Thanks, but no thanks!


Give with one hand...

National Volunteer Week  2011 was celebrated from 9 to 15 May. It was a time to celebrate volunteers and an opportunity for the Chair and Board of WIRES to acknowledge the hard work put in by saying thank you to all its hardworking volunteer members.

WIRES forgot all about it so it would seem: No message of support and no letter of thanks. On 14 May (the end of Volunteers Week), one of the members pointed out this failure in a comment on the WIRES intranet. A message from the Chair was hastely  arranged.

Go to topGo straight to commentsAdd a commentAn email from the Chair was sent by the Secretary to ALL Branch Chairs and Secretaries. It said:

“Dear Branch Secretaries and Chairs,
please see attached, it is hoped that you will share this with all Branch Members.
thank YOU for your time and effort in helping your branch to run smoothly.
much regard to all”

Some time later another email from the Secretary was sent:

“please disregard the previous email and use this one......”

Nothing else: No explanation and no apology.

The reason the attachment needed to be replaced is because it was not just a “thank you” to the members. The second page was a copy of an agreement between the Board and a volunteer regarding a disciplinary matter. This member’s name was stated clearly throughout; not even deleted from the agreement [we have removed it for publication]. Such a thoughtful gesture to one of its members for Volunteers Week we thought, so we decided to share it with you this Christmas. Merry Christmas. [Read the letter here]

Everyone makes mistakes and can be careless, but when the Secretary realised what she had done, she merely sent another email out asking that the previous email be "disregarded" and another used. There was no request that the agreement be deleted, no acceptance of responsibility, and no apology made for discrediting a member and breaching a confidence by sending it to every branch in the state.

Spartacus would be surprised if the member mentioned in this bollocking was even told what had happened.

It is a shock to see that the Board has required this member to agree not to make ANY public comment about WIRES, which is a total breach of this member’s right to free speech and contrary to democratic practice. The restriction on all members not to make public comment on BEHALF of WIRES, has been changed by the Board to not making ANY public comment whatsoever. This gags the member and prevents her from going to the press (or to this site!) to express any dissatisfaction she may have as to how she has been treated.

Never mind, we love you. Happy New Year. Keep safe.


