running. My criticism of you or the board of directors is not directed at the station volunteers or the station itself.

        As for your apparent criticism of my reporting, I can point to countless “good news” articles I have written about the radio society since its inception in 1999, and even prior to that, when it was just kicked around as a dream. Any negative publicity the station has received in recent years is a result of the actions of yourself and the board of directors. I stand by my work. My record speaks for itself, and so does yours.

        At the end of the day, you need to accept responsibility for your behaviour, and do the right thing.

  9. Guy Bergeron says:

    Andrew, Gord..glad to see that despite everything, we are still on the same page. I hope that someone will stand up and give hope to those who wish to re-discover the “fun” of radio which we were all part of in that basement.

    If Saundra is reading this, thank you for your involvement and to those who chose a legal and proper way to deal with this situation including the members of today’s “rival..rebels” Board. Sarah, what you have done is commendable. I know it wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do. Kudos to the supporters of this who were brave enough to append their signatures to the document.

    Now that the law has spoken. Let’s hope that some overture can be made and things redressed. I expect Ross will be very upset with me…well he can sue me if he wishes….wait…he’s gotta throw more bingos first to pay for his lawyer. Good job everyone. it’s nice to see that the dream is still alive and in the right place. Also keep in mind, after all of this, do you really believe that the CRTC will renew the license..when it’s time?

    Just a thought. Guy.

  10. Donna Babineau says:

    Thanks Bruce Wark, Guy Bergeron and Andrew Wagstaff. What you have said for Ross to quit or be fired is commendable. I tried that a few years but could not get my group to do that at the time. Thanks people for saying what I have said for years now, “Fire Ross and move the station to a place where no one person has anything to gain, except the enjoyment of moving the station into better quality programming and working our butts off to keep it running and proper management.” Having fun while doing it too is the great part of it. I for one and our group B only want the station to continue with a good rudder and proper management. Without the entitlemnt of Ross Robinson Saying he owns the station. Guy you have cleary layed out what our group have been saying all along , “Ross does not own the station & what gives him the right to lock the doors on us, the members?” I applaud you for giving the history of the station for standing up and telling it as it is! Thanks

  11. gordon heffler says:

    I think they might Guy IF the folks involved now solve this in the next few months to handle digging it out with a workable financial plan and legal oversight by visioned individuals so that by renewal time the thing is viable…if not then the clock is winding unfortunately down….people..get involved in this volunteer organization and help save it from 3 year doom…. Gordon Heffler

  12. John Desaulniers says:

    Mr Wark how can you with a straight face say you are from the city and are not aware of what was going on at the radio station. I am not a member, but was on the side of Group B on the Peoples Voice and we explained it all to you about a year ago and you were pro Group A. Turns out we did know what we were talking about as attested by the judge’s decision which was our point from day one.

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      After taking my time reading what has been placed on mediaspin, yes, it’s true, the judge did say that Saundra and Tommy Spence, Sarah Hartman were not properly notified by the board when they were dismissed as members for their actions. A letter should have been sent to them by the Board of Directors informing them that they had been dismissed. Carrie Goodwin had already been recognized as a member. And that is what took place in court.

      The Parrsboro Radio Society hired a lawyer because on December ninth of 2011, the radio station was entered by some members and non-members. Part of my house was broken into, all financial records were removed by these people and we all know their names. The financial statements resided with them for several days until the RCMP were contacted to retrieve them. They did this and the records were at the RCMP office.

      There were a lot of witnesses here at the radio station who saw who entered the dwelling at that time. I was in Springhill taking my grandchildren back home at the time. When I arrived, they were changing the locks on the doors and I was ordered to stay out by the RCMP. I feel a big injustice was done at that time. I am the landlord of the place and the manager of the radio station. Let’s just say after the other side had hauled off all the books and financial statements, they started making different allegations, interrupting our Bingo, registering their names as board members of the Society, getting our bank account frozen, interfering with our Bingos and causing pandemonium throughout the community of Parrsboro.

      We had filed a break and enter with Constable Terry Brown that evening. We did not hear back from Mister Brown nor did we ever get properly addressed by the RCMP for the break and enter. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

      Guy can say what he wants to say. Yes he was one of the co-founders of Parrsboro radio along with Saundra Spence, Gordon Heffler and his wife. Those were all special-events-radio, sometimes going up to 20 to 30 days. I have been running the radio station for three years, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for the people of Parrsboro and surrounding area.

