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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Addison Road Community Centre board minutes leak out, suggesting more ructions?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: local news


[editor's introductory comments]

Some notable things on a scan read of these leaked minutes in this "biggest community centre in Australia" which appears to be jealousy controlled by the local ALP Left. Of course not least the fact it's been leaked to the SAM micro news site by a source. Also that the website for the centre is down about 8 months now (though still up indirectly here), and on the front page still reads

"Come back soon. We are just getting it better. This Website is still under construction"

On the specific detail in the minutes:

1. MB is Max Burgess, principal of Law Consumers. Seems to have a strategic grievance lodged against him after protected disclosure to ICAC re Marrickville Council alleged stacking of the Board with ALP Left allies.

2. Incredibly Marrickville Council cancelled their rubbish service, could paralyse a place like ARC.

3. Legal advice sought on this writer who has gone on strike over our allegation of a failure to honestly apply the grievance procedure, gone nowhere

4. major cost has arisen with Great Hall roof repair of some kind.

5. ongoing saw of asbestos on the site

6. Presence of Laurel Draffen who it seems has been appointed as another honourary board member (?) but according to google key word search is "Laurel Draffen, Manager, Good Practice Unit, NSW Federation of Housing Associations (NSWFHA) – Centre for Training in Social Housing" We don't know what this means either.

7. Absence for two meetings in a row of Cr Peter Olive - admittedly during the School holidays period but not very encouraging for those hoping for some transparency via his generally respected presence.

8. Major change over in staff, Yvette Andrews previously President, now General Manager on $65K p.a. supposed to advertise for new GM by open advertisement by April. Has it happened yet? Office Manager similar changed position. ALP stack?

9. The meeting minutes of 17th December 2007 have a serious omission - an issue underpinning the the tone and tension of the whole AGM was the rent free lease (for 4 years) and then reissued discount lease for the Art Gallery. A question was put by this writer to Cr Peter Olive, which was attempted to be censored by Assad Abdi (a tenant), question pressed and Olive advised the meeting it was 'unfortunate the lease was not treated like other leases in a standard fashion' (or words to that effect). Indeed this issue underpins the whole political representation on the Board.

In addition this writer has learned via a source that the Gallery curator/director Terry Cutcliffe has decided to move out after his (ex?) wife and mother of his kids landed a big writing commission with "huge" advances. We don't know if this is true but if it is, it's big news not least regarding the revenue opportunity in his till now mostly rent free 500 sq metres of public buildings for a private income art gallery with at times $30K art works for sale (possibly never sold?).

10. Notice the meeting date for 28th Jan 2008 happened a week earlier, in the controversial Gallery itself in a change of schedule. Did this affect Cr Olive attendance?

11. Notice the minutes for both Dec and Jan are distributed only now 2 and 3 months after the event.


Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 3:34 PM
Subject: Important information

Dear ARC,
We are preparing a newsletter for the ARC community and the local neighbours that will be distributed on a regular basis.
It will be used among other things to inform people about what is happening at ARC. This is not only a good way to promote your event but will also allow members to prepare for when big events are on.
Please email me information (what, when, where and a contact) for any events in April/May. This information will also be used to update the website.
Front Gates (Opening Times)
A reminder that for the safety and security of the Centre the front gates will be locked at 10:30pm Sunday - Thursday and 12midnight on Friday and Saturday. They are open from 6:30am in the morning. Please make sure your events finish on time to avoid being locked in.
Please respect speed limits and remind people who use your hut to do so also. Lots of kids use the Centre and it would be terrible to see someone hurt. No hooning in the carpark, please.
We recognised that on Sunday parking can become a big problem. We are working on ways to fix this, but please in the meantime, respect your ARC neighbours and the grounds - don't park people in no matter how frustrating it is.
Staff and the Board
Narelle Mantle was elected at the February meeting as the new ARC President
I started in the office on 11 February and Leanne Anderson on 18 February. Leanne works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Please give us a call on 9569 7633 or pop in if you need something done.
Please find attached the minutes of the December and January meetings.
Yvette Andrews
Acting ARC Manager


Board of Directors’ meeting – Monday– Dec 17 2007

Venue –Greening Australia Building 13 - 6:00pm

Meeting commenced 6.10pm

Attendance Yvette Andrews (YA) Pres, Natalie McCarthy (NMc) Sec, John Reynolds (JR) Treas, Laurel Draffen (LD), Narelle Mantle (NM), Geoff Hague (GH)

Peter Olive (PO)

New Members Welcome – LD and NM were welcomed to Board

Minutes of previous meeting – 31 October 2007 *

Minutes were adopted with amendment NM to elaborate on discussion relating to appropriate procedure for conveying Grievances to the Board Moved JR, Seconded NM, Adopted.


Fencing- Barbed Wire removal still to be implemented

Grievance Policy

No further progress with grievance against MB as he has been away. Board has directed PT to write to RO to update her with confirmation that the Board are continuing to investigate but MB being unavailable

A: PT to continue investigation on MB’s return & report to Board.

