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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs

Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs

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1 Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:33 pm

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To All VAL Clubs 16 August 2011

Following the events leading up to, during and since the 2011 VAL AGM on 7 August I felt it appropriate to address you all on some key issues arising from this process that I believe go to the fabric of this great sport.

Before I do so I believe it is important to remember that none of us “run” or “own” this sport. As Andrew McManus said in his President’s Report presented at the AGM, we are all mere custodians.

As Directors of the VAL, myself and my 9 colleagues, under the current VAL model, represent the clubs. But, in contrast to some suggestions at the AGM, it does not end there.

In what capacity do we represent the clubs? It can only be as custodians of this sport. There were some questions at the AGM as to what that actually means. To those who seek an answer, I refer you to the Purposes of Association contained in the VAL Constitution. There are 6 purposes of the VAL, ranging from (to paraphrase) managing the finances, to ensuring athletic meetings are conducted in accordance with our rules (and dealing with any breaches), to working with other sports. These are all custodial activities, and they are the key parameters you would expect of our organisation. To me though, the purpose of the VAL that resonates the most is:

“To promote a greater community awareness of professional foot running and its contribution to the community generally.”

Ultimately this represents the core of why our sport exists today. It tells us why we as a Board of Directors represent the member Clubs. It is to present a sport that is an active, viable and sustainable part of the communities in which we, our families and our friends, our forebears and future generations, live and hopefully prosper.

There are many interests, responsibilities and stakeholders to consider in this ongoing and fluent exercise of running the VAL, including Clubs, Officials, Volunteers, Athletes, Trainers, Sponsors, Government, other Sporting Clubs (with whom we often share facilities) and organisations, family, friends, spectators, suppliers and local communities. The only way to effectively and efficiently manage such a diverse environment is to have a representative body that displays key characteristics including integrity, leadership, innovation, and teamwork whilst ensuring that it has in place strong processes, appropriate protocols and thorough planning.

To do all of these things and ensure any organisation moves forward rather than standing still or regressing, you must adhere to core values, be sound operationally today but, overall, be visionary and look to secure a sustainable place in the future for the organisation, and in our case the sport.

Why is all this important you might ask? Well, good question.

If what I have seen in the past few days and weeks is any guide, this organisation after the results of the AGM now looks more like one that is regressing rather than one that is progressing.

The AGM raised for me some serious questions around integrity, not only in the process and structure of our organisation, but also in the conduct of certain individuals. The results of the recent election have been influenced quite significantly by a campaign of miss-information, untruths, and downright hypocrisy.


The lobbying of clubs leading up to the election focussed on allegations of:

(a) disunity at Board level (and as such a desire to change the Board to unify it); and
(b) decisions being made without proper consultation.

I also understand that concerns have been expressed about some candidates/directors attending insufficient athletic meetings during the season.

Let me address the question of attending athletic meetings. I agree that it is incumbent on all directors to try and attend as many race meetings as they are able. Equally though it is important to recognise that this will not mean all meetings, because each individual will have different demands, be they work, family or other commitments. A lack of presence at meetings does not necessarily detract from the individual’s contribution, provided they stay sufficiently connected to the sport to make a contribution at Board level and add to the strategic direction of the sport. In many respects there is a strong argument, one applied by many successful sporting organisations around the world (including our own AFL), that a degree of distance between daily activities of an organisation and its Board is important in bringing in additional views, ensuring robust reviews of existing practices and creating a platform for continuous improvement. It is quite difficult to achieve this if all of the Board members are officiating, training or competing on a weekly basis. In such cases, the danger is that a Board can quickly revert to operational mode and lose strategic direction.

Now, turning to the questions of Board unity and a perceived lack of consultation. When I was informed that these were the “campaign highlights” for certain candidates at the recent election I must say I was astounded, appalled, and disillusioned that these issues could be supported with any degree of credibility.