      I say now it’s time to get back to radio. We’re all done in court. We have at this time accepted the memberships of the three mentioned. Now, we must all work together as a community to make Parrsboro Community Radio the best community radio we can.

      Ross Robinson

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      Well John I will respond back to you don’t know you from a hole in the ground, sure would like to meet you find out what you could do to help with radio maybe you’d like to be behind the microphone, or maybe doing some editing for me, maybe I can put you to work going out and finding sponsors for me, the must be some use for you, sounds to me like you’d like to do something must put you to work in a constructive way for the community.
      So come on up to the community radio station and meet me, my name is Ross Robinson, you might really like community radio I could always use the help in a constructive way. Thank you Ross Robinson

  13. Guy Bergeron says:

    Gord you are right. Time is of the essence and with the amount of unwanted and supremely negative vibes that developed from this situation, things will have to be done quickly. May I suggest that someone could call in the RCMP again and possibly have the books forensically studied.

    If indeed there was any wrongdoings, they will find it. That being said and done, Ross and his cronies have definitely set the table for a complete dismantlement of what we worked hard for. I don’t think it’s fair that the people of Parrsboro should lose such a great resource. There must be some mechanism in the constitution which can give the power to the legal board to dispose of Ross. His supporters surely must realise also that this is a baaaad situation for them too…imagine being pointed out as the “gang” who killed the radio station. It’s still not too late to rectify their aim (as you so aptly put it) and do this.

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      Just to put things in light of day. Guy Bergeron in either 1999 or 2000 was going to be expelled from the board himself due to misconduct. It should be stored in our minutes someplace. He was all the time fighting with the members of the board, it was going to be his way or the highway as he put it. He found out it wasn’t his way. Guy caused a lot of trouble and fighting in Parrsboro radio when he was here I remember because I sat on the board. Guy has no room to talk about anybody else, end of my story. Thanks Ross Robinson

      • Guy Bergeron says:

        I replied on Facebook. See my page for more info. However, let me be clear on this…Ross again has got his facts wrong. I’m particularily getting tired of his useless attitude. I am officially calling for Ross Robinson to step down, all the postings that he makes are just to save face. Everybody knows it except him. Now those who support him, well….good luck!

        PRS needs to get out of his residence and begin with a new slate before it’s too late. I said my piece and will not continue this unless someone addresses me. But I will still follow. In case you guys wonder why I do this. Let’s just say that being a part of the original “crew” who worked TOGETHER, despite some differences amongst us, we are seeing the results of this accomplishment. I am proud to have been part of this (even if I was a “son of a bitch” or any moniker you or other people may wish to use)…the radio is on the air, thanks to volunteers who managed to take it to fruition. Now, it needs to be re-tooled and when an individual decides to dictate what He will do to His station…..well it is an issue with me. I do not speak for the rest of the “originals”. I speak for myself. The others have a voice and if they wish to make it heard…well they are welcome. Meanwhile, Good Luck and hoping to have the station back as it was…a marvellous addition to Parssboro. Not the nightmare it’s in now.

        • ROSS ROBINSON says:

          Well it’s not hard to see when it’s all said and done Guy he is still not come to the understanding and realize it’s just not these few people that do the talking, and especially not him, I don’t know who dropped him on his head but I think his been done quite a while ago just maybe he needs anger management . You know I look forward to all the ones who have so much to say about radio, I actually would like to give them all a job, this could be very constructive for the community and the community radio I know what plans need to be put in place to make parrsboro have one off the best community radio stations around. Think about this I managed with a few volunteers that we do have for the first two years, made it thrive to big heights, I applied for a provincial grant to buy all new equipment, raised money to start bingo’s, to have a radio station self-sufficient in the town of parrsboro, and was on our way to increase our power, and create a source of power with UPS for the station so it would never go down. And to maintain it all in one place. Apartment number two is where the radio station is located. I have some great comments about parrsboro for radio why should I even listen to what this Guy says. . Just remember this never any problems always situations in every situation can be handled in the right way, and I will. Thank you Ross Robinson

          • Guy Bergeron says:

            Still doesn’t answer the question…if you thrived with the volunteers who were ejected from the board by you….why get rid of them? It’s so clear that even a blind man would see it. Anyhow, I hold you and your cronies personally responsible for the situation. I still believe in the resurrection of the radio, but not with you at the helm.

