Dear Member,

The Board wish to update you on ESA activities relating to the office, staff and some concerns
which have been circulated in the print media, on social media and of course the gossip and chat
behind the floats.

As of 3rd December, Janeth Flowers has taken up her role of Executive Officer. Unfortunately, the
week she commenced coincided with some of our staff out of the office on scheduled/personal leave
commitments. We currently have Prim Cromwell helping Janeth out with general administrative duties
until our staff can return to their usual positions.

The staff have not “quit en-masse” as rumour suggests. They are currently taking personal leave and
will return in due course. In the meantime, we ask that you respect their privacy.

Following our recent Board Meeting, we wish to address the following issues:

• Rumours are getting out of hand and impacting negatively on ESA’s ability to move forward,
    attract and retain members and sponsors, gain new sponsorships and therefore our ability to provide
    excellent customer service and value to our Members
• We are aware that a small group of individuals, who seem intent on making false accusations,
    are engaging with the media to perpetuate rumours and inaccuracies, with the intent to cause unrest
    within the membership group and to undermine the efforts of the Board to get on with the task of
    governing our organisation.

This, of course, is despite a majority of you who we know are supportive of the Board and our staff
of ESA, and who just want to get on with riding and competing your beloved horses and ponies in a
friendly, cohesive and inclusive environment.

So, to that end, we wish to put those rumours to rest…..

Potential legal action
The Advertiser recently reported that the previous EO was summarily sacked for “misconduct” and is
seeking her job back and/or seeking compensation, both from the organisation and 3 of the Directors
personally. The facts are:

• The Board at all times followed Fair Work processes, acting under expert legal advice.
• Legal action instigated against ESA pertaining NOT to unfair dismissal, but to alleged breaches
    of ‘General Protections’ provisions of the Fair Work Act. This is now before the Courts and ESA
    will make no further comment.
• The actions against three current Board members on a personal level have been discontinued.

Equestrian Australia (EA National)
Recently, The Australian reported on the National scene. The facts are:

• A representative from each State attended the AGM, and voted for the new Directors of EA.
• There was also a motion introduced to hold a Special General Meeting to remove and replace
    three National Board members, which has been supported by five of the six states. This is
    currently under consideration.

Board vacancies
There have been allegations about various Board members and ESA in general, including the approach
to several members for the purposes of co-opting a member of the Board to a casual vacancy was not
done according to constitutional requirements and that the Board is trying to manipulate various
individuals and outcomes.

The fact is that we have co-opted a high-profile person, Wendy Schaeffer, to the Board. This was
done in accordance with S15.4 of the constitution in order to take advantage of having a member who
is fully conversant with High Performance processes.

There are now two remaining casual vacancies on the Board and the invitation for expressions of
interest for these positions has been renewed. There is an advertisement on the ESA website. If
any Member is truly interested in working with the Board and the new EO to make a positive
contribution to our sport, we encourage you to contact Peter Graham in the first instance.

Conflicts of interest
There are allegations that a Board Member had a conflict of Interest, in the recruitment and
appointment of the new Executive Officer and had unduly influenced the Board to appoint a “friend”.

Strictly from an HR point of view, selection panel members declare a conflict of interest if they
are friends with an applicant and may be required to withdraw. (This would be usual if an
applicant was a relative or had a mutual business interest.)

In this case, the Board was advised, up front after applications were received, that several of the
applicants were known to members of the Board and/or panel, however, ideal HR practices were unable
to be followed in this instance.

As a mitigating factor, the difficulty of smaller sports such as Equestrian is having the funding
to attract many likely EOs from outside the industry. This then means that a panel member is more
likely to know an applicant socially. Whilst not procedurally ideal, this was the operational
reality. However, the Board is emphatic in its position that the successful applicant, Ms Janeth
Flowers, was the best candidate and that this unfortunate HR situation did not affect the outcome
of the selection process.


Peter Graham

Equestrian South Australia Inc