A Very Brief Response to CPA Australia’s memo to Members 16th March 2017
A detailed response will follow.
How can a very low profile accountant in a regional NSW town (Armidale) be able to get supporting emails from over 140 CPA members from a mailing list of 600 members on major issues raised about CPA Australia in a little over three weeks?
And how can it be that almost 90 members to date have signed a Members Special Resolution (after just three days) to reduce Directors Fees by 50%?
What is CPA Australia board and senior management thinking?
Any member who has raised these issues in the past has normally received a phone call from either Graeme Wade or Jeff Hughes saying everything at CPA Australia is a resounding success and our concerns are just isolated concerns.
As I say I shall respond in detail to the memo (actually I will be pleased to do so, especially if it is anything like the last letter from CPA Australia) but lets not lose sight of the forest for the trees.
1. Excessive, I would say obscene, levels of pay for directors and senior executives at CPA Australia.
I shall enjoy responding to your answer on that one CPA/Jeff.
I’ve had a quick look and it doesn’t even pass the drovers dog test let alone the sniff or pub test.
2. Excessive, almost obscene levels of marketing, with most promoting Alex Malley and/or ruining the CPA brand as representing professional accountants.
I would suggest it is misdirected.
I will especially enjoy responding to the National Basketball League Sponsorship given that Graeme Wade our immediate past president and now director is also Chairman of the NBL. As you say Jeff “a commercial arm’s length sponsorship”.
Woops, I just saw some pigs flying across the sky outside my room. I was distracted.
3. Corporate governance weaknesses such that members never vote directly for members, and the board holds a very tight rein on newcomers and dissent.
I notice some attention to the Nominations and Remuneration Committee. I’ll enjoy responding to that one.
By the way did you happen to mention the FACT that the current President Tyrone Carlin has stated in his Directors Profile in the 2014 and 2015 Annual Reports that he was a Past Chairman of this committee. He clearly wasn’t as he had not even served on it.
I’ve just had a quick look Jeff, and it appears you didn't want to correct that bit of ‘factual information’. I think the term for that is 'cherry-picking’.
Being pedantic. NO. I suggest it provides a foretaste of what is to come with my response.
I will go so far as to contend that a number of directors have served well past their due to finish dates (yes, we all know it is legal and constitutional Jeff, but thats not the point here) and that many of the issues and problems at CPA Australia possibly emanate from that issue. More to come on that one in my detailed response. But let me say that Wade and Petty (11 years), and Ryan (10 years) all need to leave.
They may well have served CPA Australia as directors but they certainly have been well remunerated for their efforts and have been strong advocates and supports of many of the above issues which we as members have issue under Alex Malleys reign since 2009.
4. CPA Australia’s censorious to any member who raises these matters
Much to say in this matter but let me suggest if the Board do not investigate the bizarre and bullying behaviour of Alex Malley and Graeme Wade with one of the largest Discussion Groups in Sydney a week or so ago then they are neglecting their duty.
Perhaps also the coincidental ‘technical glitch’ which has prevented anyone from accessing the Find A CPA since my emails began circulating.
I call that an excuse, thats not a technical glitch.
How about preventing members from accessing the CPA Linked In group unless they ‘toe the party line’ on comments such as above?
More to say on that one in detail given CPA Australia have a Social Media Manager (Jillian Bowen) who I just presume has had some say on these matters.
5. The articles by the AFR, especially Joe Aston in his column.
I can see why you are upset with him, because he is the one who alerted most of us members to many of the above issues.
You may have heard of the saying Jeff, that 'the truth hurts’?
I think that for all your posturing about ‘addressing inaccuracies’ and providing ‘factual information’ there is a fair amount of an unwillingness of the board and senior management of CPA Australia to accept some basic truths about what is really gong on with the members.
But I shall reveal more of that with my response.
What is that other saying that comes to mind when I see your section on the AFR.
What is it now…. something about 'not shooting the messenger’.
6. AGM in Singapore and the Announcement of the Notice of AGM and Annual Reports still to come
I don't need to say anything on that one. The members can decide for themselves.
I shall 'rip into that' when I do the detailed response.
I’m surprised you didn’t consider Vladivostok or maybe Outer Mongolia, at a stretch they could be considered Asia.
Oh well, nothing like a nice peaceful AGM far away from the maddening crowd eh? Enjoy your flight Jeff.
Hopefully I’ll can give you my detailed response for a little bit of light reading. I’d hate you to enjoy the flight meal and wine too much.
7. What is CPA Australia’s reason for existence
I contend it is to service the accounting profession and the members.
It is not to promote Alex Malley nor to pursue growth for growths sake, and surpluses as a goal in itself.
And it most certainly is not to be used as a cash cow to featherbed the nests of Key Management Personnel (can I be any blunter).
8. Major conflict of interest regarding Adam Awty as Company Secretary and COO on these matters.
This is important because when we lodge the special resolution on reducing directors fees by 50% normally that would be provided to the Company Secretary.