            As for your board now, keeping you in this position is a bad mistake. I really wonder what you promised them for them to be sooo blind to your doings…As I pointed out in my missive on Facebook, you were a nobody before the radio station, thank God you had Gord to help you with the technical aspect, you were a nobody during the 4 years you were in charge as you say 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (does the word “control freak” mean something to you.) You never trusted anyone as you were smarter than everyone. You make people believe that running a radio station is so hard that only you can run one, no one else. People who worked with you, whom you didn’t bamboozle, know the real you. Your other supporters just think they know you. So why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and be done with it…

            I am very happy where I am and glad that I do have a successful radio staion to manage and understand the principle of teamwork for building, not destroying. So as long as you are at the radio station, NOTHING will ever be accomplished, even if you keep saying to yourself that you are the greatest radio manager of all time. Eventually everyone will discover what most of us who worked with you already know…Since all you did today is insult me with your inane attempt to look good in front of everyone…and never actually broach any issue which matters to Parrsboro. Since you chose to be petulant with Andrew and his familial situation. Since the people who used to be on your side have told me stories about your ugly tendencies to harass, berate, and bully them. Volunteers…I worked with these people, they are good people and have brought a hell of a lot more to the station than your boasting to be the one and only…why is it you did all that again? Oh yeah, didn’t trust anyone else to do it. I think I kind of told everything that needs to be told, and there would be a lot more if I didn’t realise that you are a waste of my energy and time, I just spoke on behalf of everyone who would love to tell you these things to your face, but are more courteous than me not to…

            So farewell Ross. I’m out of intelligent things to say and bid you “adieu”. Oh, and one last thing. If you think that all of this exercise was pure invention and that I lied about your management style, it doesn’t matter, you can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool everyone all the time.

            (phew, that was good….and off to my anger management course I go)

            Thanks Guy.

  14. Jackie Quinn says:

    I hope the radio station can be moved (as it should be) to a place where nobody can claim they are in charge. It should never have been placed in a private home. I also hope that things get sorted out soon and the station goes forward as originally started. This has been going on too long.

    • ROSS ROBINSON says:

      One thing I would like to add, over the past year I’ve had some great volunteers maybe not all on the radio but in behind the scenes, some of the workers you don’t hear too much Kenny Gillis, Dora Fuller, Sylvia Jewers, Don Jewers, Alexander Lich, Lewis Brown, Kimberley Hawkes, Tyler Shaw and James Allen also Bruce Wark, Claudia Manion, Laura Landon and Charlotte O’Brien and technical advisor Gordon Heffler and a few more,

      I have been proud of all the volunteers each and every one add their own flavour to community radio, also with our Sunday programming we have Heart-to-Heart every Sunday and truths from the Bible with Marlene Quinn.

      Parrrsboro should be very proud of their community radio. I have never ever turned away a volunteer, I hope to clear up all the negativity around the Parrsboro Radio. Just let the people know I am no quitter, there are a lot of good people here in Parrsboro and I know they wish to keep the radio station, and I’ll make sure that happens with the help of the community. Thanks again, Ross Robinson

  15. John Desaulniers says:

    I support a forensic audit. The station must be moved to survive. I support entire removal of the board that caused all these problems, what is now known as Board A, and removal of employees as well.

  16. Mike Hunt says:

    When the station manager of a volunteer radio station starts talking about hiring people and putting them to work for himself, it strikes me just how deep this situation with the manager has become.

    I’d also point out that when the manager starts trolling the Internet to find comments not in agreement with his present position and uses personal attacks in his rebuttal in a public forum, a professional line has been crossed, whether the sitting board of directors has a code of conduct or not.

    This is rife with the characteristics of a small man taking on a big position he probably shouldn’t have gotten involved in to begin with. I hope your town can make amends, bury the proverbial hatchet and move on.

  17. Sarah Hartman says:

    I was hoping to stay out of this as so many other people are putting things so well. But seeing the comments Ross has put here (some of them LIBELLOUS) I have decided to jump in.

    The Supreme Court ruling had nothing to do with whether we should have received letters after the fact informing us that we had been dismissed from the Radio Society. Justice Wright said that we were never expelled at all and thus have always had all the rights of membership in the Society.

    It’s incredible to me that Ross continues to claim that we broke in to his house. The RCMP investigated his false claims and found no criminal wrongdoing on our part. We went to the radio station (not Ross’s home) with a member of the RCMP. We knocked on the door and Don Jewers let us in, as he should have since we were entitled to be there as members. We also had entitlement to view financial documents. They were in such a mess that we realized we would need time to sort them out in order to make any sense of them. We voluntarily turned the records over to the RCMP when asked, as we had not stolen them and had no reason not to be cooperative. The reason we changed the locks was not to lock any members out; it was because we had been locked out and we needed to ensure that we would continue to have access to OUR radio station. (Yes, they changed the locks without informing Vice-Chair Andy LeBlanc and Secretary, Kelly Rector, or giving them keys.)