a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2012-01-03 07:12
The previous Chair or Board also breached members privacy and right to confidentiality when they provided members contact details to the private investigator who had been engaged by the Board shortly after 3 board members were voted out of the State Council and could not restand for the Board. Those members were not asked for permission to give their details to a person outside WIres and were not even told that this has been done. Those members were also not warned that they were also the subject of the investigation and that what they said to the investigator could be used against them by the Board. In any proper enquiry they would have been given a warning. The Board did not give any members investigated notice of what they were being investigated for nor did they give them the opportunity to defend themselves. It was a very nice way to treat your volunteers and members of your association.
Julian A.
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!Julian A. 2011-12-31 15:19
Regarding the threatening intimidating letter sent to our valued Volunteer. I suggest you contact a LAWYER. The first interview is normally free. The tone of the letter is unacceptable . The wires board is not a law unto themselves. Demand a written apology and costs. Hang in there.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-31 09:26
Where are the qualifications and experience of the Secretary listed? The rules were changed to let her stay on the board after her branch voted her out as council rep, and she now is the representative on council for the governance team which will give legal and financial advice to the council and board.. The board and council will not be diligent and may have liability problems if it acts on legal advice not given by a qualified lawyer and on financial advice which is not given by a qualified accountant or financial adviser. Don’t think there are any such qualified people on this team and two lawyers who applied were rejected by the board as not being suitable for this team. Interesting.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-31 09:51
I’d like an explanation as to why the Secretary was allowed to use the wires intranet to advertise her daughters work, she was not dealt with under the Code of Conduct for defaming members and breaching the privacy and confidentiality of this member and was allowed to contract her husband to do the performance reviews of her fellow board members. [EDIT] Reformwires what is also needed is a secretary who is independent from the group in power and those wanting reform, as the Chair is required to be.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2012-01-20 11:03
No member of wires can be engaged to do a performance review on the board or council. How could a member possibly feel confortable in raising any criticism of those that are in power who can get a private investigator to investigate you or expel you You would have to be very brave indeed.
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!Dianna 2011-12-28 09:01
I have issued a challenge to the Board to reply to these concerns. The Chairman needs to comment on behalf of his Board and we have a right to know how they intend to resolve all these issues. Let us now await their reply - I am sure they want their organisation to run efficiently and with co-operation of all our wonderful volunteers. Of course their prime concern must be our native wildlife which is suffering because of lack of satisfactory direction from the “top”. When they reply and we can see a positive effort being made to address transparency and good governance then this will filter down to the Branches and the care of volunteers will become paramount so they do not resign and we maintain a stable base for the newer members of WIRES upon which to call.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-29 07:41
Bravo Dianna. Unfortunately the Board’s main concern it seems is to stay in power at all costs and discussion, consensus, concilliation,mediation, compromise and resolution of disputes are not on its agenda. The welfare of wildlife should be what it is concerned about and that has to include the welfare of the members.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-27 11:18
In dictatorships people are prevented from voicing opinions against those in power by threats and the removal of their rights to freedom of the press and free speech. We in WIRES are lucky that there are no gulags for reformists! They only have to suffer having their views ignored, untrue allegations made against them, even by the Secretary at a council meeting, denigrated by name in the council minutes, set upon by a private investigator, dealt with by a closed secret meeting while the member has to wait outside with the support person after lodgeing a complaint against the Board for defamation or dealt with under the code of conduct in a situation which is allegedly an abuse of power. Guess we are also lucky that a notice hasn’t gone up on the intranet warning members making comments on this site! The Board is no doubt free to respond to accusations made on reformwires and has far more rights than it gives the members who are dealt with behind the closed doors of Board meetings and in secret minutes. It is so [EDIT] unfair.
white ant
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!white ant 2011-12-27 07:33
I have found the Board emails, letters and responses are very aggressively written and this letter is just another example. There are plenty of them out there. There is a difference between assertive and agreesive. WIRES should be looking at employing/adding a human resources position rather than just people for bequest. It appears that these skills are lacking within the organisation. I have heard all the Board do is try to solve branch problems and this clearly is not working. With 2500 volunteers and employees the same as a very large corporation which would have a whole department albeit they are not a charity surely some middle ground could be found.
Magnum P.I.
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!Magnum P.I. 2011-12-25 23:59
When the Chair says thanks to all the volunteers for “all the times you have been bitten, scratched, pooped and pee’d on and run ragged...”, he means by the Board right? Because that second page pissed on someone from a great height.
What an outrage these people are. I thought it was bad but it just gets worse.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-26 07:10
Not only on that poor volunteer. Problem with the Boards of Wires is that they must be bound by a secret rule that they must not apologise to any member or acknowledge that a wrong has been done to them . So they (that is, previous boards but most members of previous boards are still on the current Board) deal with members contrary to the constitution and policies, even get a private investigator onto them, and make untrue accusations against members, but never say they have done the wrong thing and are sorry. They just wait and hope what they have done just goes away and is forgotten -or better still that the members they have treated badly do!
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!battered 2011-12-27 16:40
“.. or better still that the members they have treated badly do!”
That is sadly true, & the behavior is carried through to some Branch Management Committees - that there is a trend to hope certain members will go away - they are ignored, not responded to, drop off lists or become “Unavailable” without them knowing. The incidences I know of are NOT because of poor standards (quite the contrary), they are because the member asks questions, or is strong enough to try & correct things they see that they know are wrong, or disagree on certain issues with Board / WSC / BMC decisions. In our Branch some members have received written warnings, with often obscure reasons, to not do certain things, under threat of expulsion. Once a member has received such a letter, even being vague & unsubstantiated, they are easily kicked out if the member does anything (eg asks questions, sends emails) again.
a guest
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!a guest 2011-12-28 13:44
Looks like some management use the code of conduct to require respect unearned or otherwise and to keep members subservient. It can’t be used by members to ask for respect from management as they can’t enforce it and risk further discipline by raising it.
# RE: Thanks, but no thanks!Dianna 2011-12-25 09:10
This is disgraceful. PLEASE SEND MY SINCERE SYMPATHY TO THE VOLUNTEER CONCERNED. She now knows just how they work and the sorts of methods they use and please tell her to hang in there because change is coming and she WILL be valued. This is the way so many have been treated by this organisation. Can I humbly suggest that the Council make moves to elect a new Board immediately.

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