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Trouble in Triathlon ACT?

justbands 14 February 2010 46

[First filed: Feb 11, 2010 @ 12:33]

Just got this rather interesting email from the Triathlon ACT mailing list. Obviously a disgruntled ex-employeee, some interesting things raised though:

UPDATE: Thanks to LegendLee for pointing out TACT’s response, which some might read as a bit of a mea culpa.

“Position Vacant – Admin and Development Officer

Hours per week: Officially 20, but you will be looked upon disdainfully if you do less than 40 during race season.

Pay: $20,000 per year (or slightly less than double the amount paid in cash to various TACT committee members for working over one long race weekend).

Duty Statement

We are seeking someone with heaps of energy, enthusiasm and a good dose of masochism to take on the recently vacated role of administration and development officer. An ability to turn a blind eye to dodgy business practices would also be looked on positively. You will have the opportunity to use your business administration skills to deal with fascinating committee personalities, experience innovative accounting practices that they didn’t teach you at business school, and develop your emotional resilience by being treated with a general sense of disdain while performing your daily duties. You will also have the opportunity to use your car for towing trailers and carrying heavy stuff about, and be able to demonstrate your natural generosity and good-heartedness by never being reimbursed for petrol or wear and tear. As mentioned earlier, while this is officially a 20-hour a week job, we would consider you a big sooky lah-lah and general piker if you didn’t put in close to that time again as a volunteer during race season. If we don’t have enough volunteers for an event, we will expect you to give up your weekend free-of-charge to fill the gaps. We may occasionally pay you some extra for doing overnight security duty, but we will then make you pay by putting you on the most remote and distant run marshal point so that you can miss most of the race and demonstrate your ability to survive more than 24 hours without sleep. If you have any additional skills and talents such as photography, we will ask you to give up your time and use your equipment free of charge for race weekends and then allow you to again demonstrate your resilience by expecting you to keep smiling while one of our well-paid committee members flits past and comments that you appear to be taking “happy snaps” instead of doing real work. This is a great opportunity for developing skills and abilities that may one day help you advance your career to being a full-time doormat or whipping boy/girl (Please note that Triathlon ACT is an equal opportunity employer).

Selection criteria

1. A broad disdain for best practice in business administration and a desire to maintain shoddy systems. TACT will support you in this by having the treasurer remove and delete your book-keeping work so that you lose all will to do it properly and diligently again. This should be combined with an adherence to the philosophy that running jolly good fun events is more important than investing any time in developing good business systems, sponsor relationships or organisational professionalism.

2. A tolerance for managing difficult relationships between committee members. They will assist in this by griping about each other in your presence, to which it is expected you will nod politely and not tell them to nick off and let you get on with fixing up their messed up, or non-existent, business and marketing systems.

3. A disinclination to ask difficult questions. In particular, questions that you should have an inability to ask are:
a) Why is it that our books have not been done for a full quarter?
b) Why is there $367 missing from petty cash?
c) Why do we pay committee members and select staff members in cash for assisting at events when we don’t receive invoices from them?
d) Why do we employ family members of committee members for jobs that are not made available to anyone else and pay them without making appropriate arrangements for withholding tax?
e) How do you think our unpaid volunteers would feel if they knew how much committee members get paid for assisting at some events?
f) Why do we let our members think that race fees are expensive because of insurance, when insurance for the Canberra Capital weekend was $465 and fees paid to committee members and associates for organising that weekend came to $12,000?
g) Why is it that when I ask difficult questions about making potentially dodgy tax declarations, even though I’m a part-time office assistant I am suddenly responsible for the running of the office?
h) Ummm. . . could a committee member please explain to me their understanding of conflict of interest and why it is wrong? Anyone? Anyone?
i) Oh, for f*ck’s sake, are you people for real? Hellloooooo – is there a bit of professionalism hiding in the room anywhere? Some knowledge of tax law? Hellooooo? Hellooooo???

4. A sense of humour, satirical skills and an ability to responsibly use mass email systems.

5. Sufficient passion for the sport of triathlon that you’re willing to stick your head up to make a point and continue to be a thorn in the side of the organisation after you’ve left.

Please submit your expression of interest addressing the selection criteria to the Executive Officer. If you can’t find him in the office, you may need to make your delivery by torchlight in the nether regions of the association president.”


What’s Your opinion?


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46 Responses to
Trouble in Triathlon ACT?
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p1 11:45 am 18 Feb 10

I thought that Ironman was a surf life saving even for people who eat uncle tobys products?

Actually, some wiki reading shows that it is both, although the surf race started first.

spleenville 6:48 pm 15 Feb 10

Being a regular unpaid TACT volunteer, I can empathise.

I remember seeing him at many an event staying late, lifting heavy things and trudging back from remote parts of the course after everyone else had gone home. Job maybe not as described..?