    I am glad to see that Ross is finally admitting that he is the landlord of the radio station. I was not given a copy of the lease when I asked for it several years ago. It is inappropriate and a major conflict of interest for a member of the board of directors to be financially benefiting as Ross has, both as a paid employee and landlord. He is in essence his own boss. But this should come as no surprise to anyone who has read his comments here, which can be summarized as “I…I…me…me…my…my…”

    Ross’s accusations that we interfered with bingo and got the bank account frozen are ludicrous. I don’t even have any idea what he’s talking about when he says we interrupted bingo; we never did anything of the kind. And as for getting the bank account frozen: It was Ross himself who did that when he stormed into RBC. How I wish one could have a rational, fact-based conversation with Ross.

    Ross gives himself credit for running the radio station. What he neglects to mention are the good volunteers who he harrassed or bossed around to the point that they backed away from active involvement. He has had more than one volunteer in tears.

    The radio station needs to be moved to a neutral location. (I would advise this for any organization, anywhere.) It is next to impossible to deal with the current problems in a fair and reasonable manner while one group has physical control of the premises. And this is a self-perpetuating group: On January 9, 2013, they held an election to appoint 3 new board members, including Ross, without giving the entire membership an opportunity to vote on who will run their Society, a society that rightfully belongs to ALL members, no matter their views.

    Yes, we do need to move forward, with actions that are in the best interests of community radio for Parrsboro. Unfortunately, that can’t happen until the lies stop…

  18. Guy Bergeron says:

    I couldn’t help but re-read the whole thing. Questions, questions, questions….

    a) If Saundra was the best volunteer the station ever had (and I do agree, but not for the wrong reasons) Why did she sign the Board B court documents?

    b) Now if I really think back. Actually, it was Rose (Ross’s ex, who was the first Robinson on the Board…much earlier than Ross) if history is written in “black & white” why the questioning of Ross’s position that he was an original member…?

    c) So far besides the station manager…no one is answering the “alleged allegations of Board B”, only response is Mr Jewers stating in the latest local paper that Ross is the technical advisor and runs the station technically, if I read right. He is also asking, who else can do that around the area. (Well, that is what I perceive anyhow…I could be wrong…but still I wonder about him not publicly validating Ross’s position. He should issue something that indicates Ross’s status.

    d) Seems funny to me, when we were trying to get the station going, when the present manager was not ran smoothly, no complaints. Then when he joined, all of the sudden, complaints and allegations about the station came up. He brought those up himself but when pressed, never mentioned a source for who it was from…so the question is….What has changed???

    e) The current manager is trying to convince the people of Parrsboro that he is the man for the future. But, he was the man of the past and present and he still is not a quitter!!! um….does this bode well for the future? (This one’s up for debate).

    f) Why is Guy Bergeron such a bastard to attack Ross, when he could have done that a long time ago. (I’ll answer that…) when I retired and moved on, the present Board B was still on track to make a great success I had no problem leaving knowing fully well that the station was in good hands (of course I couldn’t really do anything about it, but it was comforting to know…) Then Parrsboro got its permanent license…. then things got sour. Internal strife, world domination and a really disturbing managing style was brought to my attention. Not that it was my business (I had plenty to run myself), nothing to worry about, I knew that the board would handle it.

    All hell broke loose and this is what is now known by me as a nightmarish situation. People mistreated, a manager who despite his clear inabilities to run a perfectly good radio station. Volunteers, who helped him build the station afterwards and accomplish all of its dreams. When the dust settled, he didn’t need them anymore and made sure of this…He surrounded himself with “yes” people and ran roughshod over them.. even getting elected as a board member. Now I guess this in retrospect would be funny, but it’s not due to the fact that the manager has had complete disregard for by-laws and has placed himself in a very blatant “conflict of interest”…the worst part is that it is supported by a Board, which apparently has all the experience and knowledge to know better. Why is that?

    g) Finally, why doesn’t he want to do the right thing and step-down to give a chance for a fresh soul to mend and repair this unfortunate situation?.. to ask this question is to answer it.

