23rd October 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 25

WIA President agrees all is not well – but fails to acknowledge just how bad the situation is…

 

Hello,

The Board of the WIA continue with their propaganda to WIA members.  Rather than engage in open and transparent debate, any news articles that dare criticise or challenge the board are censored, and a one-sided disingenuous picture is presented to members.

In 2015, WIA cash reserves were depleted by $57,000.  The official loss on the books was $12,680.  This year (2016) looks like it will be much worse.

No-one knows exactly, as the President only provided “Bucket Economics” reporting in the September issue of Amateur Radio magazine.  The best estimate is a $33,000 loss year-to-date as at 30 June 2016.

Since that time, Director Andrew Smith has released statements indicating the loss could be much higher.  Until the Board comes clean and issues a P&L and Balance sheet we all have to make educated guesses.  (there has been no financial reporting at any board meetings since February 2016).

WIA Directors Andrew Smith and Paul Simmonds are doing their best to communicate their concerns to members, but any balanced access to the National News Broadcast and Amateur Radio magazine continue to be censored.

Official messages from the WIA continue to suggest that whilst there are a few small issues, all is well with our finances.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

This week we’ll release excerpts from previous Treasurers’ resignation letters.  All three recent Treasurers resigned from their roles due to ethical and professional concerns with the WIA Board.  All three quote concerns of lack of support from WIA Directors, failure to acknowledge governance and procedural failings and a lack of sound financial decision making.

To recap:

  • John Longayroux resigned in September 2015. John had been Treasurer since May 2009;
  • Greg James resigned in June 2015. Greg had been Assistant Treasurer since April 2013; and
  • Chris Chapman resigned at the end of February 2016. Chris had been Treasurer since January 2016.

It’s clear that the situation had been unacceptable for some months before John and Greg resigned as the following excerpts from Greg’s resignation letter attest (reproduced with permission):

When John returned from his overseas trip in June I advised him that I was no longer willing to work as Assistant Treasurer of the WIA.  I advised him that I would not be advising you nor the Board of my decision. The reason I resigned can be summarised in two words- “THE BOARD”.

When John went overseas in May, it fell to me to look after all the Treasurers functions. It was arranged that I would represent John at the AGM.

I attended the AGM weekend. At no time did the Board members make any effort to engage me, ask how things were going or even acknowledge my presence. At the actual meeting I was sat in the body of the meeting and not at the head table as is traditional, clearly to me an indication of what the Board thought of my efforts.

Then in the open forum there was no opportunity provided for the members to discuss the reports. 

On the Sunday I was not invited to the Board meeting, a clear indication to me that the Board could not care less about their financial position and it played no role in their discussions that day. From what I can see the Board are gravely lacking in interest in corporate duty and particularly financial governance.

When you consider that the finances of the WIA are far from in a good position with the real costs of the bookshop being hidden by not including salaries in the book costs, books being sold regularly below the landed cost and the work done for ACMA not being cost neutral but having an accumulated deficit of over $12K to name just a few items, we are not in a good position. it seems that the Board are not interested.

 I had by now formed a definite view that the Board had absolutely no interest in the activities I was carrying out and their relevance to the organisation. Why should I waste all my time for a group that were just taking me for granted and could not care less about their financial responsibilities.

 I believe that the WIA can ill afford the loss of John but I support his move to resign. John is possibly the only one on the executive that has been forward thinking and trying to put the WIA in to a much stronger administrative and financial position.

 As a member of the WIA I am appalled at the level of corporate governance being displayed by the Board and the manner in which they have allowed our financial position and responsibilities to drop to. I wonder if it is really an organisation that I wish to be a member of. It has great ideals and should perform a real necessary function but I don’t believe that the current Board are up to it. They are too focused on the radio aspects and not the organisation as a whole.

 

John’s resignation letter (reproduced with permission) offers the following comments:

I believe that the Board has a duty of care to its Volunteers. To place their health at risk because of the (board) needs to be addressed urgently.

I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I love my voluntary work with the WIA, but also I need to get stress out of my life.  So because of Board complacency, there are no options left for me other than to resign as Treasurer of the WIA.

 

There should be no doubt that the board of the WIA suffers from a poor culture, inability to responsibly and effectively manage volunteers and complete disregard of the professional advice of three very qualified Treasurers….

The Board continues blatantly censoring any balanced access to Amateur Radio Magazine and the national news broadcast.

Please, write an email to the Editor of AR (editor@wia.org.au) and the National News Broadcast (nationalnews@wia.org.au) service asking that they publish the “other side of the story”  (please copy us in on feedback@wiarg.org).  Only with your voice will we overcome these draconian measures being taken by the Board to censor free speech.

 

Please forward this email to your local club and friends.  We need your help to reach out to every single WIA member.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee.  If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

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

Until next week,

WIA Reform Group

 

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