Is Marion a sinking ship?

2015-11-17 06:00
Woodstock Community believes the Annual General Meeting will save the Marion Institute if it happens and it must happen sooner PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Woodstock Community believes the Annual General Meeting will save the Marion Institute if it happens and it must happen sooner PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Marion Institute’s future looks bleak after allegations have been aired about mismanagement by those in authority.

Battle lines were drawn by the Institute’s committee factions last year, People’s Post reported, but over the past year it seems things have gone from bad to worse at the centre in Woodstock.

The Institute, which will be a century old next year, houses two nursery schools, senior clubs, a community hall where community events and a Sunday church service take place, and other recreational activities. The community is worried that if nothing is done they will lose the Institute.

The stalling of the annual general meeting (AGM) is making community members uncertain about the future of the Institute.

The committee, which is supposed to have at least 22 members, has five members.

This year’s AGM was to be held in September, but it still has not taken place. It is the second consecutive year the AGM is not happening. This time around the AGM is not taking place because the chairperson claims the financial report is not ready.

Loiusa Bizaare, chairperson of the Institute, says the AGM will happen next year.

“The AGM is not happening because the financials are not ready. I can’t stand in front and present something that is not audited. As soon as the audit is done, we will have an AGM. It didn’t happen last year, but we are pushing this year’s one to next year before the end of the financial year.”

Community members and some employees believe the AGM would resolve the mess the Institute finds itself in.

According to Peter Agulhas, the managing director who was recently dismissed, the financial report is finished. “I was supposed to do the financials; I did them and finished in time. I handed them to the bookkeeper, who confirmed to me that everything would be ready in time for the AGM. Now I really don’t understand what’s happening. Everything was ready, we just wonder why the AGM is not happening. We want the AGM and we want the Institute to be saved. This place is for the community and they have to account to the community. We can’t allow individuals to rob the community,” he says.

A community member who refused to be named says the board members make decisions without consulting others and that is negatively affecting the institute too.

“It’s a mess. They are ruling like they own the place. People are not being paid and we don’t know what they are doing with the money,” she says.

“We have been calling for the AGM so that we can resolve these problems, but they don’t want to have it, because they know their mess will filter through.

“This is a beautiful place and it benefits the community a lot, but the people that are working there are unhappy. There has been a drop in the number of people who use the centre and that is affecting a lot of people, especially the staff. They don’t know whether they are coming or going.

Bizaare says: “Everything is going well at the Institute. There are people who are scared when a spade is called a spade. We are enforcing a lot of rules and regulations and we have nothing to hide.”

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