New Mardi Gras (NMG) is overhauling the way its board works ahead of its AGM, which will also see changes to the way members and candidates interact.

The board will no longer be involved in the operations of the company and will limit itself to corporate governance and strategy roles while overseeing the company’s finances.

And a new code of conduct has been drawn up for board nominees, and candidates will no longer be provided with member email addresses.

NMG will create seven new subcommittees ­­— on top of its existing governance, finance, nominations, and audit and risk subcommittees — each to be run by a board member.

The new committees will cover the areas of strategy, women, youth, fundraising, legal and community engagement and will include NMG employees from relevant parts of the organisation.

NMG co-chair Peter Urmson told the Star Observer the organisation was in a state of transition.

“In the past the board has been very hands-on and operational,” Urmson said. “But the board is moving from an operational board to a board of governance so it can focus on the strategy and the direction of the organisation and oversee what’s happening financially to make sure we have those additional controls and measures in place.

“We have reached the point in our maturity that if we don’t do this we won’t necessarily have subject matter experts we need from an operational perspective.”

At the August 6 AGM, members will be again be asked to consider ways of protecting the company’s intellectual property rights, as well as applying for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

Co-chair Steph Sands said NMG had been trying to determine how to move forward with intellectual property (IP) protection for almost a decade.

“The board will be taking to the AGM a proposal around IP protection and structure. That will be preceded by a round of community consultation so that by the AGM everyone will have had time to read the material and come back to us with any questions, so it’s a matter of a simple vote yes or no,” she said.

“There will also be a couple of motions regarding the DGR status of the company which will allow us to be, in all cases, a charity.”

At the last AGM Sands told members she would not stand for the board again. However, Urmson told the Star Observer he had asked her to reconsider.

Urmson said as well as the new nominee code of conduct at this year’s AGM — which is voluntary — NMG would consider legal action against any past nominees using the membership base to email members.

“If they’re not standing then that would be considered spamming and they would be contravening the Spam Act and we would follow that through to protect our members,” Urmson said.

info: The New Mardi Gras Members and Community Forum is at 10am on Saturday, June 25 at the new ACON premises at 414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. The AGM is in the same venue from 1pm on Saturday, August 6.

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