SWAN Hill Inc has written to members explaining anomalies relating to the board canvassing support for particular candidates and the process of election.
In a letter dated December 21 2018, Swan Hill Inc chair Murray Ray cited recent criticisms as the catalyst for seeking legal advice and conducting an internal investigation in regards to the matter.
The letter to members stated Swan Hill Inc is an incorporated association and as such can use Consumer Affairs Victoria model rules template or create its own rules.
The board elected its own rules at the 2004 annual general meeting.
In 2014, the rules were modified, approved by members and adopted.
But, Consumer Affairs Victoria is unable to find a record of those rules being approved by the registrar and this is important because if the Swan Hill Inc rules have not been approved by the registrar, then the Consumer Affairs Victoria model rules apply.
Those rules are substantially different to the Swan Hill Inc rules and elections conducted since 2004 have been in accordance with the Swan Hill Inc rules.
Consumer Affairs Victoria have advised that Swan Hill Inc should have operated under their model rules template.
The letter goes on to state that this discovery calls into question the validity of elections since 2004 and the basis of the membership of Swan Hill Inc. Murray Ray went on to assure members that the board had at all times acted with integrity and made decisions it believed were in the best interest of the members.
The board believed it was doing so in accordance with appropriately consulted rules.
Mr Ray wrote that the failure to have the board’s own rules approved by the registrar was a relatively minor oversight with relatively major consequences for the association.
The board has briefed Swan Hill Rural City Council on the situation and is seeking legal advice as to the most appropriate way to rectify the situation.
Mr Ray wrote that Swan Hill Inc is committed to keeping members informed as decisions around solving the issues were formalised.
The letter follows claims from Swan Hill business owners last year that they failed to receive value for money regarding their compulsory contribution to the organisation.
More in the Monday, January 14, 2019 edition of The Guardian.