President’s Report 2019

How to begin?

The most remarkable thing about the report is its complete detachment from tricky things like facts. The first paragraph tells us how nice it was “to have all candidates who stood with me very comfortably elected.” Well it’s a nice thought, but James Dunne got 62 votes – stone cold motherless last. Didn’t he stand with the President? He’s been on the Committee for years.

Lost in thought about the accounts

But it only gets worse. While admitting that 2017/18 was a tough year, apparently the Club has now triumphed and we are invited to “..compare the Financial Report ‘bottom lines’ of 2017/18 and 2018/19 to see the outstanding turnaround.” Let’s do just that.

A vital ‘bottom line’ is the profit and loss of the previous financial year. On p. 32 of the Report, it shows a loss of $789,924, bad enough in itself but a whole $155,438 WORSE than the previous year, described as ‘tough’ which showed a loss of $634,486. If this performance is described as ‘bringing our losses under control’ – does this mean it’s going to continue along much the same lines next year, because this is ‘under control’ and therefore OK? Or will the rate of loss continue to increase. With income from trade at just over $18,000, it’s hard to see things improving.

So that particular bottom line is not only dreadful in itself, it’s got a whole lot worse than it was. Perhaps in the next President’s letter, he could start by defining the term ‘outstanding turnaround’. Or maybe he should admit that he just read the years in the wrong order. Or very possibly he simply assumed that hardly anybody bothers going to the back of the report and looking at the figures anyway.

Some of the subtotals of this loss are amazing. This is a club which has no permanent paid staff, very few functions, is only open (briefly) 4 nights a week, but it spends $910,889 on administration. What is it administering and why does it cost so much? There are many other questions about this set of financials, which will be tackled shortly, but suffice to point out that the much vaunted ‘nest egg’ from the sale of the building has now shrunk to $17,029,890, with no end in sight.

Even more worrying, the financials do not appear to have been signed by the President. In normal Clubs, the President and Treasurer would sign the financials, but the Celtic Club has seen a very rapid turnover in Treasurers recently and Robert Clifford (the little known previous Treasurer) resigned on 30.6.19 so presumably wasn’t available to sign off. Fortunately the Vice President was there to step forward, cross out the word ‘Treasurer’ and put her name in. Less fortunately the signatures appended to the financials are identical and match neither the President nor the Vice-President’s signatures. What is going on?

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