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If you think (wrongly) that the RST auditors would allow the Secretary to write an email for them, then that does not say a great deal for the auditors. Of course, as you well know , that is not true. I did not write the auditors email and I can prove that as well. If you wish I will publish the email that I sent them and their letter in full, though the vast majority has already been published. I expressed surprise to the auditors that certain matters had not been included in the first draft of their report and they then re-drafted it in their own words and I must admit that even I was surprised at the strength of what they said. If they had thought that my concerns were misplaced then no doubt they would have responded accordingly.

 

The reasons that I refused to sign the accounts have also been published:

 

1. Financial irregularities and mismanagement revealed by the audit of RST Accounts for the Year ended 5 April 2010.

2. It had become impossible for me to perform the role of Secretary due to lack of support by the Chair and others who had actively undermined my position.

3. The Chair had impugned my objectivity and integrity in the Election process.

 

Furthermore, the auditors, not me, said that there might be an FSA investigation, something I had never even suggested; and as a registered person I could not afford to be involved; as well as the obvious fact that the accounts as proposed did not disclose the true nature of the debt or the conflict of interest that arose as a result.

 

I did indeed call for the resignations of everyone who was implicated in the cover up (some of whom I was persauded to overlook) and as a result was subjected to a campaign of vilification.

 

I don't recall questioning your integrity but it is a fact, is it not, that you kept this matter from me, which was obviously material to consideration of the accounts which I had to sign in my capacity as Secretary? Did you think that I wouldn't notice that there was an unidentified debt in the accounts or question the manner in which it had been created and reduced? It is also a fact, is it not, that you, Stephen Smith, Gordon Dinnie and Mr Dingwall kept this matter from me and other members of the Board? Perhaps rather than taking another pot shot at me you might care to explain why that was the case?

 

As for Alison, I have said nothing more or less than the fact that she was proposed for the Board by Mr Dingwall shortly before I uncovered this matter. I well recall the meeting at which I asked if we shouldn't at least meet her before co-opting her on to the Board but I was over-ruled. At the very least that was bad practice; but in no way does it impugn her integrity; it says nothing about her at all.

 

I have been silent on these matters for more than three years and I did not raise it this time; but if you expect me to sit back and allow distortions of the truth to go unchallenged on a public forum, then you are very much mistaken.

 

If you accept that there needed to be tighter financial controls, why didn't you as Treasurer introduce them long before I came on the scene? As you said the particular matter had arisen a year before I was elected to the Board and it is my understanding that the unaccountable practice of paying expenses out of cash income, for example, had been going on for a great deal longer, had it not? Why then was it left to me as the recently appointed Secretary to propose these reforms; could that have been because I was the only one prepared to stand up to Mr Dingwall? I take it you are aware how difficult the the then Chair, Stephen Smith, made that for me?

 

This is my final word on this Alan but if you say my comments are disingenuous and suggest that I deliberately withheld information from you then you are questioning my integrity. You also implied that there was something sinister because Mark nominated Alison. Ask yourself this. If there were 'financial irregularities' and 'mismanagement' as you suggest, why would the auditors risk their reputation by signing off the unqualified accounts? You talk about refusing to sign off the accounts because of the things that you listed but you were willing to sign them off if certain people resigned. Instead of playing the martyr just move on.

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You looked drunk? At 11:00am?? Who on earth said that?

 

Mind you, I could have done with a hip flask full of brandy that day. **** me, was it cold!

 

10.30 a.m. IIRC. You don't think they put their own name to it do you? That would require them to grow a set. Funnily enough they all seem to get their information from a website that I'm not allowed to go on so who knows what they are saying. I have seen at least four people talk online about my 'drinking'. These are people that I have never met yet they think it's okay to spread ridiculous things like this without any thought given to who might see it - my boss, my staff, my family. I did have three glasses of wine when I was out the other week. Maybe that's what they mean.

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This is my final word on this Alan but if you say my comments are disingenuous and suggest that I deliberately withheld information from you then you are questioning my integrity. You also implied that there was something sinister because Mark nominated Alison. Ask yourself this. If there were 'financial irregularities' and 'mismanagement' as you suggest, why would the auditors risk their reputation by signing off the unqualified accounts? You talk about refusing to sign off the accounts because of the things that you listed but you were willing to sign them off if certain people resigned. Instead of playing the martyr just move on.

 

You did withhold the information from me, Christine, prior to the audit meeting, and I note that you offer no explanation. You agree that there was mismanagement that existed before my involvement and I also note that you offer no explanation for your failure as Treasurer to bring forward any proposals to deal with that mismanagement. I stated the facts about Alison's appointment; it is up to others to draw their own conclusions. The volte face by the auditors has always been a mystery to me. You are correct that I was prepared to sign off the accounts if the persons responsible for the mismanagement resigned and my financial management proposals (which dealt with budgets, management accounts, and specifically stated that "In order to maintain accurate and complete accounting records it is essential that all income is received and banked by the Treasurer and all invoices passed to the Treasurer for payment."; which might seem obvious to many but had not been happening hitherto) were implemented in full. The bounced cheques issue opened a can of worms, many of which were down to cash payments. Properly identifying the debt in the accounts, removing the sources of the issues and ensuring that they could not recur in future seemed to me like a reasonable basis to move on at the time and I was not alone in that view.