Not sure I’m 100 per cent on the blaze of glory email. And it’s sad that he has incinerated the bridges given his stated passion for the sport – I can’t imagine he’ll show his face again at any event.

Oh… IMx7 is 7 times a competitor in Ironman (Triathlon’s Holy grail event where you swim 3.8km, ride 180km and run 42.2 km). An incredible test of physical endurance but not a patch on spanking the monkey 7 times in one day!

LegendLee 6:28 pm 15 Feb 10

pippie said :

Woah – crap – didn’t mean it to be an attack on depression – half the people I know suffer this condition in some form or another, including my younger sister.

Really? Didn’t mean it to be an attack on depression? Basically, you made an assertion that the ex-employee’s claims had no validity because he may have been suffering from depression and that the only error made by TACT was to hire someone who may or may not have been suffering from depression at the time. Which part of that is not having a go at people with depression?
You say that half the people you know suffer from depression. Amazing. That’s well above the national average. Do you have some sort of Pied Piper ability that magically draws despressed people into your presence? Or does the fact of knowing you make people depressed at a much higher rate than average?
Perhaps you’re a bit prone to exaggeration(which gives your initial post little credibility). Or maybe you’re just not very good with numbers. Are you sure you don’t work for TACT?

justin heywood 10:09 am 15 Feb 10

As an ACT triathlete, I would just like to confirm that we all know who ‘wheezipops 47″ is. None of us have ever heard of vg’s IMx7. We think he might be a pole vaulter.

Regards Justin (beedlebug 23)

sloppery 10:06 am 15 Feb 10

vg said :

sloppery said :

vg said :

Admire that the person stood up and said some things?

They fired off an email on the way out the door. That’s not brave. Brave is saying it to the said committee members face to face. Email is spineless

And what do you think would happen if the person DID do that? Fired? Shouted down? What would be the realistic outcome? It’s not all about being a tough guy, mate. Sometimes brains and cunning beats muscles and aggro.

If what he said was factual, whilst in the employ, what could they have done. Heard of unlawful dismissal?
…..and how do you know I don’t know him. IM x 7 might mean something to those in the know

IM x 7. I Masturbate 7 times a day? I’m impressed you can hold it, what with all the ‘roids and all…

imhotep 8:41 am 15 Feb 10

The OP’s claims are correct. I too have ‘inside knowledge’ of this issue (taps side of nose -wheezipops 47 for those in the know.)

LegendLee 7:19 am 15 Feb 10

vg said :

If what he said was factual, whilst in the employ, what could they have done. Heard of unlawful dismissal?

Under the new Fair Work Australia laws employees with less than six months service have no recourse to have harsh, unjust of unreasonable dismissal reviewed, so employees take the risk of being sacked with no option of appeal if they complain and are ignored on issues like this. So they can take things into their own hands and resign or stick it out for six months and then raise their concerns and then hope their unfair dismisall claim is heard sometime in the next year or so. Maybe we’ll see a few more spectacular resignations as a result.

pippie 11:16 pm 14 Feb 10

Woah – crap – didn’t mean it to be an attack on depression – half the people I know suffer this condition in some form or another, including my younger sister. It was obviously explained a hell of a lot better to me than I repeated here. What I mean’t was…oh never mind – last post from me on this site – knew there was a reason I was only ever a reader. Gawd knows why I chose this one to respond too……

Mordd 10:03 pm 14 Feb 10

vg said :

…..and how do you know I don’t know him. IM x 7 might mean something to those in the know

Coded messages too, whats next in your bag of tricks? Let me guess, you have proof, but you can’t share it, right? Seems you’re rather defensive on the subject too I might add, yet all you can add is meaningless internet babble, hmmm.

Manjani 8:58 pm 14 Feb 10

pippie said :

1) He suffers from a condition that many people suffer from that unfortunately impairs ones judgement – black dog. Apparently didn’t show up to one of the biggest races on the TACT calendar due to this condition.

I’ve just been sent the link to this by a friend (this is getting lots of attention in the tri community). I am a triathlete (although relatively new to the Canberra scene) and I have to say I am ashamed to be associated with these sorts of attitudes and that it is not my experience that this sort of prejudice towards mental illness is widespread in triathlon. As a health professional, I can recommend the benefits of physical activity for people with depression and would strongly encourage you to come and give it a go – I for one would be happy to welcome and support you.

I sincerely hope that “Pippie” is not a member or associated with the TACT committee and that the former staff member is well and bearing up. If “Pippie” is an attempt by the committee to try to discredit someone on the basis of their disability and if that person becomes unwell or worse as a result of that, then TACT may find this whole episode goes from a minor embarrassment to a major public relations disaster.

