Just over a year after taking on the role of New Mardi Gras chair, David Imrie announced he would not seek re-election at the August 9 AGM.

He said he was warned the position would make him a target for criticism, but thinks he achieved what he set out to do.

For the most part it’s been an enjoyable experience. The specific goals I set for myself when I agreed to take on the role, I achieved. So in terms of meeting the expectations of my co-directors and myself, I’m pleased with the outcome, he said.

It’s been a really busy year. Financially we’ve had a terrific result, particularly in the context of the GFC. When the annual report comes out in a few days we will be announcing a season profit of a few hundred thousand, we’ve now got well over $1 million invested, which considering the organisation’s history, we’re very, very pleased with – the fact that we’ve been able to manage costs and promote the events well so that it has a financial security that it has never had before.

Many of the decisions made during Imrie’s time in office did, however, spark mass debate.

In October last year, NMG made the move to change its financial relationship with the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, altering its license to run Glamstand.

Further changes were announced in May this year, as the usual format for Mardi Gras was changed to split the parade and the party onto two separate weekends in 2010. Some counted it as a great move that would allow for a rest period, while others feared a demise of the parade’s importance.

For members however, the pertinent problem was one of notification, with many angry there had not been due consultation.

Back in May last year when I took it on, a local business owner said to me … -˜Wow, you’ve just painted the biggest target right on your back’. The gay and lesbian community is a very passionate and vocal community and I think you do set yourself up for abundant feedback of every flavour, Imrie said adding that the organisation has taken several steps to increase avenues for community say over his time, including the set-up of two new feedback emails, and the introduction of numerous new focus groups to gauge community sentiment.

Criticisms over the handling of the parade split have been duly noted, according to Imrie.

When the package goes out to members for the AGM, the board has put together a motion regarding a very specific process for member and community consultation and special general meetings in the future, he said.

It outlines a specific series of aspects of Mardi Gras, in terms of say, events, and essentially requires the board to hold a general meeting if they intend to make any significant change. Obviously that’s in response to what we received from some people regarding the format change for the 2010 season.

info: For more information on NMG or to become a member head to www.mardigras.org.au. Feedback from members can be sent to [email protected] or [email protected]

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