    I am proud of what PRS has done from day one. Warts and all, of the people that were involved in getting her to a viable and positive influence on Parrsboro. I would like to go back to Parrsboro and do other shows for the station, but under new management and a better feeling of accomplishment being around the station. As for those who are on Board A…how can you have let this go on for sooooo long, I’d like to seriously thank you for screwing it up for the rest of us, you have the power to rectify the situation NOW. Do it before it’s too late..or are you as blind as the “self-appointed leader”…

    (OK, enough of this, I need to get back to my anger management course)

  19. John Desaulniers says:

    Bravo Sarah

  20. gordon heffler says:

    Look people….if you all cannot agree to move forward without re-hashing the past then you will NOT move forward at all and this is a lost endeavour…a loss for ALL!! Cut out the mud-slinging and use the legal democratic process to rescue this thing and put it on the track that will demonstate to both the public and the CRTC that this is a properly run community radio station and may I remind everyone that the BOD is an elected body which is made up of member volunteers who accept nominations for positions and win those positions thru a vote individually AND that the station manager is a position at the will and under the direction and answerable to that board at the time.

    The Society board is the governance and directors of all radio station operations and plans and the station manager is NOT a position that is given for life by the board…the manager is an appointment and has (oris supposed to have at least) little authority to determine direction and is supposed to lead, train, and guide station volunteers….it is a volunteer organization and volunteers do not have a boss, manager, or hire…..station manager schedules to fulfill the air shifts and guides in how to perform but has no direct disciplinary powers over volunteers and it appears that that has not been the recent case…..

    so membership…go to work on getting board in place so that this station can turn a page into the future or you will be relegated to the quagmire of the past and kill it dead now or 3 years from now…cut out the crap and get to the business at hand I suggest…. Gordon Heffler

    • Guy Bergeron says:

      Gord, you are right. I for one I’m pretty much done with this. However, it is maddening to me that this situation has come to be so out of whack that it needed to be addressed at all. I am as guilty as anyone involved in this, I should have known better….but someone chose to bring it in the public forum. This should have stayed where it began. Mea Culpa!!!

  21. ROSS ROBINSON says:

    Well, Bruce, Andrew, Guy and Sarah, we could all go on bashing each other forever but that will not solve nothing, don’t get me wrong I think you’re all very smart individuals have lots of great ideas and things to offer here in our community, sometimes I can come on real strong, please forgive me would like to say I think were all on the same mission and all the controversy that we had in the past we should leave it there, no more insulting each other and no more silly remarks. We all have a common goal to see parrsboro radio survive, it’s time now to put all of our difference behind us start off with a clean slate. Thank you Ross Robinson

    • gordon heffler says:

      OK it looks, thank goodness, that all of the “heavies” (no reference to weight) have weighed in here and have had a good (Thank you Bruce for providing this platform) opportunity to vent and get it off their chests, myself included, and so we all kind of know where each of us is coming from….now we can move on towards loftier goals of being part of a solution that is not tainted with personalities but is laden with the desire to provide Parrsboro with a revised radio entertainment and information source that has the unique properties of a hometown touch and flavour that will make folks want to listen, work and relax to radio that mentions them or their friends and neighbours and gives them an alternative to things like TV, internet, facebook,twitter etc etc and instead keeps them involved and connected with their community…Parrsboro and surrounding areas/communities.

      Any fool can set up a computer to play music on air all day, but community radio takes dedicated volunteers who are equally recognized by their peers for having and contributing their unique skills and expertise to the the station either directly on air or in a behind-the-scenes support position. Every piece of this is an important piece and it takes the result of each person’s contribution to make the on-air truly both hometown and professional at the same time. Put an operating framework in place that lets this happen and as time goes on if the Society Constitution needs changes thru bylaws then change it so that the station can never again fall into such a pit as we are climbing out of now. Concentrate on the glass being always half full never half empty and….carry on!

      Thanks again Bruce Wark for the chance to be heard here and thanks again also Guy for coming out of retirement so to speak, to set the record straight and opinionate like myself…we are like Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr….yesterday’s story historically but still breathing!…..take care ALL…Gordon Heffler-Halifax

  22. Donna Babineau says:

    Sarah said it all so well that I need not comment. Except to say that Ross Robinson must step down as manager and the station must be moved to a neutral place of business. If not, anyone who is of right-minded citizenship will not be able to take the abuse that Ross hands out, especially to women.
    Hopefully, this will be the last comment I will have to make here.
    Thanks to: Sarah, Andrew, Guy & Gordon.

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