Finally, I hadn’t seen the RiotACT until my friend sent me the link (haven’t been in the ACT all that long). It’s a great site – thanks.

vg 7:56 pm 14 Feb 10

sloppery said :

vg said :

Admire that the person stood up and said some things?

They fired off an email on the way out the door. That’s not brave. Brave is saying it to the said committee members face to face. Email is spineless

And what do you think would happen if the person DID do that? Fired? Shouted down? What would be the realistic outcome? It’s not all about being a tough guy, mate. Sometimes brains and cunning beats muscles and aggro.

If what he said was factual, whilst in the employ, what could they have done. Heard of unlawful dismissal?
…..and how do you know I don’t know him. IM x 7 might mean something to those in the know

LegendLee 7:36 pm 14 Feb 10

“Pippie” – I know the TACT response said $25 per hour, but the original letter said $12,000 had been paid out. That works out at 480 hours of work. If 11 people were doing the work, that works out at 43 hours each – seems an awful lot unless all 11 of them took a week off work. So methinks TACT is either not fully addressing the issue, or they are proving that they really are severely lacking in the mathematical department.

However, if your comments about the employee suffering from depression are true, then I think you’ve gone about as low as you can go. First, as one of the one in five Australians who has suffered from this condition at some time myself, I can tell you that depression does not make you suddenly lose all your mental faculties or any level of intelligence (Winston Churchill did a pretty good job of thinking clearly). Second, for you to try to use someone’s illness as a way to draw attention away from the fact that issues raised by that person weren’t adequately addressed in TACT’s response is sickening. Suicide is now a major cause of death among Australian men and the sort of ignorance and prejudice shown in your post doesn’t help the cause. If his employer knew about his condition and treated him in the way claimed, then they deserve to be sued. And I hope you can live with yourself if your disclosure of this person’s condition (if it is true), triggered a depressive episode and added him to that list of statistics. I would suggest you visit http://www.beyondblue.org and learn a little bit about an illness that affects many Australians – it might stop you making such ill-informed and potentially dangerous comments in future and it might save a life.

s-s-a 7:18 pm 14 Feb 10

The crew were paid $25 per hour cash in hand??? Beats the hell out of my day job, where do I sign up?

no idea 4:15 pm 14 Feb 10

VG said

vg said :

Admire that the person stood up and said some things?

They fired off an email on the way out the door. That’s not brave. Brave is saying it to the said committee members face to face. Email is spineless

,

seems ironic that he is bagging someone on an online forum!

truth hurts 2:32 pm 14 Feb 10

Hilarious and extremely well written! Kudos to the writer for having the guts to stand up for what they believe in. While I am not part of the triatholon scene I don’t think it would be too hard to find out who wrote this, rather than an “insipid twat” I think they are an extremely brave soul, someone who I would be very proud to know.
If I were a beneficiary of some of the dodgy activities that TACT has been involved in, I would be looking over my shoulder and expecting a call from the Tax Office – sooner rather than later!

PantsMan 1:37 pm 14 Feb 10

pptvb said :

Wow!
I didn’t realise that TACT was an ACTGovt Dept!

Like the one where people who’ve never even been to uni get senior jobs becuase they go to the Chief Executive’s Tupperware parties?

PS Not sure how to submit an application. Am I correct in thinking that people might have to get partly naked?

pippie 1:31 pm 14 Feb 10

At first I too thought there must be something to this but then found out through some tri friends 2 things that make me realise taking anything on face value is fraught with danger –

1) He suffers from a condition that many people suffer from that unfortunately impairs ones judgement – black dog. Apparently didn’t show up to one of the biggest races on the TACT calendar due to this condition.

2) He is currently suing his old boss – Broadband. Look out ACT Triathlon .

Sounds like just the type of employee you’d like to have. I think his latest employees biggest mistake was not doing referee checks by the sounds of it.

LegendLee – I don’t understand, you say how did the auditors miss it for years? Maybe there is nothing to find? And I read your link – the crew were paid $25 an hour – doesn’t that answer the question. Personally I think the letter was a great response to something that it seems didn’t really deserve one in the first place. And the 2 triathletes I spoke to seem to think ACT Triathlon are pretty good at what they do.

sloppery 1:20 pm 14 Feb 10

vg said :

Admire that the person stood up and said some things?

They fired off an email on the way out the door. That’s not brave. Brave is saying it to the said committee members face to face. Email is spineless

And what do you think would happen if the person DID do that? Fired? Shouted down? What would be the realistic outcome? It’s not all about being a tough guy, mate. Sometimes brains and cunning beats muscles and aggro.

Scribble 11:54 am 14 Feb 10

A reference to wanking and the obligatory hint of insider knowledge. Does the internet get any better than this? I reckon not.

And yes, facts are welcome, if you have any to spare.

vg 11:28 am 14 Feb 10

Some folk know the accuracy of his allegations, so before you beat something else it may assist to know something factual

God bless

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