The ALSO Foundation will slim to a skeleton of its former self, with CEO Crusader Hillis announcing he will step down from his role.

Hillis — who had dropped down to part-time — will serve out his four-week notice and may continue on as a contractor to see through two government-funded programs which finish in the first half of 2012.

ALSO Foundation board spokesman Daniel Perkins told the Star Observer the decision to scale back is necessary to cut back the organisation’s costs and keep it afloat.

“This is about cutting back on ongoing expenses to ensure we’re managing the funds available to us very closely,” Perkins said.

ALSO has been under significant financial pressure in the last 12 months after coming to the brink of insolvency.

It temporarily avoided insolvency in June when members passed an ALSO Committee of Management resolution to access money from the Members Resolution Fund to pay the ALSO Foundation and ALSO Care’s immediate debts.

The fund money is tied up in property investments managed by OwenLaw Mortgage Trust and was expected to be available in August. Due to “adverse events” in the property market, however, access has been delayed until November.

“We’ve thought about how we deal with the fact money we thought was coming in … is now not going to be available until November and what we can do to cut back on expenses until that money does become available,” Perkins said.

“Obviously there’ll be a discussion at the AGM about how we found ourselves in this position in terms of the money not being available and the business plan not being delivered the way we initially though it’d be.”

He said Hillis’ stepping down would not affect the delivery of its two government-funded programs — the Take Care Out There sexual health project and the With Respect Awareness Project.

“We believe we’ve got the resources to continue to deliver on those projects and meet our funding obligations,” Perkins said. Deepening the organisation’s woes, since financial difficulties have emerged, both ALSO Care and Foundation have lost most of their board membership.

By May, eight board members had left the organisation since the start of the year, leaving six members on each board. The number has now dwindled to four board members covering both organisations.

Perkins rejected suggestions that the organisation was at risk of breaching its governance guidelines to satisfy regulations for a minimum quorum for board decision-making.

“We’re satisfied that we have been functioning in accordance with our statutory requirements and have met our obligations to comply with legislative guidelines,” he said.
“We’re currently seeking advice and speaking to our membership to make sure that continues and we can move forward.”

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