Surely the clubs want elected representatives who are prepared to share their views and engage in constructive discussion. Yes, granted, sometimes discussion can be robust and the Board will not always be in consensus, but that is democratic process working at its best. Yet, whilst in my time on the Board an environment has always been present at Board meetings where everyone was given the opportunity to share their views, not once has a member of the Board in my time expressed a concern about a lack of unity or a lack of consultation.

To leave such concerns to an “election campaign” seriously detracts from my ability as a Board member to trust that some of my fellow board members will have the integrity to be open, honest and constructive in their dealings on the Board. My concern was further heightened when the only discussion on these perceived issues was undertaken behind closed doors rather than directly addressing them in an open way to everyone in the lead up to the recent election. In addition, whilst the “campaign” apparently talked of bringing unity to the Board and removing factions, the actions in securing vote support were themselves factional by their very nature. Going forward, all of these factors make it very difficult to trust that all my fellow Board members will be open and honest in Board room discussions. Without that trust, I feel that any value I can add to the Board table and the sport is seriously diminished.

What was perhaps more disappointing is that the “campaigning” was simply accepted as gospel by those voting and that no attempt was made to validate these statements and to canvass the views of other Board members who have been present at Board meetings in the past 2 years.

I make the statements because I firmly believe there needs to be an open and honest debate on practices within our sport that are preventing it from achieving its full potential. I believe it is time we, collectively as a sport, rid ourselves of these deep and sometimes divisive factions and look to the future as one where we promote integrity, loyalty, vision and merit as key values.

I, like all of you, wish to see this sport prosper. We have an opportunity today. We have been growing entries and improving financially in the past 2 to 3 years, whilst participation outside the VAL (such as AV) declines. I ask you all to seize this opportunity – it may not present itself again.

At last night’s August meeting of the new VAL Board I sought to address the above issues in an open and constructive manner. I did so by asking all Board members to address a series of questions that were circulated to them in advance and sought to understand each individual’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the transmission of information in the lead up to the election, to understand why any concerns were not raised at Board meetings and, perhaps most concerning, whether any direct attempts were made to influence the AGM voting in a block / factional manner. These issues are important as they sought to address the integrity of each of us as individuals.

However, following the discussion that attempted to address these issues last night I have no confidence at all that the Board in its current form, and with its present external influences, will be able to continue to operate in a manner that is open, constructive, consultative and forward looking.

As a result, I do not feel with all good conscience that I can continue to take my place as a representative of the clubs on the Board of the VAL when I have serious integrity concerns about the recent election process and the ongoing operation of the Board. To be an effective Board member and offer value to an organisation you need to be able to trust people and process and to believe that you are working constructively in an environment of mutual trust, respect and integrity. I no longer believe that to be the case here.

This evening I have therefore tendered my resignation as a director of the VAL (effective immediately) to the new President Mathew Boyes. I wish Mathew, Mark Howard as CEO and the VAL continued success in taking the sport forward and equally I wish you all the very best of success with your individual meetings, this season and beyond.

In closing I would like to offer two small first steps that I believe the clubs can assist in taking to learn from recent events. The first is that I ask each member club to revisit the process by which they promote and assess Board candidates and continue to put forward individuals with a vision for unity and growth, not factionalism and self interest. I also suggest you ensure you as clubs understand the basis on which your delegates are voting at AGM’s and agree the sound reasons for doing so.

Secondly, I recommend that the external review of the VAL Constitution be complete, thorough and all encompassing. That is, the VAL should brief our lawyers to fully consider the most appropriate organisational structure for an organisation of our kind today, including membership, representation, number of directors, sourcing of directors, etc. The review should not have any pre-conceived view on the outcome and the outcome needs to be supported by all. Collectively we need to challenge what we have today and assess alternatives to see if they can better the sport.

There is clearly more we can do, but these are two aspects I believe will help ensure the sport is on the right track.

Yours in running


Paul Connolly



Last edited by Admin on Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:18 am; edited 2 times in total

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2 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:58 am

Mara

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To save a great deal of banter and guessing I have attached my email of resignation, I have blanked out a name for privacy reasons. It is not my policy to disclose board discussions under normal circumstances. After the letter I will explain the incident that some may say caused my "explosion"


To Matthew Boyes and the Board of the Victorian Athletic League.

