6th September 2016- Open letter to the WIA President

To:          President

Cc:          WIA Directors, Secretary – Jim Linton, Editor – Peter Freeman, Executive Administrator – Bruce Deefholts, WIA News Broadcast teams

 

6th September 2016

Mr President,

We remained concerned with your continued lack of transparency and misleading answers to member’s questions.

Your continued avoidance to answer questions confirms our position that you and your board are in disarray and the finances of the WIA are being mismanaged.  This is a major failing of each and every director; you all have a fiduciary duty as directors under the WIA Constitution and the Corporations Act.

As directors you are all personally liable and serious penalties apply for failure to comply with these important obligations.

Further, based on anecdotal evidence and recent announcements, it is our view that under your leadership the once proud WIA has seen any semblance of professional operation, behaviour or status completely eroded, and the WIA, its employees, members and volunteers are suffering as a result.

To clarify the position for all members we ask that you simply answer these questions:

  1. Do you and your directors understand your obligations to manage the finances of the WIA in a responsible manner?
  2. Given you knew the accountant was stepping down as Treasurer in June 2016, why did you not commence an active search for a suitable replacement prior to that date?
  3. Given the disastrous condition the financial systems were in after being managed by Trainsafe last year, is the WIA’s accounting system (MYOB) being updated in a timely manner to allow accurate financial and compliance reports to be produced?
  4. When was the last time the board reviewed and discussed a P&L Report and Balance Sheet produced by the WIA’s accounting system?
  5. Does this board review a monthly P&L Statement and Balance Sheet at board meetings?
  6. Does this board make financial decisions based on aforementioned P&L Reports and a Budget?
  7. How are financial decisions documented?
  8. Are accounts receivables being actively managed each month? (noting that these processes were largely unmanaged during the 2nd half of 2015)
  9. Are accounts payable being actively managed each month? (noting that these processes were also largely unmanaged during the 2nd half of 2015)
  10. Given that last year BAS and GST processing was ignored by the acting Office Manager would you confirm that BAS and GST processing has been accurately completed for 1st and 2nd quarters of 2016?
  11. Have employee PAYG tax obligations been accurately processed and have tax allocations been paid to the ATO up to 2nd quarter 2016?
  12. Have employee superannuation obligations been accurately processed and paid to August 2016?
  13. Have all corporate reporting requirements with ASIC been fulfilled by the due date?
  14. Last year, ASIC levied a fine on the WIA for late lodgement of the annual company registration fee. Can you confirm that this year’s company registration fee has been/will be lodged within the due date?
  15. Given WIA Director and Trainsafe Director Mr Swainston has publicly advised he has no accounting skills, can you confirm that he has no influence or managerial oversight, directly or indirectly, on the business or financial operations of the WIA National Office?

 

These questions are important as they go to the very foundation of good corporate management and representation of all Australian Radio Amateurs, not just WIA Members.  It is a public interest matter.  As such we have copied in the main Amateur Radio news broadcast services.

The WIA Reform Group actively encourages all Australian Radio Amateurs to be members of the WIA.  To date, our efforts have resulted in lapsed members re-joining and many others taking a far greater interest in the welfare of the Institute.

We fully understand that a properly managed and funded WIA is vital to the continued growth and stability of our hobby.  We promote good governance and responsible management.

We demand the same of our Board.

Only by recognising and acknowledging the challenges our WIA faces, can members take a more active interest and ensure the WIA is being properly managed.

We look forward to your succinct, transparent and honest answers.

Yours sincerely,

 

C. Chapman VK3QB  G.C. Dunstan VK4DU  R. Dollar VK8RD

WIA Members

And for the WIA Reform Group

 

WIA board in disarray

The following board notes were sent to all members on the evening of September 3rd, 2016:

 

Editorial
For the first time in very many years, certainly within my time as a WIA director, we are seeing a real difference in opinion between
Directors concerning the integrity of the Board, and how the WIA
should be administered.
For more information on any of these issues check the WIA web
site www.wia.org.au or email the WIA Office.
nationaloffice@wia.org.au
Phil Wait WIA President
There were two Board meetings in August.
Board meeting 1st August 2016, was called by a Director wishing to propose a motion to appoint an independent person or
organisation to audit the “structure, performance,
governance, practices and procedures of the Board….”.
Robust input ranged concerning the necessity for an external
review, should the governance training recently approved happen
first, or can training and an audit occur at the same time, the
unknown cost of a review, the selection of a provider, and the
absence of a detailed submission.
In the end, the Board agreed that an external review could be
helpful and decided to appoint an organisation or individual.

No other business was discussed at that meeting.

Board meeting 16th August 2016, was held on the regular
night of the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
The first item of business, following a review of action items
from the previous June meeting, was to consider a motion of noconfidence
in the Board brought by a Director.
Although he thought the motion could be challenged, the
President decided to allow the motion in the interest of open
discussion.
The Director moving the motion expressed the view that he was
very concerned the Board was not acting in the best interests of the
WIA, and therefore proposed that in view of its incapability of acting
properly, it should resign, an independent administrator be
appointed to run the business of the WIA, and elections be held.
The President had previously released financial information that
shows the WIA is tracking slightly behind the financial position of last
year but has a good opportunity to improve that situation, (please
see the President’s Comment in September AR Magazine for more
information).
The motion was put and defeated 2 for, 5 against.
The President agreed that all Directors should be concerned
about correct processes, and stated that a top priority at the
meeting was moving ahead in finding a new WIA Treasurer
without delay.

 

 

03 September 2016 – Board report from WIA Director VK6AS

From the VK6 news for 03/4 SEP 2016:

 

I am a director of two not for profit companies, let me share with you how their meetings contrast.

