Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Current State of City Tattersalls Club - Part 2

Here are some more observations on the current state of City Tattersalls Club compared to what it was in 2004, when Tony Guilfoyle started as Secretary/Manager.

Removal of Members' Rights
The decline of City Tattersalls Club is clearly evident in the systematic removal of member's rights. An obvious example is the incredible decision move by Guilfoyle and the Committee in 2007 to remove the right of members to propose and pass a motion at a General Meeting. Another was the change to make it more difficult for members to call a General Meeting. These, and other measures, were done for one purpose only - to silence the concerned members who by then knew how badly the Club was being run.

Propaganda instead of information for members
Since 2004, City Tattersalls Club members have been subjected to propaganda, hype and management jargon like never before. It truly has been a sight to behold. Every failure, no matter how bad, is explained away by excuses, hype, corporate jargon and all-out propaganda. Restaurants that have cost millions to fit-out are always "well received by members" - even if they are empty. Continual declines in membership are "in line with our Strategic Plan". Any drop in revenue or profit is not a problem because it is "ahead of the budget". Even the Club's city centre location, probably it's most precious asset, is not spared the propaganda onslaught - Guilfoyle has repeatedly tried to push the idea that the location is a disadvantage, in order to excuse his failures.

This kind of propaganda has no place in a club like City Tatts which is owned by members and whose only function is to provide amenities to members.

The "Strategic Plan"
The most hilarious aspect of the new "management jargon" approach is the "Strategic Plan". It deserves a special mention because so many recent failures are linked to it. The first thing you need to know about the Strategic Plan is that members are not allowed to see it !. You may find that hard to believe in a members club like City Tatts but it's true. This is why Guilfoyle (and the Committee) love the idea of a Strategic Plan - because they can use it to explain any failure and no one can contradict them because no one else knows what's in it !. So, for instance, continual declines in membership are "in line with our Strategic Plan" ! (Yes, they actually said that). But the real issue with the Strategic Plan comes from observing the track record of the past 8 years. When you consider the long list of projects that flopped, were cancelled or were simply abandoned (like the Coffee Cart) you have to wonder if there is any Strategic Plan !

Building Works at City Tattersalls Club
The mismanagement of building works is one of the greatest areas of waste during Guilfoyle's time in the Club. It seems that when it comes to building works, he is always happy to spend the Club's money. (You can contrast that with the incredible penny-pinching in other areas of the Club.) But the members are rarely happy with the results. How many times has the Club spent millions on a renovation or refurbishment only to rip it all out a few years later ? For instance, how many botched attempts have there been to get a proper entrance on Pitt Street ? Actually the latest attempt is probably the worst of the lot. And it was supposedly managed by the Club's own building supervisor, Mark Lonngren. Well, anyone who watched it in progress last year said it was like an episode of the Three Stooges. First, they tried the cheapest possible floor covering, concrete - painted black "to look like marble". (This, in what was being called a "Grand Entrance" and costing over $1 million !) Then, after about 10 people had fallen over in the first week due to the shiny floor, they decided to carpet it. But then the carpet made the rise in the middle of the lobby harder to see, so older members still stumbled on it. Next, it was clear that they had never considered where the doorman's podium was going to be. So that became another comedy episode as they tried one position after another - and noticed, apparently for the first time, that there are pillars in the entrance lobby.

Still, while City Tattersalls Club may suffer from waste on building works, it has been a highly beneficial relationship for the lucky builder who seems to get most of the Club's business.

Save City Tatts Committee

No comments:

Post a Comment