The last seven days have been eventful to say the least for the RSL South Australia/ Northern Territory and to be honest for me personally. I am writing to let you know how we are tracking and to discuss some issues that might be relevant to you.
Resignation of the former CEO
The rumour mill regarding the resignation of Mr Corey Starkey is just that, rumours. It was a surprise to me personally that he resigned from his position as CEO, it may be that I have a lack of emotional intelligence and missed the signs leading to his departure. I can assure you that he was not pushed out of the position. We have brought Samantha Hewitt on for the next three months as the interim CEO. The interim position that Samantha is filling will give us some breathing space and allow for a rigorous selection process for the next CEO.
My decision to resign as a Director of RSL Australia Ltd (National) was predicated on several factors.
1. I have a lack of faith in the current National President and Vice President who are still under investigation by the Australian Charities and Not-for Profits Commission. I also believe that the AGM held on the 29th was un-constitutional and hence I did not attend. It was at this AGM that Robert Dick was elected President for a three year term. At the following board meeting Stewart Cameron, President of RSL Queensland was elected as the Vice President for a three year term.
2. Myself and James Brown, President of RSL NSW, were not given access to documents relevant to the normal decision process of Directors. Without the information request I was unable to discharge my duties appropriately. There were decisions and media releases being made for the charity that I was not included in. The board of RSL SA/NT still has the ability to reappoint a person to the board of RSL National when we see fit.
3. The frequent and ongoing harassment and threats of legal action from a fellow director has developed a toxic environment with the board of RSL National. Personally, I feel that I do not need to operate in such an environment.
I must point out that many of the board members of RSL National are upstanding, hardworking and honest individuals. Unfortunately they appear to have a muted voice on the board.
Since the departure of the former CEO we have done a health check on RSL SA/NT. Through some serious rigor and hard work I am happy to report the following:
1. Deeds of Company Arrangements (DOCAs): The interim CEO and I have spoken to the Administrators, Rogers Reidy, and we believe that the DOCAs are progressing well and to plan.
2. Budget: We are tracking well with our budget and are above projections. The Poppy Appeal and membership drives have been very successful. I would like to thank all of the volunteers and staff for their hard work.
3. Advocacy and Welfare: First my thanks to all of the volunteer advocates and welfare officers doing God’s work within the League. I would also like to thank those Sub-Branches that assist through the hosting of advocates and welfare officers or by a direct financial contribution. We do see a need to improve the support we offer to all our advocates, so with that in mind we will be sourcing funds to hire an administration assistant to assist them only. We are looking to hire a veteran to fill this position and have received some CVs from DVA focused rehabilitation providers, with that said it will still be a competitive process.
4. ACNC Deed of Compliance: We were able to maintain our charitable status by signing a deed of compliance. There are 11 compliance milestones we are required to meet in order to be complaint. I am happy to report that we are meeting our milestones and look to have this completed ahead of schedule.
RSL Art Union
Please let all of your friends, family and fellow members know that the RSL Art Union is NOT associated with the RSL SA/NT. The RSL Art Union is controlled and operated by and for the benefit of RSL Queensland. If you want to support what RSL Queensland is doing then feel free to buy a lottery ticket from the RSL Art Union, if you want to support South Australians and Territorians then look locally please. It was meant to be added to the agenda of the RSL National board meeting held on 29 Nov 2017, but for some reason unknown to me it was not included as an agenda item. I do have some assurance that it will be on the agenda for the 22 Feb 2018 National board meeting.
We have bared our soul and have acknowledged that errors have been made in the past. Myself and the Interim Board are committed to righting the wrongs and moving forward in ways to benefit members and veterans. This requires teamwork and I ask that you be part of that team.
RSL SA/NT. 1 December, 2017