Many of you are aware of the recent controversies enveloping Equestrian Australia with respect to the recent nominations process for electing directors. I think it is important that EWA members are aware of the facts surrounding this and the EWA board’s actions and position on this matter (we represent the WA members, after all!)
In essence, the EA constitution stipulates that an independent Nominations Committee must assess all nominees for elected board seats to determine if they are “suitable”. There are some guidelines as to how to make this determination referencing skills, integrity, diversity etc. A skills matrix is provided to that committee by the EA board (noting that the matrix has not changed since the last selection of board members). The EA board is bound by decisions of the Nomination Committee if they deem a nominee unsuitable.
What has happened
The nominations committee has determined that 5 of the six nominees for the vacant board positions to be ineligible to stand for election. One because he was not a financial member, and the other four were deemed “unsuitable”.
In my role as Chair and behalf of the board, during the Christmas break, I contacted Mark Bradley (EA chair) and Darren Gocher (EA CEO) by email seeking clarity and expressing concern on the process to arrive at the extraordinary outcome of 5 of 6 board nominees being deemed ineligible for election. Particular concern was expressed with the exclusion of Lucy Galovicova as a sitting board member. After several exchanges, it was made clear that the EA board felt they had acted within the constitution and that rationale behind the decisions would be withheld on confidentiality and the individual’s privacy grounds.
In addition to this, a number of meetings were held with the other State and discipline chairs where it was obvious that all parties were dismayed with the decision. Subsequently, EA held a meeting with all the State and Discipline Chairs to discuss the matter. Once again, EA has defended the process and decision with the constitution and the rationale with confidentiality. EA has been challenged vigorously on a legal basis and procedural (a more considered decision could have been made within the constitution.)
Subsequently, a letter was sent from all the Chairs (except Vaulting) to the EA Board requesting that they remove the election of Directors from the AGM agenda to review and reconsider the Nominations process. EA did not accept this advice.
The EWA board is united with all the other states and disciplines in opposition to the decision.
The State Branches and National Discipline Committees are continuing to talk to have direct involvement in the structural review of EA, its role, responsibilities and operation
Chair Equestrian WA