Deb Neilson is another one of PCCL’s long-standing members and we are excited to announce that she will be returning as treasurer for 2018/2019. Deb has worked with the league for seven years and adores the role she has played within the community as she feels that the community league has become her family. Always on the go, we were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with her and hear more of her thoughts during this interview. Check it out:
Tia: What role does the treasurer play for the community league? And what duties does the treasurer position have?
Deb: I can tell you what the files say - but we were short volunteers for many years and we went from half a dozen to around 19 two years ago. During that time I took on a whole lot more duties and we had to, to keep the place running.
*Begins to read the document on Treasurer duties*
Make sure all the money from the society is deposited at a charter bank, treasury branch, or a trust company chosen by the board, make sure that there is a detailed account of revenue and expenditures and that it is presented at every board meeting and the AGM, make sure there is an audited statement of the financial position of the society that is prepared by our accountant every three to four years, chair finance committee of the board, and carries out other duties as assigned.
Well, you know, there are so many other duties, I’ll tell you what I have: make deposits, signing officer on the account at the bank, go through the accounting program created for community leagues and other companies, deal with Alberta Gaming and Liquor commission, do financial reporting on an annual basis (it involves absolutely every cent that comes in and everything that’s spent, then we have to categorize it), I also deal with corporate registries to send our bylaws if there are any changes and our annual return (who is on the board and the financial position), use a computerized program to complete insurance (for volunteers who may get injured), manage and run the office (check the mail and pay the bills), do the refunds and make deposits, purchase kitchen supplies (Larry takes care of most of it) and I purchase the annual liquor license, I also helped organize the printer purchase and manage the key log with Larry. The duties on the list don’t fully cover it *Laughs* but I enjoy it. There is always that catch 22 .... "other duties as assigned (or not assigned)" that keeps all of us hoppin'.
T: What drove you to become a part of the community league board?
D: I was suckered into it! *Laughs* In December of 2011, Martin (Bundred, former President of PCCL) came over to my place and said; “You’ve been with the bank for a long time.” I said; “Yeah, I had taken my 35 years and said I’m done now.” He explained that the league needed and treasure I told him that I don’t know anything about the league! Then went on to say that all the league needed was someone to make deposits and write cheques along with doing the accounting. I didn’t know anything about the accounting program and I didn’t do things like that because I was a commercial account manager, that’s what I knew. He pleaded with me, but I said no. Then Martin talks with my neighbor, Chickie, and she comes over one night with a bottle a wine. She said; “It shouldn’t be too much, what else are you going to do when you’re retired?” I began to think, well, they really need someone and maybe it won’t be so bad. That’s how it all started. I came in and Martin showed me the ropes and I even learned the computing program through our contact at EFCL, then we changed accounting programs/companies but there was no manual for the program, so I wrote one up.
Bryce: How long have you been treasurer? What brings you back to the role?
D: They force me!
D: No, I’m just kidding. I started in August of 2011, so seven years. What keeps me coming back is that I love the paperwork and I love what I do. To me this fun and I enjoy it! It’s almost my work replacement and I still have fun with it. It’s like breathing to me; it feels natural.
T: What do you believe is the most valuable aspect that the league brings to the community?
D: It’s making everyone feel included and involved in the community - it’s like a big family. People often say; “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.” You’ll still have different viewpoints and ideas but we still hug when we get together. Just because we don’t always agree doesn’t mean we hate each other because even if we may disagree, we try to involve everyone and make the space inclusive.
T: How do you think the Parkdale Cromdale community league can improve?
D: We’ve already done the renovations on the hall, bathrooms, kitchen but we need more storage. Perhaps we should have someone to take care of just the rentals alone because although we’re lucky we have Larry, he does an awful lot and it might be helpful to have separate people for the facilities and the maintenance. We also don’t use our rink because it’s hard to get volunteers to get the ice built each year, so I’m thinking that if we could make that into another building. It would be wonderful if it was two floors with a big commercial kitchen, while the upstairs is a meeting hall. A double parking lot might even be a good idea. There’s so much we can do here, of course, it would be quite expensive and all the city regulations, but it would be well worth it to have this space be used again.
B: If at some point you are passing the torch to someone else what piece or pieces of advice would you give them in regards to being a treasurer for a not for profit and more specifically for a community league?
D: You have to have a passion for the league and keeping everything in order (financially). When I move on, I’ll have a detailed explanation of what I do in every category and pass on all my contacts and books. They would probably have to be retired *Laughs* as this is like a full time job at times.
T: It seems like you’d need quite a bit of time.
D: Exactly, there’s a lot behind it and it’s not just a matter of coming in once a week. They have to have a desire to manage the books the way they are supposed to be, the way the bank and Alberta Gaming expects them to be. Also, they should have fun with it because it doesn’t have to be a burden. You don’t have to come in every day and you can make it work in your life.
Thank you to Deb for sharing her experience with us and we know she will continue to ensure the success of our league through her role.