After last night’s meeting I emailed Matthew my resignation from the board effective immediately. Before I elaborate I would first like to sincerely apologize to new board members Matthew Boyes and Steven Cato ,they must have wondered what they had walked into. Also impress upon them that my decision was in no way connected to their election to the board. On the contrary both showed last night that they will be valuable contributors. Under better circumstances I would like to have worked with them both. As you are all aware I was not happy with the election process that took place last Sunday week. It was not so much that Andrew McManus was not re-elected but more the manner that it was done. You can paint the picture anyway you like but when it was all boiled down the election was a compromised count. And as **** said last night, words to the effect “maybe I should resign if I don’t like it”. I believe in my ten years on the board I have always been completely honest and have fought hard for ideals that I believe in. This sport has a history of being its own worst enemy and last night’s efforts by some board members left me lacking trust and confidence. On numerous occasions it was impossible to get a straight answer from some people I am expected to work with for the next two years. Regardless of how it sounded last night, I have enjoyed my time on the board and wish Matthew and the board the very best.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Howard for the incredible help and support he has given me over the last number of years. The success that the sport is currently enjoying is in no small part due to his work and enthusiasm.
I hope to see you all over the summer months.
Regards

Brian Marantelli.

Last Sunday at the VCCL Mark O'Brien and I spoke about the upcoming season and also he expressed his apprehension about the losing of Andrew McManus from the board. As Mark was attending Mondays board meeting at 7pm I assured him that before he came into the room i would personally get all board members to voice their approval or disapproval of MOB. The entire board of 10 were present and declared their whole hearted support of MOB and that under no circumstances was any board member to approach him during the season on any handicap issues.
At 7pm mark came into the room and stated him plans and expectations as well as the changes he recommended in his AGM report. After 40 minutes of discussion once again the board then reaffirmed their complete commitment to MOB.
Mark then left the room and TOD made the statement---------- "well we won't be letting him do that".
As it turned out that statement was only the fuse that led to a very "different " evening.
In short, the man cannot be trusted and I will not work with the bumbling fool.

3 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:10 am

CoupClub

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The coup club:
Bill Sutton
Andrew Mulhan
Terry O’Donnell
Rick Trusler
Wally Meechan
John Henry
Rick Dunbar
Met secretly to take over the VAL.

Their objective to get rid of:
Andrew McManus
Mark O’Brien

The result
The VAL in disrepute with three board members resigning.
Gone are:
Paul Connolly
Brian Marantelli
Cam York
Mark O’Brien
Andrew McManus

4 Attention Mara on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:02 pm

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Hi Marra,

As an athlete, thank you for your 10 years of dedication to the VAL via your membership to the board.

I have a question in regard to your recent post on this forum. You stated the following;

"Mark then left the room and TOD made the statement---------- "well we won't be letting him do that".
As it turned out that statement was only the fuse that led to a very "different " evening.
In short, the man cannot be trusted and I will not work with the bumbling fool."

Of the many actions reported over the past few weeks, this is one of blatancy that really stood out for me. I feel it significantly exposes the type of characters that you have been dealing with and can easily justify your action of resigning. My question is, who was chairing this meeting and what was their reaction? I would think that whoever was in charge at this time would be responsible for reprimanding 'the bumbling fool' under a minuted environment.

5 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:28 pm

Pinochio

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The results of the recent election have been influenced quite significantly by a campaign of miss-information, untruths, and downright hypocrisy.

What are these lies?



PY: Sorry to be repetitive but it has come up a few times and answers need to be given so that a full understanding can be sought by the many who haven't heard both sides. Most of us don't wish to take sides until we know all the information.

6 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:50 pm

Phantom

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Pinnochio, I don't wish to treat you as a fool, however your constant questioning makes me seriously question it. Read through the letters of Paul Connolly, Cam Yorke and Brian Marra again and you will find everything you need, unless of course you are fishing for something more. If you are truly that concerned perhaps you could even pick up the phone and ring one of the gentlemen concerned and get it from them directly, or ring Bill Sutton or Wally Meechan for their side of the story.

