Carol Altmann – The Terrier
Former Warrnambool Racing Club chief Peter Downs has quit the board of Lyndoch Living, having been reappointed for another three years just last October.
I don’t know exactly when Mr Downs* – who moved to Melbourne in September – resigned, but his board profile was on the Lyndoch website yesterday morning and gone by the end of the day.
This is awkward.
Lyndoch now has to fill his spot.
Mr Downs was one of nine board members, and Lyndoch must have at least nine board members under its constitution.
And here’s the catch: to become a board member, you must be first a general member.
As we know, Lyndoch has only
15 14 members in total, all present and accounted for, including the board, the executive including the CEO, and two life members in Ron Patterson and David Atkinson who have already done their time.
There is nobody else, because, as we also know, nobody has been allowed to join.
No new members = no new board members.
Just yesterday there was a brilliant Letter to the Editor to the Warrnambool Standard by retired lawyer Lynn Hudson, a super-qualified person who applied to become a member of Lyndoch and was flatly rejected.
Her well-credentialled husband was also rejected. (You can read the letter here).
Lynn’s letter pulled back the veil on the farce that has seen a string of smart, caring, well-credentialled people who have applied for Lyndoch membership and been rejected with no explanation.
What an absolute joke.
Except the joke, if it only were funny, is that the Lyndoch board now has to find a new board member.
It has four choices, only two of which will pass muster.
One is to hand pick someone that passes the strict criteria for being a Lyndoch board member, which appears to be sit down, don’t ask tricky questions and be bedazzled by the plans to transform our aged care home into LyndochLand™.
Another is to advertise for a board member, which used to happen back in the days of equity, openness and gratitude for a community that loved Lyndoch.
A third is to do both of the above: advertise and then pick the person who has been worded up to apply.
Or, the board just happens to have a membership application on its desk right now from one of the most qualified, most decent, most ethical, respected and upfront people in Warrnambool: Vicki Jellie, AM.
What a stroke of luck for Lyndoch Living!
Vicki, as we all know, was the driving force behind Peter’s Project, which saw a multi-million-dollar cancer treatment centre built in Warrnambool.
The AM after her name was awarded in the national Australia Day awards in 2017 as Australia’s Local Hero – a winner chosen out of the whole nation!
And yet here is Vicki, applying along with the rest of us, to see if she is good enough to be accepted as a member of Lyndoch Living where she used to work and where, first hand, she saw the changes that are now the subject of long-overdue scrutiny.
Mind you, I doubt Vicki would want to join the Lyndoch board as it stands.
There are mounting questions about the direction of Lyndoch, and around staff morale, resignations and sick leave, which rolls on, believe me, except I am unable to speculate publicly as to why.
Mr Downs’ resignation has forced the hand of the board to reveal its true intentions and the next board meeting on 25 February will be very revealing.
We will know whether the board intends to once again be open and honest with the community that built and sustained Lyndoch for more than 60 years, or to remain a place of secrets and, I hope, growing unease.
One thing is certain, the game is up.
*I have left messages with Mr Downs late this afternoon for comment.
If you would like to apply to become a member of Lyndoch Living, here is the form.
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