Letter from the Chairman - Board Reorganization and Compensation
It is an honor to greet you as the newly elected Goldbelt board chair. We are at an important milestone in Goldbelt’s history as we close the books on 2019 anticipating record profitability and look to 2020 as a year of continued growth and opportunity. While we are pleased at the financial strength and operational performance of our subsidiaries, we have far to go to realize our potential and the vision of shareholders past and present. The board and management must continuously assess its strengths and weaknesses and make careful and deliberate action when necessary to maximize performance and to capture new opportunity.
The Goldbelt board consists of nine dedicated and passionate shareholders with diverse experience, priorities and ideas for how to advance the corporation in the best interest of the shareholders. On December 27, 2019 a special board meeting was held to address the leadership structure and performance where I was elected chair, director Leilani Walkush was elected vice chair, director Rick Beasley was re-elected treasurer and director Lisa-Marie Ikonomov was re-elected corporate secretary.
The new executive committee is committed to board inclusion, best practices related to corporate governance and board process, accountability and adherence to high ethical standards. These are vital tenets for the board to live by to best serve the corporation and you the owner.
At the regular board meeting held on Friday, January 10, directors voted on multiple measures to establish positive changes across several areas that will have lasting, positive impact on the board function.
First, the board formally adopted Robert’s Rules of Order as the guiding structure for meetings. Previously, the board did not have a formal rule structure. This provided a strong position for the Chair, but it also had the tendency to force the Chair into the awkward position of appearing to support one director over another. Establishing Robert’s Rules as the guiding structure will establish protocol for board meetings, allowing for a more streamlined, cooperative process less subject to the appearance of political favoritism.
Second, the board reorganized its committee membership. The new committee structure ensures all director voices are evenly included and considered in committee meetings. Workloads are now spread across all directors to allow for ideas and consideration to come from all perspectives. The objective here is to work together to create the best policy and to guide operational and profitability growth and management performance.
Lastly, the board passed Resolution #20-06 to amend compensation for directors which will save the corporation more than $400,000 annually in board-related expenses in comparison to the fee structure that was abandoned last spring. Action was taken by the board to “simplify and equalize” board compensation last spring, raising monthly board fees to $5,000 per month from $2,000 per month plus a complex meeting and travel fee schedule. Shareholders and some directors alike expressed concern regarding compensation not being commensurate with board duty. There was rigorous debate in the board room regarding the issue and recognition considerable due diligence was required to look at board compensation and benefits in its entirety to develop a fair and lasting solution.
On Friday, we set compensation to $3000 per month, plus a $500 meeting fee for each regular and special meeting of the full board – directors will no longer receive fees for travel, committee meetings, and shareholder events. In conjunction with these changes to the fee structure, the elimination of health benefits has allowed the board to reduce its costs to the corporation by more than $400,000 annually.
The board is committed to making smart and lasting policy decisions – guided by best practices, careful research, constructive debate, and our Native values. We are also committed to better inform shareholders of actions the board is taking on policy matters and to provide the resources necessary for management to engage you on all fronts related to our operations, financial health, and progress towards a brighter future. I am excited to serve as board chair and I pledge to take great care with the precious responsibility of serving in this capacity. I am so proud of Goldbelt and how we can work together to make a difference in the lives of our families, friends, neighbors, and all shareholders.
Chairman of the Board