Gary Bernard has spent just over a month in his new role as full-time Canadian PGA executive director and faces one of the more important events in his short time on the job when he attends the annual general meeting on March 24 in Moncton. GNN had a chat with Bernard recently to get his take on the important PACE vote that will come up at the AGM, but also other issues affecting the Canadian PGA.
Right about now, Canadian PGA members will be getting their proxy votes in the mail and, after returning them to the auditor, they will collectively decide the fate of the PACE (Professional Advancement, Career Enhancement) program at the annual general meeting later this month in Moncton.
“I wouldn’t say it’s going to dominate (the meeting). We’re going to have the vote. The vote will be one of the highlights of the meeting, whether or not it happens,” said Canadian PGA executive director Gary Bernard last week.
“The AGM is a two-and-a-half, three hour meeting at the most and there will be a number of items on there with finances and different things, For sure, everybody will be wondering about PACE and the new bylaws to go with it,” he added.
“That’s part of the push right now is to make sure that everybody does exercise their vote and have a say in the future,” said Bernard. “I think it’s the urgency around the PACE vote that people are sensing.”
Having all members involved in the vote is important on a proposal that is hardly a slam dunk after being sent back to the drawing board over a year ago by the membership.
Since then, amendments have been made and Canadian PGA president Lindon Garron and Roger Hogel from the Saskatchewan PGA have launched a cross-country information tour to chat about the program.
“The people who were involved for a long time trying to develop the PACE program were disappointed when it was defeated, but I said to (former executive director) Steve Carroll at the time and Lindon and others that my feeling on this is it’s like a private member’s bill,” said Bernard.
“The group, the committee, brought it forward and the members said, `No, that’s not quite what we want. Here are our challenges with it. Go back and rework it,’” he said. “Lindon and the board designated a new task force leader, Roger Hogel, and he got a new committee together.
“I think to their credit, and to the national board’s credit, they answered the hot button issues. I think people are generally pleased that we have a better document now as a result of the process,” added Bernard.
Bernard’s confidence in the revised edition of PACE is no guarantee that it won’t get another no from the membership and, whatever happens, he says he will have to honour the wishes of the people who collectively make the call.
“My role it to make sure that we govern by majority, but also, I think it’s really important that we protect the minority right to defend on any topic,” he said.
“The challenge with that is, if a particular member doesn’t agree with whatever issue it might be – it could be tournaments, it could be PACE, insurance, dues, whatever it might be – we’re protecting their right as a member of this professional association to say I don’t agree with that,” said Bernard.
“The flip side of that also means we are designated to rule by majority. Sometimes, people think that if they do have a dissenting voice that everything should be changed. Of course, it would be hard to get much done that way, wouldn’t it?” said Bernard.
Personal situations can affect a person’s outlook on something like PACE, so a veteran Canadian PGA member might look at such a program differently than say, an apprentice or others relatively new to the business.
“They’re younger and they may see things a little differently than somebody in the middle of a career and somebody who’s retired or a life member may see things in an entirely different light,” said Bernard in illustrating the influences on such a vote.
While the members will decide the fate of PACE, it is also important to bring potential employers into the mix and educate them not only about PACE, but also the core competencies that go with being a Canadian PGA member and what that person can bring to the table for the facility doing the hiring.
We’ll take a look at that topic with Bernard tomorrow.