The auDA Chair has faced the music realising his demise was imminent on Monday when a Special General Meeting was to be held to vote on his removal. However he also indicated auDA, the .au policy and regulatory body, will continue on the path of the current management that will continue to alienate many members and key stakeholders such as registrars who have enough of accountability and transparency disappearing, no community engagement, poor communications, mass staff defections and the cosy closed shop between the CEO, Chair and key board members.
In an after-hours statement from auDA Chair Stuart Benjamin said he has “taken a very difficult decision to stand aside from my role as Independent Chair of auDA three months before the expiry of my term as an Independent Director.
“I have reached the view that there is no possible positive outcome for the organisation from the vote planned for Monday.
“I believe a new Chair would be better placed to continue the change program I have been leading.”
However Benjamin doesn’t resile from the current changes auDA is attempting to implement, meaning members will still be disenchanted with changes introduced at auDA in recent months and going forward. These include:
- Denying stakeholders including members the ability to view historical Board Minutes, Agendas and Reports, deleting them from the auDA website however following a Freedom of Information request from former board member Josh Rowe, auDA was forced to release the deleted documents. Going forward though auDA is insistent on ensuring it continues to hide these and other documents.
- Imposing a Code of Conduct on members, without explanation or showing reasons for its requirements and which is believed to be in contravention of (13.3) and (29) of the auDA Constitution.
- Continuing on its path of changing how the registry is operated, which many believe contravenes the auDA constitution.
Benjamin goes on to say how auDA is open to criticism, but then complains that this “healthy engagement [has devolved] into personal attacks on board members, the capacity of the organisation to attract and retain good people is affected. Benjamin also claims he “will continue to take a stand against cyber bullying and will not be deterred in standing up to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to personally attack staff and directors.”
But it’s not just Benjamin that is the problem at auDA. It has been disappointing that CEO Cameron Boardman and recent appointment to the Board Dr. Michaella Richards failed to publicly declare that both had worked in the Victorian state government, according to the minutes [pdf] of the first board meeting Richards attended on 14 November. And going by the CEO’s statement, the policies auDA has proposed and implemented, and which have alienated members and other key stakeholders, are still going ahead.
Monday’s Special General Meeting in Melbourne is still scheduled to go ahead, although what is on the agenda is uncertain.
This article has been amended to reflect concerns of former auDA director Dr. Michaella Richards and the threat of defamation proceedings.