7 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:03 am

dizzy

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Will Marra be standing for the Bored again not that his best mate has resigned?

8 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:10 pm

chrchill

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mara is a good bloke that helped get rid of tod through his influence of mob.

9 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:28 pm

Friends

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Mara is back on the VAL Board!

10 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:17 pm

interstd

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I've heard of a Trusler resignation letter.

Can it be posted up please.

11 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:40 am

SGMNOW

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Letter of Resignation
To VAL Clubs :-
Two weeks ago, I tendered my resignation to the Board after accepting their wisdom to do so to allow a brokering of a deal to allow the season and appointment of officials to proceed.
I did so with great reluctance as at this Board meeting it received confirmation that no such agreement could be achieved merely by my and Terry O’Donnell’s resignations.
SO WHY DID YOU RESIGN IF A 'DEAL' HADN'T BEEN REACHED?
At present the Board and the VAL are being held hostage by a group of former directors and a past employee with an ever changing list of demands as to who will or won’t compose the makeup of the Board. This is having the flow on effect of making other employees very nervous and reluctant to participate in the VAL in the face of such turmoil.
HOW HELD HOSTAGE? NOTHING STOPPING CURRENT BOARD FROM APPOINTING OFFICIALS?
They, in most cases, have conducted a one sided and partisan campaign of disruption by the spreading of half truths and outright incorrect statements as to the state of affairs. This also includes the VRTA representative who has openly sided with such people. Much of this has been conducted in the social media with the knowledge that the Board cannot answer back such charges by such methods. It was a method of attack based upon the maxim “throw enough muck and some must stick”.
WHAT ARE THESE HALF TRUTHS?
The truth is that the VAL conducted an election that was legally and duly voted on by the clubs as per the constitution.
One of their side was not re elected. They lost their majority on the Board.
WHO IS THIS SIDE?
This affair is not about the VAL, it is purely one of power, its use and retention.
MAYBE FOR YOUR 'SIDE', THIS IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT
The Board last year was fractured and there was no attempt to achieve a conciliatory atmosphere where all points of view were received.
DID YOU RAISE THESE ISSUES AT BOARD MEETINGS, YOUR NOMINATION STATEMENT OR AT THE AGM?
Often matters for discussion were already decided prior to Board meetings. This is not to say that there may have ultimately been any opposition to such but there was certainly a group who controlled the Board and they were not interested in taking on board views contrary or differing to theirs.
EVIDENCE?
This was evidenced by the continuance of allowing a Board member not to attend most meetings but having him vote by phone without even participating in discussion. On occasions he was rung only for his vote.
This is also evidenced by the insistence of Cameron Yorke being appointed to Board in direct contravention of the constitution.
PLEASE EXPLAIN?
To quote one member of this group,” our minute book would not stand too much scrutiny by VCAT.”
WHY DON'T YOU NAME THIS PERSON?
The inconsistencies in dealing with resignations from the Board are indicative of the factional nature of the Board. When Mr Lehmann resigned in writing via email he was given the opportunity to retract such some time later. When Mr Astill tendered his resignation over a situation that was ultimately resolved in his vindication he was not allowed to retract such. One does not need to guess which was important to the ruling faction.