 

I am sure that all current members of RST will welcome your assurance that its financial management is now much better than it was at that time.

 

I would be delighted not to have to defend my position on this again; but I suspect that I may be disappointed.

 

However, moving on, for the time being at least, as others including BD have asked; why do the RST no longer publish the names of the Board members or at the very least the Office Bearers?

 

So now you have two former Secretaries asking the same question.

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However, moving on, for the time being at least, as others including BD have asked; why do the RST no longer publish the names of the Board members or at the very least the Office Bearers?

 

So now you have two former Secretaries asking the same question.

 

I'm not going to answer any more of your insinuations but have a look at the website. Go to search and input RST Board Members. Of course it is now out of date as we co-opted three new Board member last week.

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If you think (wrongly) that the RST auditors would allow the Secretary to write an email for them, then that does not say a great deal for the auditors. Of course, as you well know , that is not true. I did not write the auditors email and I can prove that as well. If you wish I will publish the email that I sent them and their letter in full, though the vast majority has already been published. I expressed surprise to the auditors that certain matters had not been included in the first draft of their report and they then re-drafted it in their own words and I must admit that even I was surprised at the strength of what they said. If they had thought that my concerns were misplaced then no doubt they would have responded accordingly.

 

 

So, essentially, the auditors redrafted their report (presumably their management letter) as a result of your comments.

 

Did you inform anyone else on the RST Board that you had a conversation with the auditors which caused them to redraft their ML?

 

Did anyone else on the RST Board agree with your comments?

 

Did the auditors consult with any other Board members prior to the redraft?

 

When you saw the redraft, had the auditors shown it to any other Board members?

 

Did your role on the Board require direct contact with the auditors?

 

Did you have any contact with these auditors from any other professional activity?

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So, essentially, the auditors redrafted their report (presumably their management letter) as a result of your comments.

 

Did you inform anyone else on the RST Board that you had a conversation with the auditors which caused them to redraft their ML?

 

Did anyone else on the RST Board agree with your comments?

 

Did the auditors consult with any other Board members prior to the redraft?

 

When you saw the redraft, had the auditors shown it to any other Board members?

 

Did your role on the Board require direct contact with the auditors?

 

Did you have any contact with these auditors from any other professional activity?

 

I can't speak for the board or the auditors nor would you expect me to but in answer to your last two questions: the management letter was directed to me as Secretary in the first instance, so obviously that would be a "yes" and "no" I did not have any other contact with the firm concerned before, during or after my involvement with RST. I am sure they will be happy to confirm that if required.

 

I hope that's helpful.

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I'm not going to answer any more of your insinuations but have a look at the website. Go to search and input RST Board Members. Of course it is now out of date as we co-opted three new Board member last week.

 

I only deal in facts that I can back up.

 

I did indeed look at the web site but didn't see the drop down that used to be there for the Board Members. I assume BD did likewise recently and couldn't find the information but no doubt he will speak for himself.

 

I may be missing it (if so would welcome your guidance) but I don't see a SEARCH facility. Perhpas it's only open to members?

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I'm not going to answer any more of your insinuations but have a look at the website. Go to search and input RST Board Members. Of course it is now out of date as we co-opted three new Board member last week.

 

There's a menu system on the website but none of them appear to lead to a link that shows the board members, and you seem to be saying that we have to go into a search function to find it. That raises a number of issues:

 

1. That suggests that you are trying to hide it from the members, which doesn't install any trust.

2. Is there a search function? I can't see one.

3. Why have the members not been emailed about all the recent changes, both additions and departures? The RST (and specifically yourself) did say that communication was to be improved, and while that is true to an extent, attempting to withhold board member changes from members is not in the spirit of good communication.

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I can't speak for the board or the auditors nor would you expect me to but in answer to your last two questions: the management letter was directed to me as Secretary in the first instance, so obviously that would be a "yes" and "no" I did not have any other contact with the firm concerned before, during or after my involvement with RST. I am sure they will be happy to confirm that if required.

 

I hope that's helpful.

 

I am surprised that you don't know the answers to the first two questions.

 

Is it normal for the ML to be directed to the Secretary? As an ML normally contains comments on the accounting and control environment I would have thought it should be directed to the Treasurer.

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There's a menu system on the website but none of them appear to lead to a link that shows the board members, and you seem to be saying that we have to go into a search function to find it. That raises a number of issues:

 

1. That suggests that you are trying to hide it from the members, which doesn't install any trust.

2. Is there a search function? I can't see one.

3. Why have the members not been emailed about all the recent changes, both additions and departures? The RST (and specifically yourself) did say that communication was to be improved, and while that is true to an extent, attempting to withhold board member changes from members is not in the spirit of good communication.

 

Derek, there hasn't been any attempt to hide who is on the board, certainly not as far as I know. In fact when you first brought it up and I discovered the names weren't on it I suggested we all do a blurb about ourselves, background, qualifications etc. but some weren't happy about that so it didn't happen.

 

I don't think the site is very user friendly in all honesty and it will be getting a major re-vamp soon. You need to go into the news section and use the search function there. It has not been custom and practice in recent years to notify members of resignations and appointments, we usually do that at our AGM but your comments are noted and I'll bring it up at our next meeting.

Edited by plgsarmy
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