STATEMENT TO THE MEMBERS OF THE VICTORIAN ATHLETIC LEAGUE INC
The current board of VAL feel it is important a statement is made to the members of the VAL in light of current events and the forthcoming SGM.
This statement is released in two parts.
The first and following statement relates to various comments put by resigning directors or members of the athletic community in relation to the remarks made to clubs in relation to activities of the previous board prior to and post the 2011 AGM.
It has been suggested that the following allegations were put to clubs in relation to the previous board and its members before the 2011 AGM.
- It was alleged the board to have been amending Board minutes.
- It was alleged the board had been making decisions post Board meetings.
- It was alleged members of the board had advised Mark Howard to adjust minutes.
- It was alleged members of the board had been organizing meetings to hand the sport over to the Athletics Victoria.
In response to the above allegations the current board has asked Mark Howard, CEO of the Victorian Athletic League to respond to these statements and he makes the following statement.
No member of the previous board has ever amended Board minutes (I take the minutes and draw up the agenda and finalise the minutes of each meeting), nor have any board member individually or collectively made decisions post Board meetings.
In addition no member of the board has ever advised me to adjust minutes.
There have been no meetings organized to discuss the handing over the sport to Athletics Victoria (the only meeting that we have had was in relation to moving to the new stadium at Albert Park of which we will share with Athletics Victoria).
I believe no previous Board decisions have been made without consulting the full board.
Further to this the current board has also made enquiries with several members of the previous board and on each enquiry no board member felt the above allegations were occurring and accordingly it would appear based on these enquiries that the past VAL Board at all times acted in accordance with corporate governance standards with the best interests of the sport in mind.
The second statement relates to the following:
- Statements made by Terry O'Donnell in relation to Mark O'Brien
- Statements made by Terry O'Donnell in relation to Paul Connolly.
In respect of statements made by Terry O’Donnell the board has been requested to post following responses to clubs.
The following statement will address the Terry O'Donnell letter to the clubs in relation to the allegations made about Mark O'Brien.
Terry O'Donnell's Statement Paragraph 6 "Mark said at the meeting that he would not be taking notice of the review panel if they should tell him to amend a mark and would not do the job if they did so"
Mark O'Brien response: What I actually said was that I wanted an assurance in writing that the HRP would act in the same manner it had previously – namely that it would seek an explanation from myself on any handicap it had concerns over. Once that explanation had been received, if the handicap was proven to be incorrect or outside the guidelines it would be changed. If it was within the guidelines it would not be changed. I would regard anything less than that as being a vote of no confidence and would step down.
Terry O'Donnell's Statement Paragraph 8. “The next day there were three resignations from the board sighting distrust to work with the other members and the chief handicapper also resigned. Unfortunately all chose to play out their resignations in the social media rather than to the clubs who elected them.”
Mark O'Brien response: Given that no appointments had been made for 2011/12, nor had I declared my intention to apply, this is again factually incorrect. What I did after the fallout from the AGM and the Board meeting, was to declare I wouldn’t be standing for the position in 2011/12 as things currently stood. I advised the VAL CEO by email prior to any posting on a public forum.
Terry O'Donnell's Statement Paragraph 9. “This has now reached a problem where the chief handicapper has agreed to come back provided some board members resign and are not involved in any official capacity. This is untenantable in that an employee should try and direct who should comprise the board or make up of the officials.”
Mark O'Brien response: I have been at great pains to establish that I have no direct role in advising who should and should not be on the Board. I simply was not prepared to work for the Board as it stood at the time I expressed my intent not to apply for the Handicapper’s position for 2011/12, and am not prepared to reconsider until I know the final outcome of the Board. That is my right as an employee. Who the Board does and does not appoint is and has always been the Board’s responsibility.
The following statement will address the Terry O'Donnell letter to the clubs in relation to an allegation made about Paul Connolly.
Terry O'Donnell's Statement Point 8.
Terry mentioned that myself (Paul) and the other directors who resigned from the Board around 16 August “chose to play out their resignations in the social media rather than to the clubs”. I wont speak for the other former directors, but what I do know is that this statement is 100% inaccurate as it concerns my resignation.
Paul Connolly response: As Mark Howard and Mathew Boyes can confirm, my letter of resignation, together with a letter to the clubs, was sent to Mark and Mathew on the evening of 16 August 2011, requesting distribution to the clubs. Mark and Mathew duly agreed to my request and my letter was distributed. At no stage did I post it on any website, forum or other form of social media. If recipients of that letter chose to distribute it through social media, that is their choice, not mine. I have not, and will not, be participating in any discussion or debate on this or other Board related issues through social media.