Lyndoch Living board member calls it quits…now what?

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Now you see him…..Peter Downs was listed as a board member on Saturday morning, 15 February 2020.

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.

Uh oh.

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.

Now you don’t. The Lyndoch Living board page was updated by the afternoon to remove Mr Downs.

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.


Former WRC CEO Peter Downs was re-elected to the Lyndoch Living board at the AGM last October. Photo:

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.
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2 thoughts on “Lyndoch Living board member calls it quits…now what?”

  1. I hope that Vicki Jellie is invited to join the board and I also hope that she has the courage to accept the invitation. The reality is that there will be no revolution and our only hope is to reform the board and the working of Lyndoch by renovating the board one member at a time. It will be a tough gig but, perhaps, once on the board, Vicki can influence the attitudes of other board members to become more active in their roles and find positive ways of reminding the CEO that she works for the board and not the other way around. Well, we can hope.

  2. This situation also presents a conundrum of the Lyndoch board of directors. If they reject Vicki Jellie’s membership application at their next meeting, but accept the application of someone else who is then invited to join the board, what will this say about the board in terms of openness, transparency and community relations. Whatever, happens will happen very publicly and I think that that will be the last thing the board or the CEO wants.

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