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Saturday 10 October 2015

Confusion over BP chair's resignation offer

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News - 10th October 2015

Confusion is emerging regarding whether an offer by Body Positive's chair to resign the position has been declined or not, or whether the offer even remains on the table.

Mark Fisher
The confusion has arisen as a re-worded members' petition (see link below) has been put to the board. The initial version of the petition asked for a vote of no confidence in the entire board in the hope the board as a whole would resign. An amended version, apparently sent to the board members on Thursday night, narrows things down to requiring chair Ashley Barratt to stand down as chair and to resign from the board.

HIV-positive man 'John' says he was the person from the petitioning group who attended a board meeting ten days ago when the board was asking for more information about the petition. He says he hadn't intended to formally represent the petitioners but instead was present to meet some of the board members for the first time and to satisfy his own personal interest in how the matter was being proceeded.

He says he was then asked by a board member to represent his fellow petitioners during the meeting. He says he told them he would but that he could not make any decisions or commitments, that he might have to refer such matters and any questions the board had back to the lead petitioners.

'John' says during the meeting Ashley Barratt offered to step down as chair if that would make it easier to resolving the dispute between the board and the petitioners. He says he told the board he wasn't sure if that would be enough to satisfy the petitioners and he would have to go back to them to discuss the matter.

And, he says, it was not clear whether Barratt was offering to resign from the chairmanship or from the board.

He also says Barratt had offered to resign in a previous, more one-on-one, discussion and that he had also said then that he would take that back to his fellow petitioners. understands the petitioners met a few days ago and decided to amend the petition of no confidence in the entire board to one requiring Barratt to step down from the board. The re-worded petition was signed by over thirty Body Positive members and given to the board members on Thursday night.

However, a member of the board who was also present at the board meeting says as far as the board was concerned 'John' clearly declined Barratt's offer of resignation and that offer is therefore no longer on the table. BP's Executive Director Mark Fisher says that is also his understanding.

It is unclear how the matter will now proceed. Both parties have expressed a wish that the organisation not be unduly destabilised by the ongoing dispute which appears to have its roots in discontent over strategic changes the board is implementing, the closure of the Wellington branch and issues relating to transparency and communication between the board and BP's members.

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