Rescue Service-Yet to get back to PT


Asbestos around building 21, 22, and 23 was removed by All Kleen Contracting as directed. JR questioned the short time it took for them to do clean up to take a few hours rather than day. The area has been tested and given an Asbestos Clearance Certificate by the Contractor.  The fuse Box and other priority 2 areas are being looked at by Contractor for quotes.

Turkish Hut- Electricity meter has been installed and in operation

Short Term lease- Three applicants have been received to be reviewed later in the meeting


With all standing orders suspended, the Board preceded to elect Office Bearers for New Board.

YA was elected by JR for Chair, Seconded LD. No other nominations were taken.

JR was elected by YA for Treasurer, Seconded NM. No other nominations were taken.

NMc was elected by GH for Secretary, Seconded LD. No other nominations were taken.

A motion was moved to adopt elected Office Bearers

Moved GH, seconded LD, Adopted


Letters from the following organisations were tabled by the Board

-Markets- in response to Safety Committee Meeting-to be discussed later with Safety Committee Report

-Aerialize- Regarding leaking Roof damage to Great Hall- to be discussed at later point

-Jobs Australia regarding membership joining fee.  The Board discussed possible benefits but did not have enough background knowledge

A: LD will look into obtaining more info from own org’s experience with them and report back with a recommendation.


The MMC Nursery has requested a phone line. The Board agreed the centre is not in a financial position to assist in its installation but were happy for them to look into it themselves, and directed PT to write to Helen in response.

PT to email Helen

Moved JR Seconded GH, Adopted.



Great Hall- Substantial damage to floor and electrical wiring reported after heavy rains. A discussion followed to inform new members of Great Hall situation

Pt has instructed KL to plug obvious holes as a temporary measure to reduce leaking and with reasonable success. 

Investigation into repair of roof PT has passed onto the Board two quotes and options

Quote one- to remove and replace roof- $19,000

Quote 2- $10,000 to recover roof with a layer of roofing sealant


The Board has instructed PT to get in electrician to fix Exit signs not working and some light switches as result of leaks ASAP. Continue plugging any obtainable gaps.  Considering the state of other rooves that are in need of repair throughout the Centre the Board have directed PT to provide the Board with entire costing quote for all urgent repairs for Feb Board meeting in order to devise to a plan to fix all in one hit.  The Board will also consider approaching MMC to obtain matched funding of $50,000 once a costing plan is established.

A: PT to get costing for all urgent roof repairs throughout centre and get in electrician ASAP

Moved JR, Seconded NM, Adopted.

Leases- Short Term Hire

Three applications

Nicole Barakat (NB)

Alison Cornish (AC)

Kay- ARC Neighbour (K

With due consideration with recommendations from Board members, The Board agreed to offer the space to NB

A: PT to notify NB and organise lease ASAP

Moved NM, Seconded NMc

Safety Committee Report – Markets

Main problematic issues raised in discussion amongst Safety Committee were- Rubbish, Electricity use, Traffic management particularly in co-junction with Great Hall Hirers. 

The uneven road surface that leads from side entrance was determined to pose a possible risk to pedestrians and the Safety committee have since implemented its closure for the Sundays.

The Board would like to see an audit of stalls and the Centre’s financial revenue from the markets and are looking into issues raised to follow up next meeting.

A: PT to prepare report and circulate to Board for next meeting

Sunday Activity and Parking

Complaints from membership have raised problems of people blocking access to huts by parking inappropriately when parking is full and using the huts up the backs gardens’ as toilets. The Board have directed PT to improve signage around the Centre and to include toilet directions and more No Parking signs. NM offered Reverse Garbage (RG) services for supply of materials and assistance.

A: PT to consult RG for assistance


As the Budget was not apparent in Financial Report the Board directed PT to locate Budget with Accountant (MG). and work together to bring over spreadsheet necessary info cash-flow projection etc in time for review before next meeting.

In retrospect the Board would like to work towards simplifying format of Financial Report for more obvious transparency and clarity at meetings and for Membership viewing and will consider using alternative reporting formats such as used by RG

A: PT to persist in bringing accounts up to date and work on for next meeting

RG to provide samples of accounting reports for possible reference

Moved YA, Seconded NM, Adopted



The Board recognised main issues raised and discussed at AGM to be

-Continuation of Open Meetings throughout Year- Dates to be confirmed once staffing is addressed

-Markets- Look at problems arising and managerial resolutions with increasing use of Centre’s resources with growing market

-Environmental Responsibility for ARC- continue to improve on current practice and implement for new Project Developments

-Financial reports –More transparency and clarity


A motion was moved to review Constitution and Clarify process for Associate Membership for 2008 AGM

An Induction Kit for new Board members to be developed to include ARC Constitution and all policy procedures prior to first Board meeting

 Moved JR, Seconded YA, Adopted.



A/Leave –PT to take two weeks A/Leave.  Office will be closed from 21 Jan and reopen Jan 6.

Kerry and Kerry Lindberg- Pt to check with for leave option

Christmas Day

The Board agreed for Centre to close on Christmas Day and allow Caretakers to take Public Holiday.

A: PT to advise membership ASAP of office closure dates

Moved YA, Seconded JR, Adopted.