But in this case that is a significant issue because the current Company Secretary is also COO, and we have significant issues about the excessive remuneration paid to him (along with you Jeff, and also Alex Malley).
As I Iook at the Corporations Law (both statute and case law) that raises the matter of conflict of interest which is a big issue.
Hence we are suggesting, no demanding actually, that we be able to lodge the resolution with an objective third party so that the CPA Australia board and management are not able to identify the individual signatories (am I being paranoid or are the over 15 members who have expressed concerns about this to me just being realistic?).
The below emails between Adam and myself will perhaps pad out that situation for the members.
Nothing too confidential in them as it was sent to the board, and the return was from the board.
i. My Email to board.secretar., tyrone.carlin, jeff.hughes, ceo,
Dear President of the Board and Company Secretary of CPA Australia,
Can I refer you to the following email I have received from a member and has been a common response from a number of members.
Can I therefore ask that the Company Secretary and the President provide us with a written assurance in relation to this special members resolution, where we are asking that the directors fees be reduced by 50%, that all member details will be held securely and confidentially by the Company Secretary only, and not divulged to any other party (internal or external).
I have not had any response to a phone call placed with Adam Awty last Thursday which as Company Secretary I find concerning.
Therefore I am sending this email direct to the board secretariat, to Jeff Hughes (COO) and Alex Malley (CEO), and Tyrone Carlin (President).
I would like to be able to notify the members on my mailing list of your response by tomorrow midday (Wednesday 15th March), or of your non-response as the case may be.
I should think this gives you plenty of time to confirm such confidentiality.
Of course you may also notify the membership yourself of your commitment to that confidentiality.
I hardly need to state what this sort of response from members says about the culture within CPA Australia in terms of the membership.
But however you perceive that, I think it behoves you to provide some assurance that confidentiality of the members who sign a special members resolution will be treated with utmost confidentiality by the company secretary as stated above.
Especially when we have been completely open and transparent with you on this resolution well before we even sent it out to members.
Thanks for the emails and work you are doing on this.
Can I suggest that before any resolution is sent to the company secretary, you secure a commitment from him all member details will be held securely and confidentially and not divulged to any other party(internal or external).
This then confirms he will act correctly and do proper thing, rather than assume it will be done…only to discover later the information has been divulged with possible repercussion to individual members.
Brett Stevenson CPA BComm MDiv
ii. Boards response to my request
On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 6:04 PM, Board Secretariat <Board.Secretariat@cpaaustralia.com.au> wrote:
Dear Mr Stevenson
I have been recently advised that you attempted to make contact with me late on Thursday. Unfortunately I was not in the office when you attempted to call and was subsequently on leave on Friday and with yesterday being a public holiday in Victoria I am only now able to deal with your enquiry.
I can confirm that should a motion be presented to the Company, as Company Secretary my office would ensure it is managed in accordance with the Corporations Law and any other relevant laws.
Adam Awty CPA | Chief Operating Officer - Commercial and Company Secretary | CPA Australia
iii. My response
to board.secretar., tyrone.carlin, jeff.hughes, ceo,
Thanks for your response.
I would have thought your executive assistant could have easily said that when I phoned last Thursday.
With all due respect that is a non-answer in relation to the handling of the resolution.
Why do you people at Head Office speak in such legalese to avoid the real issue.
My question was pretty simple and clear.
I shall notify the members on my mailing list of your response.
Given this is the way you are going to 'play this' I shall be telling the members that we will submit the resolution only to an independent objective third party, and will not be providing you with the list of members who signed the resolution.
I shall also notify the press of this because at a very fundamental level we have few options.
Confidentiality is a major factor here given that you are both Company Secretary, and also COO.
I hardly thought we needed to spell out the issue of conflict of interest any more clearly given that many of the issues raised relate to yourself as one of the Key Management Personnel.
Can I presume from your answer that this is also the approved answer of the President, Board and CEO as I did send it to them.
You will appreciate that we believe corporate governance at CPA Australia is a major issue, and you will be aware of this from the group emails. I find your response opaque and non-transparent at best.
I also notice that you have not answered our query as to whether you would like to complete the chart in the resolution to provide the actual directors fees paid. I presume that means a no answer.
The detailed response will come when I get the chance
In the meantime can members please continue to send in the signed resolutions to me. We are nearly there with numbers.
Brett Stevenson CPA BComm MDiv
|Merry Christmas to Peter Wilson. When it was suggested that Peter Wilson should be independent of the old board so that we can have a fresh start Peter responded with "That's your issue". Summary of the meeting here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=594|
A good summary of where we are up to by Joe Aston of the AFR, linked to from here: viewtopic.php?f=5&p=4137#p4137
If you are new to this website read the story so far: viewtopic.php?t=321#p1793
Check out some of the AFR articles, too many to list and check out some of the ABC reports: http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 215-h055ej http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 211-h02x1d http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the ... s,/8626662
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