Matt Watts has emailed in the latest reports from his trench warfare over the Belconnen Community Council.
He’s sent in a letter from the Office of Regulatory Services which calls for a new Annual General Meeting to resolve the disputed presidency. (pending review, appeal, and mediation, once again procedural fairness overrides anything resembling justice).
Matt’s also provided a media release putting his spin on things:
“We must look to the future,” said Mr Matt Watts, the person who achieved the most number of votes when running for President of the Belconnen Community Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September, after the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) determined this week that AGM was invalid.
“Naturally, I respect the decision of ORS; it was a complex issue and I suspect they decided a new AGM would provide stability to the group. Many questions about the 2011/2012 administration remain unanswered, yet I believe a new AGM is the right thing to do in the circumstances,” said Mr Watts.
In fact, the determination from ORS aligns with Mr Watts’ offer to the Committee last year to hold a new AGM in order to resolve the disputed result. “I put that offer to the parties that lost the election, in an attempt to resolve this issue, and they refused.”
Mr Watts said, “It is disappointing that we could have resolved this impasse much earlier, but for the fact certain individuals were desperate to maintain control of the BCC at the expense of democracy.”
“Importantly, ORS has not supported a move by the Public Officer to oust me from the position of President. Rather, the decision states the 2011/12 Committee failed in its legal obligations.”
Unfortunately, some on the BCC Committee are unwilling to accept the recent ORS decision.
Meanwhile, Mr Watts is stating the ORS advice is a justification of his challenge for the top job.
“We had a Committee that didn’t know what version of the constitution was valid, no audited accounts in time for the AGM, poor management of the group’s records and a very low public profile for a group that was claiming to represent Belconnen, all of which was leading to poor outcomes for the community,” he said.
In the end, it was the lack of audited accounts by the time of the September AGM which was the basis for ORS declaring the AGM invalid.
Matt has also compiled a list of grievances:
Mr Watts is requesting clarification of certain matters from the interim Committee. For example, there are questions surrounding the following possible irregularities:
— The interim President has a laptop, tablet and mobile phone provided by the BCC;
— A Committee member is alleged to have received voice recognition software from the BCC;
— The interim President refuses to hand over records to the Secretary, which conflicts with the constitution;
— BCC Committee meetings traditionally lack agendas and minutes (when held); and
— The Public Officer proposes to spend $1600 a year on self-storage fees for a $400 tent rarely used.
“Government-allocated funds should be used to communicate with the community, not to feather one’s own nest, and these questions need to be answered,” said Mr Watts.
On the question of whether he would run for the role of President again, Mr Watts stated, “I am weighing up my options. Since I won the vote, certain aggrieved participants of that night have failed to respect the democratic will of the Belconnen Community Council, hacked into an official email account, overtly lied to the public about ORS having declared the other candidate the victor, distributed an erroneous and slanderous dirt sheet regarding myself, publicly and falsely accused Labor-aligned community members to be part of a so-called ‘Liberal stack’ and continued to spend money with little accountability. The Public Officer also amended the public version of the constitution on the website without authorisation seemingly in order to cover up a perceived error on his part. Finally, at least six months of my term will have been wasted by an interim President who has demonstrably failed to adhere to her legal obligations and refuses to push for an integrated Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan.”
We await the other side of the story, while noting that the development of a Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan appears to be at the centre of this unedifying spectacle.