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‘Anonymous welcome’ for new forum representatives

06 Mar 2014

‘Anonymous welcome’ for new forum representatives Image

The identities of three new members of the Docklands Community Forum’s ‘representative group’ were kept secret at its February 26 meeting because of an embarrassing protocol gaffe.

Although the first agenda item was the introduction of the new members, the unsuccessful candidates had not been told they had missed out.

Community strengthening manager Ian Hicks welcomed the new forum members “anonymously”. They sat through the meeting without revealing their identities.

Neighbourhood development officer Sarah Lindenmayer said nine Docklanders had applied for a place on the representative group and six had been rejected.

However, the unsuccessful candidates had not been contacted before the meeting agenda was circulated.

Ms Lindenmayer said the matter was yet to conclude and defended the process saying it has been run along the same lines as a job application where only short-listed candidates were interviewed.

She said herself and Places Victoria staff had assessed the applicants against a criteria based on a better balance of gender, age and diversity.  She said she was looking for a wider spectrum of views within the group.

However, she did admit there had “probably been some glitches”.

For Docklands tourism operator and resident Alan Maxwell, it is the second time he has been rejected for a seat on the “representative group”.

Mr Maxwell applied for a position on the representative group in August 2012 and says Ms Lindenmayer encouraged him late last year to again throw his hat into the ring.

He said that, although Ms Lindenmayer had left a voice mail message on his phone asking if he had anything to add (to which he replied – also with a voice message), he hadn’t had any communication with her since lodging his application.

On the voice mail message, Ms Lindenmayer said she was short-listing candidates and undertook to get back to him “next week” via phone or email.

“I’m very disappointed. I don’t know why I wasn’t selected.  Perhaps I’m too old,” Mr Maxwell said.

“I’m not sure who they’ve picked but I don’t know anyone more passionate about Docklands than I am. I live and work here and am constantly promoting it to visitors.”

“I think they’re hand-picking people who suit their needs rather than looking at what’s good for Docklands,” he said.

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