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AIDS Committee of Ottawa Gets New Board Chair
Begins determining future direction

THE AIDS Committee of Ottawa has a new Chair of the Board.  Policy committee chair and board vice-chair Ross Duncan will serve as Acting Chair until the agency's Annual General Meeting in the fall.

The change was announced last week in a press release.  The ACO also stated that it had approved a balanced budget for the April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001 fiscal year.

"We are confident that this budget is realistic given our revenues and commitments to the community and staff," said out-going chair Brad Buxton.  "After a complete overhaul of the accounting system, a successful audit by the Canada Revenue and Customs Agency, and thoughtful discussions with board members and staff, we believe that we can move ahead with our fiscal house in order."

Chartered accountant and ACO treasurer Alain Ricard worked closely with executive director Lise Ladouceur in preparing the projections.

Buxton will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the local AIDS service organization.  He's stepping back from the lead role in order to pursue other interests.  A PhD is in the works and he needs time to work on his dissertation, he said.  In addition, he's on the planning committee of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network's annual Research Day.

The man who headed-up the turn-around of the once troubled agency stated that the future direction of its programs and services has begun to be addressed.

"Russell [Armstrong] will be putting out a strategic plan document for comment," Buxton told gayottawanow.com.  Armstrong joined the Board a few months back and chairs the Community Issues Committee.

Added the new acting chair, "We will be working closely with our partner agencies, through the Ottawa-Carleton Council on AIDS, to ensure that the ACO's programs and services are appropriate and realistic to serve the new [mega] City of Ottawa.  I'm glad to be working with Russell Armstrong, who is leading our Community Issues Committee."

Stated Armstrong in a May 5th meeting, "We want to develop an advocacy agenda."  He added that the agency's advocacy arm seeks to liaise with the community on issues of concern and be a contact point for it.

But in the meantime the ACO's balanced budget reflects the current strategic plan.

"No significant changes in priorities or planning changes [are in the budget]," added Buxton.

Secretary Elizabeth Keogh reminded ACO members that their continued support is highly appreciated.  Since all memberships expire on October 14th, prior to the Annual General Meeting in November, Keogh urged members to renew their memberships and ensure that current mailing and e-mail addresses are provided.

Nominating committee chair Colleen McGuire noted that recruitment for new members to the Board of Directors is underway.  Potential volunteers are encouraged to contact Cameo McLaughlin, the Volunteer Coordinator.

ACO member and volunteer Desmond Foley was elected to the Board in order to fill the vacancy left by Kevin Hatt.

The ACO may be reached at (613) 238-5014.