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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 16 February 2008
How to get a $65Kpa community sector wage without any open job selection process?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news



We understand from a source that Yvette Andrews (pictured middle above) who was until recently the Honourary Board President of the Addison Rd Community Centre (that is appointed by a faction of the Board as below), has now been appointed as the "temporary" General Manager on a $65K per annum wage.

Andrews was elected as an onto the Board around November 2006 otherwise of no significant connection to the centre except ALP aligned contacts. It's a narrow voting base for the Board, with only some 22 of 42 tenants with a franchise to vote. It helps if you have experience in a Party Machine.

Andrews was formerly a staffer to now retired Meredith Burgman MLC, and president of the Legislative Council. She is also co author with Burgman of the Ernies feminist satire awards.

Apparently at one Board meeting in 2006 4 of the 7 Board members now including Andrews had caucused and voted for her as President. That's bootstraps genius really.

We are advised that her position now as GM will be temporary for 6 months. Meanwhile there has been no public advertising of the job which has not been officially filled for 4 months, which one might think was sufficient time to do it. The last person who was GM Ian Laird was appointed by an open job advertisement and selection process. Laird resigned to go to another position in October 2007.

So 4 months later there is still no open public advertisement of the choice paid position at your local community centre. An advert might look like this:

Addison Rd Centre General Manager 'Job Vacancy' closing date 1st April 2008

There was a widely held view or rumour that Andrews would be employed by Senator John Faulkner in Canberra but that does not appear to be the case anymore. This writer publicly raised concerns about governance under Andrews tenure as President over recent months namely

  • allegedly sanitising a 4 year rent free deal for one tenant with a new lease on still very discounted terms
  • allegedly orchestrating the sabotage of the centre website gateway work (main web address http://www.addisonrdcentre.com.au/ is still offline for 2 months now), work done by this writer under direction of the previous GM;
  • a duly lodged internal grievance procedure was effectively turned into a deadletter by way of fraudulent jurisdictional exceptions, and is now referred to the Australian Services Union (by this writer)

These concerns were referred by this writer to the office of both Liberal (Marise Payne) and Green Senator (Kerry Nettle) office as loyal Opposition and done in a way the ALP were aware of it. It's a matter of speculation whether Andrews was unemployable after that as a political staffer given the heat that might arise in Senate Estimates committees, especially working for Senator Faulkner, famous in that forum. Several key tenants have federal government grants at the ARCC.

We understand the faction behind the appointment of Andrews as President of the Board shown above (at their last AGM in Nov 2007) are:

  • John Reynolds of ARTV
  • Natalie McCarthy a subtenant (other position?)
  • ALP local councillor Rae Owen (who is now replaced by Greens Peter Olive since as the numbers changed on the Local Council), and 
  • Yvette Andrews voting for herself (casting vote).

Interestingly we are advised that Andrews has been appointed as General Manager virtually unanimously by the new Board , in the absence of a publicly advertised job selection process, endorsing a proposal from Andrews herself that the Board employ her. In short one might call that a rout of governance control at the ARC by the Andrews faction. One Board member has advised us he insists on public advertising of the GM position in 2 months in to her 6 month tenure.

Our response here at SAM is don't hold your breath waiting to see the adverts. More likely it's an April fool's schedule.

As the former acting GM Peter Talmacs told this writer earlier in February 08, advising that he had resigned as acting GM, there are "power games going on" and yes "you have been treated badly/vindictively".

Actually there is no real news in power games. This is normal for any community organisation but what makes it different this time is when the power games compromise the good governance of your and my community centre.

  • A secretive 4 year rent free tenancy? Get real.
  • Sabotage of the cyber gateway?
  • Turning the objective mediation, conflict resolution policy into a dead letter?
  • Failure to advertise the GM position for 4 months and another 2 or more months, making a total of 10 months with no GM duly appointed by transparent job selection process?

