New Mardi Gras is likely to return to a co-chair model when the organisation’s new board meets for the first time.
Sydney Star Observer understands a number of the new board members are keen to reintroduce the co-chair model after taking on board member criticism.
A date for the meeting is yet to be announced, although Sydney Star Observer understands it is likely to be next week.
A decision about a chair model and the election will be among the first things discussed by the newly elected board which includes Joshua Keech, Tony Knight, Kirk Muddle, Nick Parker, Rob Partos, Steph Sands, Lynne O’Brien and Michael Douglas.
In the lead-up to the AGM, Keech, Parker, Partos and O’Brien all told SSO they would be keen to investigate other chair models.
I think the board will always need a leadership position but this doesn’t necessarily mean a chair, Keech said.
The role needs to be a central point: a facilitator who is representative of the entire board. Internally, the role’s purpose is to provide accessibility to the board between meetings. Externally, it is NMG’s representation to our community.
Parker said, There is always a danger in having too much emphasis on the role and it becoming too presidential or focused on an individual.
I will be suggesting to the incoming board to reconsider the role and nature of board leadership versus organisational and community leadership. The promotion of a single individual can often result in the talents of the rest of the board not being fully used.
I think there is a need to place more emphasis on the role of the board sponsor positions to represent their areas such as Parade, Party and Fair Day, etc, and for the board to have nominated spokeperson/s to represent it in community matters.
O’Brien posited the idea of reinstating a male and a female co-chairs -” the system NMG had when it was established.
I also think it is important for  the NMG CEO and other key staff to be the face of the organisation -” with the board working to manage and maintain clear reporting procedures, sound financial management, open lines of communication and community engagement, she added.
Sands suggested a re-evaluation of the CEO’s role. Mardi Gras will always tether with the debate of corporate company versus community organisation, she said.
In my opinion, New Mardi Gras has grown significantly enough over the past seven years to where a distinction [between a chair and CEO] is now achievable. The CEO should be elevated to a leadership and more public position in regards to the operational aspects of the organisation, such as the role Stevie Clayton has played at ACON over the past 10 years.

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