Pride Toronto’s board of directors was questioned by its members at a tense annual general meeting on Wednesday night about the sudden departure of its executive director but the board declined to provide any answers.
Members who asked questions about Olivia Nuamah, who was no longer executive director as of Jan. 15, said afterwards they are upset and want more transparency from the board.
Board members said at the meeting they cannot comment on the issue due to human resources reasons.
The organization announced the news about Nuamah in a tweet on Jan. 21. Pride Toronto did not explain why she is no longer leading the organization and declined on Wednesday night to say if she resigned, if she was fired or otherwise forced out of the job.
Davina Hader, a “team lead” for the Dyke March as part of Pride Toronto, said information is lacking and the lack of input from members is concerning given that the annual Pride festival is supposed to happen in less than six months. Hader has been a volunteer on the Dyke March for the past six years.
“There’s not a lot of transparency,” Hader told CBC Toronto during the meeting.
“No one has been transparent about the way they have been doing things. We just find everything that has been happening not good. We are upset about this and we are upset about the direction that Pride is going in.”
Hader said she doesn’t know why Nuamah was let go. “We want to get to the bottom of this,” she added.
Thirty longtime volunteers, who have served as “team leads” during the festival, have issued an open letter to the board, saying on Jan. 23 that it must provide answers.
In a followup letter on Jan. 26, the same volunteers said they wanted answers at the annual general meeting.
“There are many stakeholders in our community who care a great deal about the governance of Pride Toronto. The hundreds of people who take part in the operations of Pride deserve a place and a voice at the table, and these voices have been missing,” the second letter reads.
Board fielded questions about financial mismanagement
Nuamah has not publicly addressed her departure, but she previously said she had no plans to resign during an interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning in January 2019.
She was named the executive director in February 2017, following the resignation of former executive director Mathieu Chantelois.
At the meeting on Wednesday night, the board also fielded questions about allegations of money mismanagement and verbal harassment. It said it has hired a third-party investigator to look into the allegations.
In a statement released on Jan. 22, Pride Toronto said the concerns were raised in the summer and the potential mismanagement of money may have happened before 2019. It also said the amount represents a small percentage of Pride’s budget.