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    Reluctant committee’s date with destiny Reluctant committee’s date with destiny
    A RELUCTANT South Australian Harness Racing Club committee has agreed to conduct a Special General Meeting. The meeting is the result of a push... Reluctant committee’s date with destiny

    A RELUCTANT South Australian Harness Racing Club committee has agreed to conduct a Special General Meeting.

    The meeting is the result of a push from a group of members who have “lost faith in the committee”.

    Led by Tony Copeland, the group submitted a letter signed by 40 members to the club on April 18, which they say fits within the club’s constitution via clause 35.5.

    As such, the committee has a legal obligation to host the meeting within 21 days, during which time the members will call upon the committee to temporarily hand the ‘reins’ to HRSA while an independent auditor investigates the club’s finances and management.

    According to Copeland the committee is also required to give members 21 days notice of the meeting date.

    In response club President Richard Miller issued a statement today, which declares the ‘Copeland crew’ haven’t met the conditions properly.

    Despite the short comings of the coup, Miller and his committee have decided to ‘play ball’.

    “Under the SAHRC Constitution the committee are required to schedule such meetings within 21 clear days of receiving and appropriate request,” Miller wrote.

    “Whereas the submitted petition itself contains enough signatories to support the calling of a Special General Meeting it does not specify the resolutions intended to be put to the membership…it is therefore not clear if those people were aware of what actions they were supporting.

    “Despite the technical deficiency Committee have agreed to proceed with convening a meeting.”

    Although the 21 days notice as required by the constitution has not been met, the club will hold the Special General Meeting at Globe Derby on May 9.

    During his correspondence Miller also embraced the opportunity to take a swipe at the “protagonists”

    “Members will recall that the same group of protagonists put similar motions to Members at the 2017 AGM that were soundly defeated,” Miller stated. ”

    Given two-thirds of the membership must agree on the proposed changes, ‘proxy votes’ are expected to play a major role in the outcome.

    Knowing this the case, Copeland and company have asked for a membership list to enable them to make contact with voters – a request which has been denied by the committee.

    The committee, however, can use the list to contact members!

    “We don’t give it out to anyone under the privacy act,” Miller said. “It’s been a policy of club for long time.”

    Copeland disputed Miller’s statement while claiming the committee has handed over mailing labels in the past for prospective committee members to introduce themselves to members to attract votes.

    “We don’t want email addresses, phone numbers and so on, just some stick on mailing labels with addresses to send letters will do,” Copeland said. “It’s been done before so why can’t it be done again.

    “By keeping the list to themselves the committee is playing with a stacked deck.”

    Copeland also accused Miller of “fear mongering” with his attempt to sway members when he wrote the  group’s plans are “are designed to hand over your club to HRSA”.

    Copeland was also quick to point out HRSA cannot take control of the club’s assets as some participants appear to believe.

    “HRSA can take over control of the club’s day-to-day operation, but cannot assume the assets of the cub under its constitution,” Copeland said. “For HRSA to try to sell anything or take over an asset they would need support of 75 per cent of the members.

    “Even a change in the constitution in attempt to give themselves that power again requires a vote and support of the club’s members, so realistically HRSA cannot own or sell any of the club’s assets.”

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    Paul Courts

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