HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 587: 10 November 2011

Vote fails, Board stays, for now…
The important lesson disgruntled executives of CISNOC’s sporting federations learnt from the special general meeting held on Tuesday evening at the AOG Hall in Takuvaine, was how hard it is to dislodge CISNOC’s Board members.

And it is always a privilege, whether you like it or not, to witness first hand, the mastery of an experienced statesman at work-Sir Geoffrey Henry Former Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and now Speaker of the House.
The meeting was called by 12 of the 26 sports federations to action a 10 point agenda which included the all important item 3 “To request the retirement of the current Executive Board members.” The agenda was put together by the Tennis Federation.
Representatives from sports federations began pouring into the AOG Hall from 4pm onwards and when the meeting finally started half an hour late, 23 sports federations were represented along with 6 outer islands and 8 Executive Board members. One Board member arrived later and two were absent. Rosie Blake, General Secretary was overseas on CISNOC business related to the Commonwealth Games Council. Well over 60 people packed the hall including members of the public and the media.
CISNOC President Sir Geoffrey Henry chaired the meeting. He introduced Board members including new Treasurer Dan O’Brien who was appointed a week ago and working on a voluntary basis. Government advisor to CISNOC, Secretary of Internal Affairs, Bredina Drollet was introduced. The other government advisor, Secretary of Finance Richard Neves, is in Fiji. Minister for Sport Hon Mark Brown was introduced and he made a short statement regarding sports gear left over from the Pacific Mini Games, unpaid accounts and the future management of the TSA. He also revealed he had instructed CIIC to establish a management board of CIIC and CISNOC reps to look after sports assets.
At this point, a tense Mr Anaru of Triathlon abruptly interrupted Sir Geoffrey to return to the purpose of the night’s meeting. Sir Geoffrey however, quickly moved to diffuse a tense moment by introducing the NZ High Commissioner John Carter then insisting there be a roll call of the federations which was agreed.
Sir Geoffrey then spoke to the agenda which he admitted was a “reconstructed” version of the Tennis federation agenda. Tennis objected saying the change was illegal and the original agenda be adhered to. Stoddart moved a motion that the Tennis agenda be stuck to.
There was a roll call of the federations. 23 sports federations were present; Aquatics, Athletics, Basket Ball, Body Building, Boxing, Canoeing, Cricket, Cycling, Soccer, Handball, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Sailing, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis, Touch Rugby, Triathlon, Volley Ball and Weightlifting. Outer islands represented were; Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Penrhyn and Pukapuka.
Sir Geoffrey stated the meeting could last 2 hours and that the Board did not want to dwell on the past but see what could be agreed to, to move CISNOC along. There followed a vote by show of hands to allow the media to be present.
On the important issue of voting, the Board pointed out just one Executive member of each federation could vote along with one from each outer island and each Executive Board member. Therefore present at the start were 37 of the total of 39 eligible voters. A total of 19 votes was needed to carry a vote. Later one additional Executive Board member arrived making the total eligible votes 38 therefore requiring 20 votes to carry a vote.
Realizing that with Board members also voting and that they would not vote against themselves, Stoddart introduced three new motions aimed at having the Executive excluded from voting and that the votes on the motions be done by secret ballot.
Triathlon pressed for these motions to be decided however, Sir Geoffrey ruled out a secret ballot as that was not possible under the constitution. Rather there had to be a vote by show of hands.
A motion was put by triathlon and seconded by Tennis that there be a secret ballot. The count, by those agreeing standing, was 18 and failed as 19 votes were required. Voting therefore was to be by show of hands.
David Lobb rose to express his concerns at time wasting and said the three motions only side tracked the meeting. He stressed the meeting deal with the issues raised by the Tennis federation.
There followed considerable discussion on what the constitution allowed and it was observed the constitution would need to be amended to enable the sort of vote contemplated by Triathlon to proceed. After Allsworth asked which agenda was being followed, Sir Geoffrey urged the meeting to return to the Tennis agenda.
Stoddart then proceeded with the matters raised by the Tennis federation agenda, the first being the state of the finances. However his line of questioning of George Paniani had others muttering the process was becoming rather like a court room scene which prompted Sir Geoffrey to remind Stoddart, Paniani was not on trial. Stoddart detailed the Board’s failure to heed past warnings on the state of the finances.
Sir Geoffrey responded by revealing he had health issues such as double pneumonia to contend with and he missed several meetings. He said former Treasurer Helen O’Meara had family issues in NZ and Australia to deal with.
Maddy Sword asked what position the finances were in. New Treasurer Dan O’Brien said he did not prepare an update for the meeting as he was not confident it would be accurate. He said he would have a report ready for the Board by 30 November. He said the financial issues went back more than 12 months. He spoke of CISNOC being under-resourced. The Treasurer’s job was a full time one and that there had to be long term government assistance. He said while no staff member had been paid for over a month they still turned up. He said the Sports Symposium document prepared over a year ago pointed to a way forward. He said communication needed to be addressed and the constitution needed to be reviewed. He put the question whether CIASNOC should be a professionally run organization. He asked who was accountable.
Stoddart said he had been waiting 7 months for action. He queried a profit/loss report done earlier in the year which showed CISNOC had a $300,000 profit and questioned why a loan was needed. He said CISNOC was broke and out of ideas. He said the current personnel would not be able to fix the problems.
Returning to the Tennis agenda, Maddy sword moved, Stoddart seconded, item 3, that the current Board retire. Sir Geoffrey questioned the wisdom of this given a number of actions were underway.
Aitutaki MP Mona Ioane asked Stoddart why he did not accept an earlier offer to work on the Board. Stoddart said he declined as the Board had treated him badly in the past. He said, “That’s the heartfelt whole answer. I was being polite by not naming any person.”
Board member George George rose and spoke on the difficulties he and his family were experiencing as a result of the media publicity. He said, “We’re not the bad guys. It really, really hurts me.” He said the recent comparison of Sir Geoffrey to Adolf Hitler was “Going too far.”
For Basket Ball, Danny Williams said he was not getting a lot of facts back from the Board, just opinions and personal views. Facts were needed upon which to base decisions said Danny. He asked if anyone present had the ability to run the Board on the current resources provided. He asked that decisions be based on facts and this drew applause from the audience.
Dan O’Brien said CISNOC was not a sinking ship but it had leaks. With commitment from the Board and members a way forward must be found.
Sir Geoffrey said work was being done to right CISNOC’s financial position but he could not provide details now.
Cricket’s reps said they did not want to see the whole Board retired, but experts be assigned to assist the Board.
The vote to request the Board to retire, item 3, resulted in a count of 19 out of the 38 eligible to vote. As a count of 20 was required, the motion to request the Board to retire, failed. There were no smiles, no anger, no cheering. It was touch and go for the Board. Now they know they’re on the edge.
At this point the Herald left the meeting while a few remaining items were still to be discussed. - Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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