The Monte AGM – Take Two

December 9, 2014 by  
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We all know why some see the glass as half full and others as half empty. It is merely a difference in perception.

The arrangement of one fixed microphone was excellent. We could see where and who was speaking, not trying to strain our old necks to see.

It is a fair way to decide who spoke next. With roving mikes we would have had the accusation that the chairman was selecting who would speak.
Sure, many of the speakers rambled on, and many were elderly. This after all was a meeting at an aged care facility, and to show disrespect for the elderly would have been very wrong. The chairman did not need more accusations levied against him by his detractors for not allowing speaker to finish their speech. Many of us would have considered proposing a move to go directly to the vote early in the meeting, but that is not the way the Monte works.
I heard no catcalling, definition “A harsh or shrill call or whistle expressing derision or disapproval”. Of course being a bit elderly my hearing for high-pitched sounds could be a bit faulty, but I did hear interjections, calls for speakers to just ask questions, even a few boos when insults were voiced. I agree that the interjections are unpleasant, and perhaps in future we can have a bailiff on hand to remove unruly members, perhaps with a lockup using one of the homes old rooms until the meeting concludes. On the other hand it was hot and stuffy, and laymen do not all know the correct way to bring up a point of order. If the chairman had been more strict, there would be accusations of his bullying.
There are no proxy votes in political elections, and almost everyone entering a polling station already knows how they will vote.
Without proxies it is very difficult for any person or group to take control of an organisation. Ensuring that voters must be present ensures that only those who have a strong enough opinion will make the effort to vote. The no proxy concept gets my vote.
At first thought it would seem to be a good idea that each resident be given a vote. However $45 a year is not a heavy charge, and in cases of need I am sure that someone could be found to sponsor any resident who wanted to become a member. If every resident could automatically vote, like with proxy votes we could have residents pressured to support one view against another. No, lets leave the residents in peace unless they want to be involved.
As to the man who came to the microphone not declaring his relationship to the board, whether he was a friend, foe or father of anyone in contesting the election was not relevant. Undoubtedly many speakers had some connection to one team or the other. All that mattered was what the speaker said, and very few will take issue with his comment that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Much has been made of the non permanent retirement of the Montefiore chairman. The way I see it, each year he/she must stand for election, much like any board member where members are elected annually. As far as I am aware few commercial organisations, even political organisations except for positions like the US President limit re-election. If the chairman is doing a good job, why replace him? If he is not, he will be replaced by the involved members. Did you know that Hal Goldstein was President of the Montefiore Home for 25 years during a time when our community was far less prosperous and there were greater strains on the home’s management?
We heard at a past AGM that it was explained that any matter requiring legal expertise is referred to specialist outside lawyers.
Comments were made of the chairman’s legal connections to the home. We heard at the meeting that any dealings between the home and any board member need to be approved  not only by the board of about 15 men and women, but the home’s general manager, and then pass the test of the auditor. Only someone who believes in conspiracy theories need still be concerned, and no amount of assurance will those sorts of people. If anyone has anything to show rather than baseless innuendo and rumour, let them show us evidence! We have a community in which there are no real secrets, so if there was anything amiss, there would be proof. To use more American slang, and I say it in the nicest way. “Put up or shut up”.
To this member the chairman, and all candidates for the executive spoke with dignity. It would not be difficult to nit-pick any candidate’s presentation, but that would achieve nothing.
However what was obvious from the final vote of almost 2/3 supporting David Freedman, despite the alleged stacking of the meeting with new members and alleged massive outside support for the Renewal Group, the committed and concerned members of the Montefiore Home do not want to be told who must run their home.
Let us please all bring this chapter to an end and let the board, the management, the staff, the residents and the members put it all behind us.
Most of all let’s stop making me and about 600 people miss our children’s and grandchildren’s sport on the first Sunday in December.
Bernhard Kirschner
Queens Park NSW




One Response to “The Monte AGM – Take Two”
  1. Sheldon Pozniak says:

    Bernard is a very wise man with his comments and I personally agree that “If it’s not broken, no need to fix it”.

    Perhaps the good people who give so much of their time & devotion to such a wonderful communal institution as The Montefiore Home can now get on with running the show as
    they were duly elected to by a large majority present at the AGM.

    Congratulations to David Freeman & the board, they deserve only praise for a wonderful job caring for & creating the best facilities for our aging Jewish citizens in Sydney.

    Sheldon Pozniak

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