Former Warwick police officer and head of Warwick CIB Bob Bennett was voted in as a management committee member after imploring members to consider whether the club was running successfully.
Former Warwick police officer and head of Warwick CIB Bob Bennett was voted in as a management committee member after imploring members to consider whether the club was running successfully. Marian Faa

THE NEW LEADERS: Lawyer, ex-serviceman, former cop

MONTHS of unrest at the Warwick RSL Memorial Club have culminated in a dramatic change of leadership, with a new committee taking urgent action to save the multi-million dollar venue.

Former committee members were ousted in a meeting on Tuesday night with motions passed of no confidence in the president and management committee.

The new crew elected to lead our club to an AGM in March is made up of people with a range of talents from military and service backgrounds to business, mining and administrative experience.

A former paramedic and military serviceman, incoming president Greg Linnett said he was inspired to run for an executive position after watching the club go through turmoil.

"I don't drink alcohol but I come to the RSL nearly every day and you could see the place was really struggling," he said.

"Something needed to change. Mate, we just don't want to see the club close."

The new committee has taken immediate steps to employ financial consultants and has pledged to act with full transparency.

Mr Linnett said he would be meeting with Brisbane-based financial consultants Kestrel Solutions on Monday.

"We are going to get Kestrel up here to put the manager in and take advice from professionals who know how to run a club," Mr Linnett said.

Lorraine Dent and Greg Linnett are keen to get cracking on promises to turn the club around.
Lorraine Dent and Greg Linnett are keen to get cracking on promises to turn the club around. Marian Faa

The new committee has been appointed in a "caretaker" capacity until the annual general meeting, set to take place in March.

Alongside Mr Linnett in the executive team is Warwick farmer and former mayoral candidate Lindsay Goodwin as senior vice president and businesswoman Lorraine Dent as junior vice-president.

With a background in mining and construction and ties to Junabee dating back generations, Peter Kemp was elected treasurer.

He was joined by Maryvale lawyer Philippa Whitman as secretary.

Also on the committee are former Warwick sergeant Bob Bennett, Warwick State High School groundkeeper Gary Amos, "twice-retired" sales manager Harry Liaubon, mining and construction expert Tony Brewer, Greg Byrne and Brisbane mortgage broker Russell Passfield.

Kings Theatre controversy

While many appeared confident in the newly elected board, some questioned the meeting's validity.

Former vice-president Bruce Shelley said he and his colleagues were given legal advice to remain absent from Tuesday's meeting on the grounds it was unconstitutional.

Despite concerns, Mr Shelley said the former committee had decided not to pursue legal action and to stand aside.

"That is the end of the story, which is not nice," Mr Shelley said.

 

A number of Warwick RSL Memorial Club members voiced their opinion respectfully in Kings Theatre on the night.
A number of Warwick RSL Memorial Club members voiced their opinion respectfully in Kings Theatre on the night. Marian Faa

Maryvale lawyer and new secretary Philippa Whitman assured members proper procedures had been followed.

The Warwick Daily News attempted to contact former president Geraldine O'Neill but did not receive a response.

Looking to the future, Mr Linnett said transparency would be a top priority.

"What people need to remember is that the RSL belongs to the members," Mr Linnett said.

"It is not owned by the committee or the manager it is owned by the members and every member has the right to know what happens because they own the farm."

Ms Whitman said the new leaders were ready to move forward.

"We are proceeding on the basis that we have a job to do. That is the expectation of the members who attended last night," she said in an interview yesterday.

"It was great to see so many members attend. I think it was very ordered, which showed that everyone had the best interests of the RSL at heart," she said. "It was very rewarding and reassuring. It gave us the mandate to move forward and do what we could."

Note: This report refers exclusively to Warwick RSL Memorial Club and not to Warwick RSL Sub-branch.



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