WIA lacks leadership and the Board is a farce.
Is the WIA Assessor Program at risk?
Many VK2 and VK3 radio amateurs attended one of the four information sessions presented by Directors Andrew Smith and Paul Simmonds this week. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Everyone appreciated Andrew and Paul’s personal efforts in delivering these information sessions. (Links to two of the four presentations are at the end of this newsletter).
The presentations provided some very troubling insights into inappropriate behaviour at the highest levels of our WIA over the last 12-18 months. Some of the most important objectives of our WIA are at risk. These are discussed below.
The Board has become a farce
We have been informed there are two legal cases being brought against Directors of the WIA over potentially unlawful behaviour. The board is truly out of control.
To quote a well-respected WIA member “Board members are too focused on what they are doing, instead of what they should be doing”
Financial Mismanagement….yet again….
In August of last year, the Board appointed Trainsafe/Silverdale to undertake an office review. This review resulted in WIA Director and Trainsafe Director Fred Swainston managing the office and overseeing finances for a 7 month period.
During this time the WIA also paid an accountant to attend the office. It appears that office procedures and accounting practices became somewhat disconnected during this period.
Between March and July, the WIA paid the same accountant to act as Treasurer. This paid Treasurer (also a CPA) did not attend any Board meetings nor did he provide the board with any P&L or Balance Sheet reports.
He did not attend the AGM on Norfolk Island and the Acting Treasurer (WIA Director Fred Swainston) was unable to answer a number of questions fully or accurately. The Acting Treasurer also advised members at the AGM that he has no knowledge or interest in accounting.
We all know how well the Financial Report was received on Norfolk Island: an unprecedented 40% of votes were against accepting the report.
We now hear that this report was incorrect and should never have been presented.
Since mid-year, the WIA has employed two separate book-keeping firms to bring the financial records up-to-date. Estimates suggest that the WIA has spent as much as $30,000-$40,000 this year (on top of about $4,000 between September and December last year) paying accountants, book keepers and treasurers.
The newly appointed Treasurer has advised that the books (MYOB) are still in a mess and that there are numerous data entry errors and omissions. It appears the Board provided no direction or oversight whilst allowing a massive sum of member’s money to be spent on external consultants.
It will take the new Treasurers another 2-3 months to correct the accounts and provide the Board and members with an accurate view of our finances.
Stand by for a loss that could be well in excess of the $50-60k that has been suggested by WIA Directors. It could be closer to $80,000. No one knows for certain. This is another breach of the Corporations Act.
The big question (or to quote the President “elephant in the room”) is:
how should this Board be held to account for spending around $40,000 on accounting and book keeping services only to find that the books are still in a mess. Should the paid sub-contractors (especially Trainsafe and the accountant) be asked to refund their fees?
Moreover, the Board spends circa $30-$40K on accountants and book keepers with no member consultation, and yet they have the GALL to require member approval of costs for an Audit……
To paraphrase one well respected long time WIA member: “the biggest disappointment at the AGM…there was no financial plan… this board would not obtain a certificate of competence for the manner in which it has overseen the WIA’s finances”. Another suggested that “this board is out of control” and his comment was met with agreement by the two Directors present.
WIA Assessor Program…have the wheels fallen off?
The WIA has nominated Trainsafe (Silverdale Training and Development) as its RTO. Silverdale Training and Development cancelled its RTO status on 31st July 2014. Since that date, Silverdale/Trainsafe and the WIA have continued to promote this organisation as being an RTO, despite a direction to cease this practice by the Government training regulator.
Whilst it was acknowledged that the deed does give the WIA the option to use a “like organisation” rather than an RTO, there are valid concerns that the continued promotion of Silverdale as an “RTO” by the WIA after it has been deregistered is disingenuous and misrepresentative at best. It may be a breach of the NVR Act and may be the subject of substantial fines. It is also unclear if Silverdale/Trainsafe has any registration credentials with a “like organisation”.
There were some suggestions at the meetings that these corporate oversights by the Board of the WIA and the Director/s of Trainsafe/Silverdale could place the whole assessor and examination process at risk.
The Board of the WIA has been alerted to these issues on numerous occasions but no action has been undertaken. The Board has continued to avoid the issue. Have they exposed the WIA and the entire hobby to an unacceptable risk?
If the ACMA is forced to cancel the agreement with the WIA, how will amateurs undertake exams and callsign applications?
The ACMA are aware of these failings and are conducting their own assessment.
The WIA has not acknowledged formal complaints as it is required to do under the Deed, and for over two years it has permitted this false advertising and misrepresentation to prevail.
This misrepresentation of Registration Status (RTO) by both Silverdale/Trainsafe and the WIA is just another example of serious impropriety, incompetence and failure to follow processes as described in the Deed with the ACMA.
Amateur Radio Magazine and the National News Broadcast continue to be censored, as does ARNSW and VK5 news.
This board simply refuses to allow any alternative messages or correct reporting of the facts to be published in AR media.
We recently wrote to the editor of the WIA national news, VK4BB, pointing out the issues around the WIA board, and requesting that an alternative viewpoint be heard on the broadcast. We had not heard back from him when this newsletter was published (1825 EDST 18 November 2016).
The Editor of AR has again refused to publish a letter from the WIA RG for the Over to you column. The latest reason for rejection? The piece in question contained our website link…..really? What are they afraid of?
As an audience member remarked at the Albury presentation “but you are members, they have no right to stop you from writing to AR or putting an article on the broadcast!”
All these issues are symptomatic of a toxic, dysfunctional culture at the top of our WIA. We need a change in the makeup of the board immediately. Please follow this link and sign the letter calling for a General Meeting to remove up to four currently serving WIA Directors.
Please send this newsletter to your friends and contacts and discuss the issues with them. Write to the Editors of AR Magazine and the national news broadcast and demand they allow freedom of speech….
Our home page now provides a concise description of the key problems and a clear vision for the future of the WIA; our National Institute.
Until next week.
WIA Reform Group
Recordings of VK6AS and VK5PAS presentations:
EMDRC – Melbourne