Make election null and void
Sir, As a scrutineer at the recent Murray Irrigation Ltd director elections I would like to expand on the coverage of this issue in the PASTORAL TIMES on Friday October 27.
Firstly, as a MIL shareholder and local food producer I am extremely concerned not only about the entire election process, but also other issues.
In my view it was inappropriate for a minority of three directors to publicly support two incumbents in this election, but not a third.
I don’t want a MIL Board that is not prepared to accept and answer legitimate questions, whether these are from a fellow director or shareholders.
In relation to the election scrutineering, one wonders what the composition of the incoming MIL Board would be if myself and Shane Ringin were not present when votes were counted. Would the discrepancies have been identified and rectified?
I still hold the view that the vote should be declared null and void and a new election held, and that this fresh election should be for the entire MIL Board, not just those who were involved in the recent election.
This would clear the air and give the company an opportunity for a fresh start after what has been a tumultuous year.
Remember, this is not the first major issue within the Board room in 2017 during which, among other concerns about various aspects of the company, we’ve had a chairman replaced and a highly qualified and respected independent director (Dr Sharman Stone) suddenly resign.
We have also had what the Board refers to as an ‘independent report’ which was available to the company the week before last and has been used as the basis in attempts to remove another director.
The report was also used to justify the decision not to endorse Director James Sides during the recent election.
However, if it wasn’t finalised until the week before last, as we have been told by the MIL Chairman, why was it used as the basis for not endorsing Director James Sides via a letter from Deputy Chairman Ben Barlow dated October 10?
This letter was obviously sent before the report had even been finalised.
Serious questions must also be asked about the briefing or terms of reference around this report and why it has not been made available to all company shareholders.
Who was interviewed for the report? How were the responses recorded and compiled? How did the report’s authors come up with their recommendations, and what were these recommendations?
In the interests of transparency I publicly call on Murray Irrigation Ltd to release the full report, especially as it is the basis for the Board’s efforts to remove another director at next month’s proposed EGM.
The MIL Board of Directors has recently acknowledged its issues with ‘dysfunction’. I believe shareholders want full disclosure of the report around these claims so they can make their own judgments. Sir, Unsurprisingly, the result of the MIL election, and its announcement, generated quite a bit of discussion in your paper last week.
As one of the candidates can I take this opportunity to make a couple of observations.
There was an announcement of my reelection and then the news that there had been an error and that I had in fact been unsuccessful.
Reluctant as I am to quote him, I think former prime minister Paul Keating summed it up best when he said: ‘‘When faced with the choice between a conspiracy and a stuff-up . . . always choose the stuff-up!’’
In a nutshell, the announcement of the election results was a stuff-up! We all make them.
The best way to deal with them is to follow five simple steps: admit it; fix it; learn from it; get over it; move on.
In a rather perverse way MIL shareholders can take heart from the fact that a mistake was identified, rectified, and the correct result was established.
I for one have faith in the integrity of the vote and the final result of the election.
Last Wednesday I contacted both Phil Snowden and Waander van Beek offering my warm congratulations on their success and wishing them all the best in their new roles.
I am confident that both Phil and Waander will bring new ideas, keen intellect and integrity to their roles as directors.
I am happy to state that I believe in electing these gentlemen MIL shareholders have put the company in good hands and a culture of stability, desired by so many, can be attained.
When the new Board assumes responsibility at the AGM on November 28 I would encourage both the MIL and wider community to join me in supporting the entire board and allowing it the clear air required to achieve stability, harmony and focus its attention on the issues that really matter.