These and other instances are indicative of a Board that was not functioning as it should and a President, as the leader of such a Board, failing in his duty to represent all the constituent members.
DID YOU RAISE THIS, AND IS THIS RECORDED IN BOARD MINUTES?
Thus I resolved to try and correct this situation. I started talking to people with a view to offering myself as President for this year in an effort to bring everyone together, if I was re elected. As I foresaw, the then current situation would only further degenerate and create infighting and disputation. Such could not help the VAL.
WOULDN'T THE BEST WAY TO RESOLVE THIS WOULD BE TO RAISE YOUR CONCERNS AT A BOARD MEETING, OR AT THE VERY LEAST HAVE IT MINUTED AT A BOARD MEETING SO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE THAT YOU TRIED TO WORK IT OUT?
I was questioned about such as soon as I did speak with some and was asked don’t I think I should be contacting the clubs. I replied that it was not proper to do so. I needed to be re elected before such. As it was I was elected only for one year and did not seek election as President.
BUT YOU SOUGHT ELECTION AS VICE PRESIDENT EVEN ALTHOUGH YOU WERE IN THE BOTTOM TWO VOTES FROM THE CLUBS, AND THE VICE PRESIDENT WHO HAS OPENLY BEEN CREDITED AS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THE VAL HAS A HEALTHY PROFIT ALSO STOOD? YOU SEEM TO BE VERY POWER HUNGRY
The group, agitating at the moment, are acting as if outraged that their President was not elected. That is what it is “acting”. They were given plenty of notice that the current situation was not acceptable to some clubs. They chose to ignore same. The result was Mr McManus was not re elected.
WHAT WAS THIS NOTICE AND WHAT WAS THE SITUATION THAT WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE? I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THE ANNUAL REPORT INDICATED VAL GOING WELL? IT IS NOT ABOUT THE PAST PRESIDENT IT IS PURELY AND SIMPLY ABOUT ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR
It is to be noted that with 9 standing for election and only 7 places to be filled the use of the first past the post voting system effectively meant that the clubs were voting for the two who was not acceptable. If a preference system had been used Mr. McManus may very well have been re elected.
I THINK MR MCMANUS WOULD HAVE FARED FAR WORSE UNDER A PREFERENTIAL SYSTEM.DID YOU QUESTION THE VOTING SYSTEM BEFORE THE AGM?
I am given to understand that he did not even garner a third of the votes.
Thus the clubs made their decision.
I have been accused of being untrustworthy, and other defamatory statements. I deny any such suggestion. I always acted in what I thought was for the betterment of the VAL and its clubs.
'ALWAYS' - THEN I HOPE YOU ATTEND AND ANSWER QUESTIONS AT THE SGM
I am still considering whether to seek legal redress for such scurrilous statements.
PLEASE DO
I can categorically say that I never contacted any club to urge not to vote for any candidate. I did not contact any club. It should be noted that I did not even have a vote at the AGM.
SO YOU DIDN'T CONTACT ANY 'CLUB' BUT YOU ATTENDED A MEETING WHERE THE CLUB DELEGATES FOR ST ALBANS, NORTHCOTE, NOBLE PARK, RYE, STONNINGTON AND POSSIBLY OTHERS ATTENDED?
The conduct of the now ex directors together with statements made by some should be very worrying for the clubs. Certain of these people do not believe the clubs should have any say in the affairs of the VAL. Some even believe that individual runners and trainers should have equal voting rights as the clubs.
WHO SAID THIS? STOP TRYING TO SCARE PEOPLE
This is tantamount to removing control of the VAL from the clubs.

