Hamilton Parish club accused of mismanagement
A row over Hamilton Parish Workman’s Club has broken out after a former president made claims of mismanagement.
However, Nigel Burgess, the club secretary, defended the handling of finances and said the criticism was unfounded.
Alan Smith, president from 1987 to 1994 and from 2007 to 2008, said he was one of the leading members of a group that had twice called for a meeting with Mr Burgess.
He added the group included about 40 members of the club who have put their membership dues in a secure account until a special meeting is called “to sort out matters”. They would like the meeting to be held by the end of this month.
Mr Smith, 73, said: “They are prepared to make their payment once they have the meeting, but they are not giving their dues to the current executive.”
He added he had written twice to the club secretary, a long-serving goalkeeper for the club’s football team, to register the group’s “concerns about the state of the club”.
Mr Smith said the club, on Workmen’s Lane in Crawl, had broken its own constitution by allowing “several years” to pass without an annual meeting to be held on or near November 15.
Members pay $100 each year to renew membership, but Mr Smith said the group was holding dues in an escrow account until being granted a special meeting.
Mr Smith added the group wanted “an action plan” for the club, which he said the present management had been using as “a personal fiefdom”.
He said he had written to the Department of Health this month and accused the club of breaking health standards and to the Liquor Licensing Authority, over “serious concerns as to the operation and administration”.
A member of the group, who asked not to be named, added the club had become “just a hole in the wall now, not the place it has been in the past, in terms of being progressive and community orientated”.
He said Mr Burgess, who could call an emergency meeting, had been given a letter that outlined the group’s concerns in December, as well as this month, but had declined to talk to them.
However, Mr Burgess told The Royal Gazette that Mr Smith was “leading a group of former and potential members — but none of the group are actually members”.
He added: “Until they pay their dues, they are the same as someone coming in off the street. They need to join, and then we can talk.”
Mr Burgess said Mr Smith had had no knowledge of the club’s financial affairs since his resignation.
He added: “I can assure you, it is in a much better position than when he left several years ago.”
Mr Burgess admitted membership was “low at the moment”, and that annual meetings had not been held because there had not been a quorum of 25 members that was needed.
He said club members “constantly comment on the physical appearance and infrastructure of the club, which are items that are now being addressed”.
He added: “I don’t wish to speak to the exact financials of the club.
“However, I can state that the club is in a very stable position.”
Mr Burgess said the club was “entirely self-funded” and generated its own revenues without support from the Government.
He added he had sat on the club’s management committee since 2011 and its executive committee since 2013.
Mr Burgess said: “Mr Smith and his group have no knowledge of club matters simply because they have no right to as non-members.
“Also, with most of them having no physical presence at the club, they would be unaware of the atmosphere there.”