Turmoil, but board vows Muster in no danger
THE Gympie Muster board says this year's event will go ahead despite the recent resignations of staff amid explosive allegations that include bullying.
Festival director Melinda Wells was escorted from yesterday afternoon's board meeting shortly after tabling a comprehensive report documenting alleged instances of bullying within the organisation.
She is reportedly the third person to file such a report in the past few weeks.
Mrs Wells said she was told this morning she was still expected to work through until March 31, but the board's inaction on her claims left her no choice but to leave immediately.
Board chairman Tony Nolan said todaythe allegations of bullying would be looked into by the board and dealt with as appropriate.
"The board takes seriously our duty of care for our staff,” he said.
Mrs Wells said she had been left feeling "disrespected”.
"Given the actions of the board I could not continue in my role,” she said.
She said she received no communication after tabling her report and had been told she would only need to deal with one board member until she finished.
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Mrs Wells and executive director David Gibson both handed their resignations last week, and then opted not to see out their notice date of March 31.
It is understood yesterday's Muster board meeting finished at 10pm.
Mr Nolan dismissed concerns that the recent events could threaten this year's Muster.
"We are definitely running the Muster in 2017,” he said.
"We do not underestimate the task at hand but there has been an overwhelming feeling of goodwill out there towards the Muster.
"People want it to go ahead.
"We will be recruiting new staff and we have some people in mind that we will be talking to promptly.
"It is only March. We don't think we are that far behind the eight ball.
"Last night we appointed a provisional program for the event and we have quite an advanced plan in place.”
Yesterday's special meeting of the board was later thrown open to volunteers and staff, where the "plan forward” for this year's Muster was discussed and met with overwhelming support,” Mr Nolan said.
"There were some people who were more sceptical than others with the direction (mapped out) but they want to see that direction in place.”
The Muster is a major boost to the region every year, bringing tens of thousands of visitors and injecting millions of dollars into the economy.
In 2015 it was estimated it was worth the equivalent of 64 jobs in the region.
Gympie Apex club has been approached for comment but have not yet responded.