Let’s End The Unfairness

The Craftivist collective

Dear fellow JOY members,

As a current volunteer and on-air presenter at JOY 94.9, I’d like to put my thoughts together on the recent controversial topic: calling a Special General Meeting to oust the board.

I know personally a number of people who have been affected at the station in the way that’s outlined in the letter calling for an SGM. I have heard their reasoned side of the story and in my view the characterisation presented in the board’s recent response is not a fair representation of their plight.

For example, the board has asserted that there is no will, on the part of the aggrieved volunteers, to resolve the issues that have brought this situation to a head. I’d consider this is an unfair characterisation of what I understand to have been a drawn-out, frustrated process that has not been handled with the veracity it deserves.

The depiction that bullying behaviour by management as just mistaken respectful / professional direction, also seems to me an unfair characterisation.

In its response, the board has acknowledged the grievance surrounding the breaking of rules of JOY’s constitution. The board is accountable to adhere to the constitution, and the membership relies on the constitution to ensure proper operational conduct is maintained. The board’s response is comparatively short on this issue, and while it details a brief outline of the actions they’ve taken to address it, when read carefully, no direct assurance is made that the rules are no longer being broken. For the sake of transparency to JOY’s membership, perhaps it would be prudent to identify exactly which rule(s) are broken and provide a direct assurance that rules are no longer being broken.

I believe there is good reason for an SGM to be called, and I hope that during the course of that SGM, better explanation is provided as to the nature of the particular misgivings of current management, and an opportunity to respond further should be availed. The meeting must be conducted in a way that is respectful, fair minded, and must not risk allegations of slander to the parties involved.

Issues of a similar nature have come to a head previously at JOY with entirely different people involved, different circumstances, different outcomes, and have previously been managed in-house with much less publicity. Volunteer organisations are difficult to run, mainly because you cannot rely on the standard management practices employed in the for-profit sector. Some would say an organisation like JOY is a lightning rod for people of strong will and conviction; that’s one of our strengths, indeed it’s a demonstration of the strength of the GLBTIQ community.

But the current situation goes beyond concerns that can be passed off as “spurious” allegations. Let’s enact this SGM, and bring to bear a resolution to this debilitating situation.

I have volunteered for the station on and off for almost 10 years. I remember the Coventry St studios above a hardware store, and I have many fond memories, including for example, doing all-nighters, to support the station during radiothons.

People have made me laugh and cry there. I have been unexpectedly roasted on-air by Addam Stobbs. I have formed numerous long-lasting friendships. And I have also enjoyed the opportunity to present two shows on topics I love, with people I have a true bond, and admiration for, over many years.

I know I’m not alone in this: I love JOY. I suspect all the parties share this sentiment; both those who are calling for change, and those on the board to whom the misgivings are directed.

Mark Powney