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Trouble in Triathlon ACT?

By 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?
fishsticks 9:11 am 12 Feb 10

I sent the newsblast to a friend OS last night. She worked for TACT in this position a number of years ago. She said it was exactly the same back then and these were the reasons she left.

Mordd 1:06 am 12 Feb 10

I know nothing about the sport of Triathlon but I know comedy gold satire when I read it, and that is a brilliantly written and hilarious caricature of one persons view of TACT, and something like this is always based in truth, its just a question of how much has been exaggerated, not so much what. I give it 10/10, a biting critique on life in a modern day volunteer organisation.

RedBaron 7:46 pm 11 Feb 10

I have been following the Triathlon scene for a while now as I thought of becoming actively involved in that Sport.

There really seem to be some issues in the committees not just in ACT but also within Triathlon Australia (TA) nationally.

TA canceled the Challenge Series from one day to another with strangely suspicious reasoning (see link here:

Pity that a Sport with so much potential and perspective looses credibility with those dogy dealings.

vg 7:45 pm 11 Feb 10

Written by some insipid twat who didn’t have the balls to say no to a request to volunteer on the weekend but became an internet ‘hard man’ on his way out the door.

Volunteering on a weekend denotes consent. Pay peanuts, get monkeys

pptvb 7:02 pm 11 Feb 10

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

Woody Mann-Caruso 6:40 pm 11 Feb 10


Wraith 5:55 pm 11 Feb 10

Ooh, seems to have struck a nerve, I love it.


justbands 3:51 pm 11 Feb 10


“Earlier today an unauthorised message was circulated using the TACT newsflash system. We are seeking legal advice on this.

As the President of TACT, I wish to express my extreme disappointment at the type of comments that were made in that message. As a volunteer group, the TACT committee works hard to provide the best possible service to it’s members and all who participate in our events. All members of the committee give up significant amounts of their own time to make TACT the best possible organisation it can be.

At all times we endeavour to conduct our business in an ethical and professional manner. Every year we are independently audited, comply with our legal and business obligations and satisfy all our funding and sponsorship responsibilities.
We are always open to advice where we could do things better.

We conduct an open and transparent system and if any members have any concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Garry Muir
TACT President”

p1 2:35 pm 11 Feb 10

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

Brilliant! I would apply, but my car-with-towball is off the road.

54-11 2:29 pm 11 Feb 10

I’m seriously impressed.

This could equally apply to a number of community orgainisations where nepotism and lack of skills/knowledge allow poor management to thrive.


justbands 1:57 pm 11 Feb 10

> Awesome! So, do we have a response from said organisation?

“TACT has been made aware of an inappropriately sent newsflash using the TACT website earlier today and is currently looking into how and why this was generated.”

Deano 1:55 pm 11 Feb 10

fnaah said :


Someone should send this to the Canberra Times, and the ATO…

Judging by the reference to a “website awash with outrage” in today’s paper (page 8), there is no need to send it to the Canberra Times – they’ll have already read it here already.

fnaah 1:35 pm 11 Feb 10


Someone should send this to the Canberra Times, and the ATO…

luther_bendross 1:18 pm 11 Feb 10

Awesome! So, do we have a response from said organisation?

phage 1:09 pm 11 Feb 10

This is fantastic, but could you post a position description for becoming a Committee Member? Slightly more my speed..

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