That's "bad governance" as we pointed out to one of the Board members by phone earlier today:

Picture: At back Terry Cutcliffe ARCC gallery curator, grifter and schemer (?) on 4 years rent free 500sqm on community land making a platform for the ALP Left aristocracy? Or simply champion of Indigenous Rights and community service? Or maybe both? This photo mid 2007 NAIDOC day celebrations had Linda Burney refer to Terry's marvellous home overlooking Earlwood, but she didn't mention the tennis court. This writer attended a tennis party coincidentally (?) held on the anniversary of Sept 11 WTC death of 3000 plus Americans, about 2004. Cutcliffe hounded the last GM out of the ARCC and is regularly sledging the Green Party as "hopeless".


And we are advised by a tenant that the other main management job of office administrator job will not be publicly advertised either, though this is not confirmed.

Time will tell.

It's your community centre, and you have a right to know what is going on there on your community land. It doesn't belong to a gerrymandered few at a fraught AGM. It doesn't belong to the local ALP Left aristocracy. It doesn't belong to the odd scheming tenant who manages to hussle a 4 year rent free period for some 500 sq metres of precious community space, with all the opportunity cost that involves.


 Picture: New General Manager Yvette Andrews in the middle too stodgy or risky to get a job in Canberra with the new Federal Govt?

Additionally, there may well arise the perception that this turn of events is a 'jobs for the old girls network': There is a widespead knowledge at the AR(C)C that the previous GM Laird was hounded out of his job, and was keen to move on to another position in October 2007. Actually what he said was "to get out alive".

Depending on who you ask some will say all to the better. Many will say not (one Board member Stavros Economidis in 2007 said he was the 'best GM in 30 years'). What written above doesn't turn on the ex GM's merits. He has his enemies and barrackers. SAM will stay agnostic in this post because we don't have the evidence of all the to and fro, and we don't need to say.

Only to note the barrackers could well logically argue that the current situation looks bad because Andrews was in the vanguard of the hounding of Laird out of his job, and wrote him some hate mail in his last week. This is known, and it shows a quite unprofessional approach.

Now Andrews literally has his job, no open job selection process. As one long time user of the community garden and a critic of the previous GM said to this writer recently: "Isn't there legal requirements for that?" The accusation surely will be a scenario that the hounding related to coveting the ex GM's job rather than the merits of his job performance.

Alternatively, if Andrews did expect to go to Canberra for work, that she coveted his job for some other factional mate regardless. Could this be what acting GM (Oct 07 to Feb 08) Peter Talmacs referred to as "power games are going on"?

There is added credence to this view from the belief of one tenant in the centre that Reynolds on the board (shown popping his head up in the picture above) is a cipher for his business partner Jill Hickson, a very ideological and energetic political campaigner. But has she overstepped the boundaries of  open goverance here?

 Picture: Jill Hickson is a busy behind the camera and behind the scenes at the ARCC.

In our own humble opinion it's res ipsa loquiter - an old legal phrase meaning the matter speaks for itself. Over to you ALP Left in Marrickville, including Anthony Albanese MP from the same Left faction - do your worst. Which of course you will. Attack the person instead of address the real governance issues outlined above.

There will be accountability and transparency over time and yes even personal satisfaction/justice. It's bankable. The SAM editor's attitude has hardened over the last month or so over the failed cyber gateway and fraudulent jurisdictional exclusion of a genuine greivance lodged, and we have a real head of steam and it's good community media copy too. We have identified a new angle already and there are bound to be many.

If the ALP Left are so committed to the local Indigenous community, as they want to believe, why can't these have the chance like everyone else to apply for the GM position in their local community centre? Simply because the job is not advertised for 6-10 months, if ever. It's outrageous, and shameful.

This writer was on a job selection panel as a local councillor for Bondi Ward for a high powered departmental director's position at Waverley in the late 90ies and we are know enough to know this whole matter needs a shakeout.

Picture: Ideology over common sense? Blind or commendable passion? Community owned billboard with an individual agenda, photo taken back on 27th December 2006 (by unknown) organised by Gallery curator Terry Cutcliffe which lasted about 2 days. The ARCC caretaker Kerry Lindstrom had the duty to paint over this billboard due to public complaints, presumably from traffic along busy Addison Rd.


Posted by editor at 10:07 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008 10:17 AM EADT

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