In his most recent email to a select group of members, the President admitted that the Club had lacked a Treasurer for approximately eight months and promised that he would soon advise the general membership of the appointment of (yet another) Treasurer. No details were given of the selection process followed, though clearly the job was not thrown open to members to volunteer. Nor do we know very much about the new candidate for this position. We were assured that the news would reach us all by Friday last week.
Friday has long come and gone with no news of the hero who is willing to step up into this perilous role. Perhaps it’s time to consider the fate of recent Treasurers – even enumerate them, there have been so many! Starting with Sean McKeon, who held the post amidst rumours of clashes with the Vice-President in committee meetings. Apparently she didn’t like his financial analyses and he disagreed with her about leasing The Metropolitan.
After Sean threw in the towel, Robert Clifford filled a casual vacancy in June 2018, but left without signing the financial reports. One of the many odd features of the current Celtic Club is that the Treasurer no longer reviews and signs the financial reports. In fact the President and Vice-President don’t even bother any more; they have ‘adopted’ a signature. This is done despite the President publicly admitting that the practice could facilitate fraud.
We know very little about Mr. Clifford except that he has connections to the Irish-Australian Chamber of Commerce and was a well-known member of the Brady Hotel group (https://www.irishchamber.com.au/business-directory/alto-cibum-0). Why did he leave so promptly? Was he even a member of the Celtic Club? So far as we can tell, Michael O’Meara was next into the post until he moved across to head another short-lived Audit Committee. Michael was followed by Denis Swift. Elected unopposed in 2019, Denis has not been reliably sighted at any Celtic Club function since. Given Denis’ history at the Alfred Hospital, (https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-man-condemned-20081029-5be6.html), it seems the Club does dodge the occasional bullet.
Whoever takes the job will have his work cut out as the role obliges him to prepare a proper budget, strategic plan, business plan and a marketing plan. With the Club in terminal decline financially and losing members rapidly – that is all a big ask.
More challenging than all of these though will be getting the President to learn about normal accounting. According to the Annual Report (2019), page 34, the Club’s loss for 2019 was ($787,924) up from 2018 when it was ‘only’ ($634,486). The President’s response to this rapidly worsening situation?
“I invite Members to compare the Financial Report “bottom lines” of 2017/18 and 2018/19 to see the outstanding turnaround. We made tough decisions and brought our losses under control.”
Do tell! An increase in losses of $153,438 in one year means it’s under control. Wouldn’t you like to see what ‘out of control’ would look like?
Posted with permission from Dire Straits