MardiGrasA confused Mardi Gras Annual General Meeting (AGM) that resulted in board elections failing to take place has overshadowed the largely positive news for the organisation announced at its AGM last weekend.

At a sometimes heated meeting on Saturday, August 10, the board was questioned as to why elections would not take place as advertised following an email sent out to members only two days before the intended ballot. The email from Mardi Gras stated postal ballots had been failed to be sent out via post at least 14 days prior to the AGM.

“While allowance has been made for Members to vote by Proxy and in person, the Constitution also requires that Members be given the opportunity to vote by Postal Ballot,” the email read. “This has not occurred.”

A spokesperson for Mardi Gras told the Star Observer that in previous years elections were held without sending postal ballots.

“The company secretary, in accordance with precedent set in previous years’ elections, and on the basis of the substantial cost – which would equate to approximately one fifth of the organisation’s 2012-13 profit – resolved not to send out postal ballots,” the spokesperson said.

Mardi Gras made a profit of $45,693 last financial year only three years after posting losses of almost $600,000 in 2010.

At the AGM it was revealed by board members that an email sent by an anonymous candidate on August 7  – alleging legal action would be taken against the organisation if elections proceeded  – was the reason why they were postponed.

“If the election goes ahead we are confident of a court of law issuing an injunction to prevent the AGM from proceeding and or declaring it null and void if it does occur,” the email reads.

Board directors Phil Kershaw, Damon Hartley and Michael Douglas stood up at the AGM to declare they were not the authors of the email which was addressed to a ‘Pete’ and signed with the initial ‘G’.

“We did not and were not involved in that email threatening the organisation,” Hartley told members.

There was consensus at the meeting, however, that the organisation’s Constitution had not kept up pace with technological changes and modern digital communications, with the board agreeing to review its rules for future elections.

Two other motions that would have made expenses and benefits accrued by directors transparent were not carried at the AGM.

Elections for the board are now scheduled to take place on August 31, with postal ballots due to be sent out shortly.

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