by SUSAN MANN
John Clement, former general manager of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, has left the organization.
Nathan Stevens, interim manager and director of policy development, says the relationship between Clement and the organization was officially severed as of March 30.
For his part, Clement says, “certain decisions were made, we parted amicably and I have nothing further to say.”
Clement had been with the organization for almost 18 years. He began as secretary to the board of directors and was general manager since 2001.
Earlier this year CFFO announced it was restructuring its staff and Clement was named manager of communications and research. Stevens says Clement “basically chose that was not going to work out for him and he sought out a severance.”
Both men say there was no connection between Clement’s departure from CFFO and the organization’s failure to obtain reaccreditation as a general farm organization under the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act. In May, the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal denied accreditation to the CFFO, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union, Ontario Branch. CFFO and the other organizations are scheduled for new accreditation hearings later this month.
The decision to sever the relationship between Clement and CFFO preceded the Tribunal’s decision by seven to eight weeks, Stevens says.
Stevens has taken on the research portion of Clement’s former job. Franchesca Weeks is the communications manager.
CFFO has gone from a six-person staff to a five-person staff for the time being. It’s evaluating how that works and will see what its needs are at the beginning of September, Stevens says.
Membership in the organization has been gradually declining, having dropped to 4,054 in 2011 from 4,266 in 2009. At May 25, when CFFO’s accreditation was lost, membership stood at 3,793. But more memberships will come in once the accreditation matter is dealt with, Stevens says. BF