Both hold meetings in the early evenings.  One quarterly and the other monthly.  The quarterly meetings are over within 90 minutes, the monthly ones run until late in the evening and the prepared agenda is never got through.

At the Quarterly Board the Executive Administrator is the secretary to the Board and provides a report relating to the administration and running of the company.

For the monthly there is no such report just a series of agenda items that the Board discuss and move endless motions for the secretary to record and report later to the Executive Administrator who is not present.

The Board’s minutes are designed not to report discussion and opinions and so the Executive Administrator has no idea of the reasoning behind many of the decisions.

At the quarterly meeting financial reports are tabled and the treasurer makes a report and answers questions.  The financial reports are accepted.

At the monthly, there is no treasurer and since May only a profit and loss account and some bank statements have been produced.

At the quarterly board the Executive Administrator tables the various committee reports and strategic discussion takes place before the reports are adopted  unanimously and the Executive Administrator has clear guidance on advice to the committees for future actions.

At the monthly group there are usually no reports and if there are then individual directors frequently decide to intervene and alter the decisions of the committee often based on spurious and personally held views or rules that just get made up on the run as that Board only has one written policy at present.

There is often acrimonious discussion followed by a vote with dissenting directors.  There is no guidance given to the Executive Administrator and individual directors therefore take on managerial roles.

I leave the quarterly meeting in a good frame of mind feeling collegial and satisfied, from the monthly meeting I leave feeling frustrated and often anxious about the future of the organisation.

Which one of these Boards do you think describes your WIA?

 

This is WIA director, Andrew VK6AS

 

2nd September 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 19

Moving the WIA from Loss to Profit while reducing member subs. 

 

Hello again,

It can be done.  The WIA can move from being an out-dated dinosaur that loses $1,100 per week, to a dynamic 21st century organisation that represents its members and delivers even better services.

And, most importantly for you, membership subscriptions could be lowered significantly.  The WIA would go from losing $12k (and draining our funds by $57k) in 2015 to making a surplus of $50-100k once the transformation was complete.

How could this be achieved?

Firstly, and most importantly, we’d need a massive change in leadership style and culture.  We need a new Board.  A Board that focuses on operating as a collaborative team, a board that utilises 21st century business models and the cost efficiencies these offer.

Secondly, members would need to accept a change in the way in which some services are delivered.  It’s called innovation and moving with the times; and amateur radio operators have a proud tradition of stepping up to both of these concepts.

The WIA currently does a lot of things that are not core business.  They run outdated IT systems, a bookshop, an empty warehouse and a publishing house.  All of this spends our membership fees at a great rate for very little return in actual advancement of amateur radio in Australia.

The WIA needs to stop spending cash doing things with no return.

What follows is a brief description of the actions required to bring about these changes.  If you would like to see the details behind these actions and how they relate to current income and costs structures please follow this link:  What-if

 

Move the National Office into a smaller more efficient space

The WIA does not need a 400sqm factory in the outer suburbs of Melbourne for two staff and a bookshop/QSL Bureaux .  Meetings with government are normally at their office and the board rarely, if ever, meets face to face at the Melbourne office.

The existing WIA office would be leased out on commercial terms and the WIA would rent a more suitable office.  This action alone would save considerable money for the WIA and enable it to provide improved services to all members.

 

Move as many business processes and services as possible to the Cloud or digital space.

This would include most office functions and the ACMA Contracted services (Examination and Callsign Management services).  Not only would this drive down  costs (employment and office running costs), but the WIA would become vastly more efficient and responsive in delivering members services.

We only pay for what we need, when we need it.  Specialists secure our information and help us when required.  The big cloud companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft spend hundreds of millions a year on security.

Moving into the Cloud means that volunteers and staff can access the system they need to help the WIA do business from wherever they are.  There is no need to go to a physical office.  This is the same principal as using online banking to pay your bills – you no longer have to go to the bank…..

 

Progressively migrate Amateur Radio magazine to a digital platform.

We acknowledge that this is a big leap for some members.  There is no doubt some members like receiving the paper copy of the magazine each month.

However, this is a proverbial bullet that must be bitten….

Paper magazines are an out-dated channel for communicating with members (news is six weeks old, at least…), they are incredibly expensive to produce/distribute and they can’t compete with the functionality and services of a digital magazine.

According to the member survey completed by the WIA a couple of years ago, over 96% of members use the Internet daily.

Moving to a digital AR would save the WIA over $100k per year.

 

Introduce more progressive services to attract revenue and new members

The WIA could earn more money from advertising, commission structures, improved education and training offerings and of course, more members.

The ARRL, for example, offer a wide range of value added services for members.

 

Reduce membership subscriptions from $95 per year to (for example) $50 per year.

With greater efficiency and more members, the cost per member becomes lower. This lower cost is returned to members in the form of lower subscriptions and increased services.

Not only would this reduce the burden on members, it would also encourage others to join.

Why should we pay $95 just because the current Board refuses to look at more efficient ways to run our WIA?

In future years any surplus could be used to develop better education services, increase promotion of the hobby, sponsor worthwhile projects and offer more services to members.  It could even be used to lower subscription fees further….

The WIA requires a new Board with the skills and mindset to adopt contemporary business practices.. 

 

Positive action is being planned.  But we need to ensure every member is made aware of the facts.  Please forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee.  If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter directly.

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit www.wiarg.org .

We’ll continue to support the only two board members who share our vision.   A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby.  We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

G.C. Dunstan VK4DU,  C. Chapman VK3QB,  R. Dollar VK8RD

PS – We don’t want to spam you. Send us an email if you’d prefer we remove you from our mailing list.