The mercury, ZARA DAWTREY | November 08, 2012
RSPCA Tasmania will “follow any direction given” by the Department of Fair Trading over complaints alleging it has breached its own constitution, president Paul Swiatkowski says.
The Mercury has learned the department has been called in to investigate at least two complaints — made by former high-ranking RSPCA insiders — alleging the charity failed to reconvene its annual general meeting in the time specified by the constitution after it was halted in dramatic circumstances in September.
“I am very familiar with our constitution and I do not believe there is a problem but obviously we will follow any direction given by the department if any such direction is made,” Dr Swiatkowski said.
It is understood the department has also been asked to investigate whether the board, which is now operating at nearly a quarter of its full size with just three members remaining, is legally allowed to operate.
Dr Swiatkowski said the constitution did not set out a minimum number for the board to operate.
On Monday, Dr Swiatkowski, vice-president Angela Ayling and the third board member moved to sack chief executive Ben Sturges.
Mr Sturges denies any wrongdoing and is taking the RSPCA to the industrial commission to fight for reinstatement.
The board last night stood by its decision.
“Without doubt, if the termination is litigated, RSPCA Tasmania will be criticised by some and without true regard to all the facts,” Dr Swiatkowski said.
He said RSPCA Tasmania wanted to assure the public that any decision made was consistent with its core objectives.