It's time to go, Peter Part One - depaNews September 2006

It's time to go Peter

How long is too long? When the Local Government Superannuation Scheme was established in July 1997, members of the Working Party (including the depa Secretary) agreed that the Chair of the Board would rotate every four years between the employer and employee representatives. This is a normal arrangement on superannuation boards where half the members represent the contributors and half represent the employers.

Famous local government identity and then a councilor, Peter Woods was the inaugural Chair. Woods was the President of the LGA at the time - a position under the LGA Constitution with a limited term of two years but a position that Woods continued to occupy for twelve.

In 2001 the depa Secretary Ian Robertson and the LGEA’s Martin O’Connell raised the four-year term and the need to give the employee reps their turn. For a variety of reasons, the USU made an agreement with Peter Woods that he would be supported in the role as Chair for as long as Brian Harris was the General Secretary of the USU. Then it would be time to hand over to a representative of the employees. Fair’s fair.

Brian Harris retired from that position this week but the LGSS Board has been unable to dislodge Woods from the position of Chair.

Superannuation Boards require a three-quarter vote to be a majority and while in recent meetings there have been plenty of four all votes calling for him to stand down and to introduce an orderly transition to an employee representative, Woods remains there - refusing to debate the matter and trying to secure the extension of time.

Woods has been Chair for more than nine years. The position should be rotated, as all other industry and government superannuation funds operate, between the representatives of the employees and the reset representatives of the employers. Woods intransigence is unacceptable.

At the LGSS Board meeting on 27 September, the Board welcomed Brian Harris as a new USU representative but even having Brian there, to remind Woods of the deal and the need now to stand down, could not dislodge him.

The only thing more patronising and offensive than Woods’ refusal to stand down (supported by the other employer representatives on the Board - Blacktown Mayor Leo Kelly, Hurstville Councillor Beverly Giegerl and Shires Association Patron John Wearne) is the assertion they know better than us about the attitudes of our members.

We think they are wrong but we would like to know what you do think. You can use this link http://app.intellicontact.com/icp/sub/survey/start?sid=3486&cid=37499 now to express a view about whether Peter Woods, consistent with the principal of the Divine Right of Kings and can stay there as long as he damn well pleases. Or you can vote that you think it's time he moved on and gave the employee representatives their rightful turn. A transition that should have happened in 2001 and is now grossly and ludicrously overdue.

Use the link and tell us whether Woods can stay for life or whether proper governance requires a smooth transition and a fair rotation between the employee and employer representatives.

Finally, because when we tell members about this they do wonder what those on the Board get paid, the employee reps have it paid to their unions and don’t accept it personally but the employer representatives accept it as income.

From January 2004, employer directors receive $41 200 plus 9% SGC while the Chair of the LGSS gets paid $68 700 plus 9% SGC – a total of about $74 500 a year. How many members of the fund get that each year from their full-time jobs .
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