BY SCOTT ABRAHAMS & ANI LAMONT

A motion to safeguard membership consultation procedures will be put to this month’s New Mardi Gras AGM as the organisation blames its governance failures on an inexperienced board.

It is just one of a handful of changes being mooted ahead of the August 19 meeting, including moves to protect the organisation’s intellectual property and splitting the responsibilities of the chair.

The organisation’s Annual Report proposes a change to the company’s constitution to ensure better communication with members.

The establishment of a nominations and governance committee, increased email contact and further extraordinary general meetings have been suggested.

During 2008-2009 the corporate governance objectives of NMG were challenged by a higher than expected attrition rate of directors that resulted in loss of some corporate knowledge and a lack of continuity of governance processes, the corporate governance report put together by Nicholas Parker and Steph Sands reads.

The relative inexperience of the board, in terms of average length of service on the board, resulted in some desired governance principles and outcomes not being fully met or being sub-optimal.

The report otherwise showed a relatively successful season which produced a profit of $389,900. This was in spite of the fact that the Festival, Fair Day and Parade all ran at a loss. The NMG-run parties made a profit of $663,227 and $943,344 was made in sponsorship deals, including the organisation’s almost $500,000 in NSW Government sponsorship.

Whilst it doesn’t match the extraordinary result in 2007-8 it clearly demonstrates that we have a model that will work in any year if we maintain good cost control, NMG chief executive officer Anna McInerney wrote in her report.

According to community surveys conducted by NMG, community approval of key events was high with 48 percent of 500 people asked about the Party rating it as good and 40 percent of Harbour Party attendees rating the event as very good.

Sydney Star Observer understands there is a move among some board candidates to no longer have a single chair, but instead spread those duties among the entire board.

Under the plan a single board member would each be responsible for Parade, Party, Festival, Harbour Party, Sleaze Ball and Fair Day, while one would continue to be responsible for the company’s finances, and another for the board’s relationship with the organisation’s staff. There is no requirement under the NMG constitution for the organisation to have a single chair.

There has also been some discussion around the possibility of re-introducing the co-chair model of several years ago.

Any decision on this structure is likely to be made by the newly elected board, not at the AGM on August 19.

A new scheme to protect New Mardi Gras’ intellectual property rights will be discussed at the AGM where members will have the opportunity to hear from the 12 board candidates vying for the eight positions.

Non-members have until 6pm tonight to join NMG if they want to vote at the AGM. For details go to www.mardigras.org.au.

info: The NMG AGM will be held on August 19 at NIDA from 6pm.

Meet the candidates: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2009/08/04/nmg-agm/14892

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