JR left the room at 7.33 for grievance discussion to continue.


Situation with staff member has not improved with them now abstaining to follow given duties. Despite verbal and written warning they are continuing to publish public comments damaging to the Centre and Board members reputations. The Board agreed to seek legal advice for situation to be resolved

A: PT to contact recommended Lawyer and Report to Board ASAP

Moved NM, Seconded GH, Adopted.

JR returned to meeting

PT left meeting 7.50pm

GM Position

The Board discussed the necessity of an Operations Report and relevant info for Agenda items to be sent out for reading a week or so prior for more informed discussion and time efficiency of Board meeting. Clearer direction for tasks to be given to PT to assist in process.

The Board agreed to conduct a separate meeting in the New Year before the next regular Board meeting to come up with a staff restructuring timeline and work towards GM replacement. Working with PT for recommendations with Budget in mind. January 21 was set as date to be confirmed.

 A: PT to organise report with relevant info for Board as follows Current employees, job descriptions in place, rate of pay, 2008 staffing budget projection.

Moved NM, Seconded JR, Adopted.

General Business

PR/ Website –On NM’s recommendation the Board agreed to employ Greg Shapely one day a week on casual basis to update website for three months.  The Board would also like for him to look at developing a system for updating info and member’s input, upcoming events and a monthly newsletter and ARC Brochure.  To be reviewed March

Moved NM, Seconded NMc, Adopted


The Board are considering seeking legal advice to negotiate non-standard long term leasing requests from some Tenants.

Meeting closed 8.30pm


Next Board Meeting (last Wednesday of the month): 28 January 2008


Board and Staffing Meeting – Wednesday– Jan 23 2008

Venue –Gallery Building 13 - 6:00pm


Meeting commenced 6.10pm

Attendance Yvette Andrews (YA) Pres, Natalie McCarthy (NMc) Sec, John Reynolds (JR) Treas, Laurel Draffen (LD), Narelle Mantle (NM), Geoff Hague (GH)

Peter Olive (PO)


Letters from the following organisations were tabled by the Board

-Greening Australia regarding emergency telephone cabling installed due to telephone cabling breakdown with response from PT

Management are happy to meet with GA to discuss issue and are continuing to find the best solutions for telecommunications overall in the Centre

-Marrickville Council- cancellation of rubbish collection service

The Board agree that in consideration to the lack of notice from Council (three weeks) with no prior warning by Council Board Rep and the multiple community groups within ARC including Marrickville Council organizations that that are dependant on the service.  Management will need more time to consider a new rubbish removal system that meets the needs of centre and is responsible environmentally.  The Board would like meet with Council to discuss matter

 A: PT to write to Council requesting more time then stated and Board to meet with Council to come up with working solution


Update with legal advice

Following Consultation with Lawyer PT sent letter to staff member calling for a meeting for 25 January to resolve matter between staff member and management. NM will attend with PT

PT to update Board following meeting

Staffing - GM Position

PT officially tendered his resignation as of Feb 1. The Board thanked PT for his time of 18 months at ARC and acknowledged his efforts and contribution particularly for his cooperation in taking on acting managerial role. They wished him well for the future.  NM is organising a farewell BBQ at RG for the Friday with Members, staff and Board invited to attend. 

A: PT to work towards handover process with Board Membership to be notified

Bookkeeper is finishing up end of January

PT proceeded to leave meeting for Board to discuss situation

A temporary solution of YA stepping into the position as acting manager for six months while the position was reviewed and a recruitment process put in place was proposed. YA stepped down from chair and left meeting 6:37 for Board to consider the matter.

The Board were then in agreement to first discuss their thoughts on the urgent matter of staffing situation and then establish an appropriate process to resolve matter in an open and transparent way with the centre’s best interest in mind.

After a discussion, the Board agreed bringing in an acting Manager who was already active in the Centre for six months to be the best possible solution. It would allow for consistency in Centre operations and keep up the momentum of the Board to establish staff structure and review criteria for Centre Manager. The acting person in the role would be required to begin the process of recruitment for position in this time. A motion was moved to offer the position of acting role to YA. A part-time (3 days a week) bookkeeper/admin assistant would be sort immediately to assist the Acting Manager.

Moved NM, Seconded GH, Adopted

YA returned to meeting 7p.m and accepted the Boards offer. She then proceeded to resign from the Board and would be able to step into acting managerial role from Feb 10. Office to be tended where possible (suggested Kerry) during week of transition between acting managers.

The Board were reluctant to lose their President and thanked YA for her all time and efforts. They are confident in her ability to take on role and be the best person for the position.

A: YA will email Admin Position description Feb 11 and advertise to fill position ASAP. RG accountant Adam will be able to assist YA and Board with bookkeeping for interim.

-LD/NM to come up with letter to notify membership ASAP

The next Board meeting will be after YA has begun role as acting manager Feb 27.  The new Chair to be voted in next meeting Board members to email possible candidate to replace community Rep prior to meeting for consideration and Honorary member endorsement

Moved JR Seconded NM, adopted.

Meeting closed 7.19 pm

Posted by editor at 11:32 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 3 April 2008 12:35 PM NZT

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