3 more Remai Modern board members leave their positions

Three more people are leaving Remai Modern's board of directors, becoming the fifth, sixth and seventh board members confirmed to be exiting the art museum's quickly shifting leadership team.

Creating safe environment for tough questions not always easy, says departing member

Onlookers gather despite the rain for the grand opening ceremonies at Remai Modern. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Three more people are leaving Remai Modern's vastly changed board of directors, becoming the fifth, sixth and seventh board members to exit the art museum's leadership team.

Garnet McElree told the city Sunday he's retracting his bid for reappointment, citing disappointment with the decision to force out board chair Scott Verity and secretary Alison Norlen.

McElree's exit comes only days after two other members, Veronica Gamracy and Jenna Richards, quit the board. Gamracy said the museum board's relationship with the city is "problematic," while Gamracy pointed to Verity and Norlen's dismissal.

McElree said serving on the board for two years was not always easy. Part of the challenge involved creating a safe environment for board members, he said.

"Knowing a successful board like ours needs to strike the right balance between ensuring steadfast commitment and alignment from each of its board members to the strategic goals of the organization, while facilitating a safe environment which encourages members to pose tough questions, has not been easy to achieve," he wrote the city on Sunday.

"I was disappointed to find out that Alison and Scott, people I view as key to this success, were not being reinstated to the board."

Trent Bester and Karen Chad are also not planning to stay on the board, according to a city council agenda. 

New board confirmed

On Monday afternoon, the new shape of the Remai Modern board became official. 

City councillors confirmed five new board members, plus four reappointments, to the board.

The change comes just weeks before the museum's CEO, Gregory Burke, heads towards his own planned March 15 exit. Burke is taking a new museum job in his New Zealand hometown.

Mayor Charlie Clark, while declining interviews about the situation, has thanked board members past and present but said council's focus "is and will continue to be on the organizational and financial strength of the Remai."

Who's in, who's out?

At least six people's terms on the Remai board expired next month: Verity, Norlen, McEltree, Trent Bester, Grant Stoneham and Karen Chad.

Of those six people, only Stoneham was renewed Monday. Also cued up for reappointment were Fatima Coovadia and two city councillors who sit on the Remai board, Cynthia Block and Mairin Loewen.

Clark confirmed that Beau Atkins is also staying on the board. 

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

All-platform journalist for CBC Saskatoon

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