UPDATE:
Another NMG board member will also be standing down at next month’s AGM.
Catherine McCourt, who moved onto the board after one of last year’s elected members stood down next term, – noted under our story on Facebook:

“Steph, you will certainly be missed. It was great to work with you so briefly, i’m sure our paths will cross again..:). I have also decided not to re-stand.”

This brings to three the number of current board members not standing this year.

New Mardi Gras co-chair Steph Sands will not seek re-election at the organisation’s annual general meeting on August 6.

She announced her intention via her personal blog last night as news broke there will be no Sleaze Ball in 2011.

The co-chair is the second current board member to announce they will not be standing, with Josh Keech also announcing his intention to stand down yesterday.

“Later this week, nominations for Board positions will close at the Mardi Gras office. At 5pm on Friday, when the envelopes are opened, there will not be a nomination from me in the bunch,” Sands wrote on her blog.

“Last year, around this time, I made a commitment to myself that I would dedicate one last year to the organisation. I have done that with all my energy and best intentions and I continue to work until August 6th in my elected role. Despite the request of my co-chair to re-stand and many months of careful consideration, I plan to honour the commitment I made to myself a year ago.”

Sands and Keech are leaving the organisation as it prepares to front members with a second consecutive season loss.

Yesterday the Star Observer revealed the organisaiton had posted a $133K loss for the 2010/11 season. It followed the $575K loss in the season prior.

NMG also revealed yesterday there would be no Sleaze Ball this year. After 28 years or declining ticket sales and several years as a loss making event, it will instead be replaced by the Big Weekend – a joint venture between NMG and some local promoters.

The decision not to hold a Sleaze Ball and the loss of two long-term board members are expected to generate a significant number of questions at the organisations annual general meeting on August 6.

Members wanting to nominate for board positions have until 5pm this Friday.

Sands used her blog yesterday to encourage members to vote and vote wisely.

“For members reading this, I firstly encourage you to vote, and then vote for those candidates that are skilled, professional, and strategic and are known to abide by our codes of conduct. You will see if individuals have signed the Candidate code of conduct shortly,” she wrote.

“Whilst I am sad to leave the board, I will not leave the organisation entirely. I am excited to be able to step away from the overall big picture and focus in on areas that excite me. Area’s such as the women’s sub-committee and associated diversity programmes. I can now provide more energy to continue building these specific parts of the organisation and ensuring that women and minorities in our community continue to have a voice within Mardi Gras.

“Mardi Gras will always hold a special place in my heart and like any difficult intense relationship, I have laughed and cried in equal measures. Leaving is always hard, but it’s time. It’s time for me, and it’s time for the organisation to receive some fresh blood, passion and ideas to take it to the next level of its lifetime towards better years. I’m pleased that I could have been there to see it through some of its worst, and be able to hand it over knowing that it is on its way back to greatness.”

info: The New Mardi Gras annual general meeting is at 1pm, August 6 at the new ACON office, 414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills.

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