I find such attitudes to be hypocritical at the least and dangerous to the clubs existence.
They obviously don’t feel embarrased to seek the clubs endorsement for election though.
I also found Mr O’Brien’s attitude unsatifactory. He was given unanimous support but he declined to accept the position because he wanted to see the outcome of the nights meeting.
ISN'T IT AN EMPLOYEES RIGHT TO KNOW WHO HE IS WORKING FOR?
He obviously was informed that there were to be ructions forth coming. I did find objectionable his continued insistence that he if didn’t get his own way on all matters he would walk, if he didn’t approve of who may have been appointed as his replacement he would withhold the VAL work sheets. He has participated in the factionalism and has continued to do so. His attitude as an employee is one that would not and should not be tolerated by any employer. I believe that pandering to him will be ultimately detrimental to the VAL moving forward.
SO WHY HAVE THE CURRENT BOARD AND YOURSELVES BEEN CONTINUALLY CONTACTING HIM TO GET HIM TO RETURN? SINCE YOU HAVE RESIGNED FROM THE BOARD, WHY DON'T YOU APPLY FOR THE HANDICAPPING POSITION? THEN YOU WILL HAVE THE BOARD THAT YOU WANT AND TOD AND YOURSELF CONTROLLING THE HANDICAPPING AND CHIEF STEWARD POSITIONS. THIS WOULD SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS AND OTHER PAST BOARD MEMBERS WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO 'HOLD THE SPORT TO RANSOM AS YOU PUT IT'
As most clubs know, I have been steward for 7 of the past 8 years. I was only Chief Steward last year at the insistence of the Board. I did not seek it and did have some difficulties in being a Board member and Chief Steward and I said so at the AGM.
SO, AGAIN, YOU ARE NOW FREE TO APPLY FOR THAT ROLE
If I was so untrustworthy, I must question such statements given that I was certainly trustworthy enough to prosecute two of the most serious cases that have come before the VAL for many years.
CURRENT ISSUE IS AROUND YOUR ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR SURROUNDING THE AGM ELECTION, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PAST BEHAVIOUR
I have given many years to the VAL and have always acted in the best interests of the VAL and its member clubs. The VAL and professional running is part of my DNA and it distresses me to walk away under such circumstances. I only did so to help the VAL but I am not certain that it will not have been in vain.
HOW HAS YOUR RESIGNATION HELPED, AND HOW HAS THIS LETTER HELPED?
I will not attend the SGM as under the constitution I am not permitted nor may I say are any of the other past directors nor employees unless as observer or club delegate.
I do want to thank a number of people who are good people and who believe in the VAL and the clubs.
SO YOU ARE GOING TO HIDE BEHIND THE CONSTITUTION AND NOT FRONT UP? SGM NOTICE HAS INVITED CLUBS TO ASK PAST BOARD MEMBERS QUESTIONS - PRETTY HARD TO ASK YOU A QUESTION IF YOU ARE NOT THERE
Firstly, Terry O’Donnell. This man has given his life to the VAL and I think it abysmal that he has been discarded in this manner.
MANY PEOPLE HAVE HEARD YOU OFFERING NEGATIVE OPINIONS OF TERRY
Bill Sutton, who passionately believes in the VAL and its continuance. A champion runner and champion person. This man taught me to be a steward and taught me the lore of the VAL and pro running.
John Holloway, a gentleman always and a great support to me.
Sue Dunbar who was at times the calming influence on situations and who also has given her life to the VAL.
Wally Meechan, who stood with me to try and correct the problems besetting the VAL. I wish him all the best in his role on the Board.
SORRY, I MUST HAVE MISSED IT IN WALLY AND YOUR'S NOMINATION STATEMENTS OR AGM SPEECH - WHEN DID YOU OUTLINE THIS PLATFORM?
Noel Rexter is another of natures true gentlemen. His quiet but pointed contributions will be missed by the board.
Mark Howard. Mark has been stuck between a rock and a hard place for quite awhile and I have always found him more than helpful to the Board. He is a much under- valued contributor.
WILL BE GOOD TO HEAR FROM MARK AT THE SGM
And lastly to all the under paid and long serving staff of the VAL, I thanks them. Their contribution has never been recognized fully and it was one of my bugbears that this needs to be corrected soon. The VAL cannot continue to rely on the few forever. They need to be paid something closer market value for the hours put in and to make it attractive for new staff to undertake the many jobs needed each week to run meetings.
AGAIN - WHY DID YOU NOT RAISE THIS PRIOR TO THE AGM?
I honestly hope the VAL and the current Board can see a way forward to resolve this problem and I personally wish Mathew Boyes my heartfelt thanks for my time working with him.
Please note that because of the ongoing discussions and negotiations I have refrained from publishing my letter till now in the interests of the Board seeking some form of resolution. However I must express my desire for the clubs to at least hear my side of the affair.
I HOPE YOU TURN UP TO THE SGM RICK, AS I HAVE A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THAT I WOULD LIKE YOU TO ANSWER
Rick Trusler

12 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:31 pm

sickofit

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It amazes me that the above alias inserts his comments before we get to read the letter without bias.

13 Re: Paul Connolly's open letter to VAL Clubs on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:36 pm

sickofit

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This the pattern of social media - very little ethic to the news being told.

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